Brittany Maynard decided to follow through with her earlier decision to end her own life through doctor-prescribed lethal medication. Maynard died surrounded by her family and husband, Daniel Diaz, in the comfort of her bedroom on Saturday, November 1.
“I don’t want to die,” Maynard told CBS News in mid-October. “If anyone wants to hand me, like, a magical cure and save my life so that I can have children with my husband, you know, I will take them up on it.”
Compassion & Choices Spokesperson Sean Crowley explained that Maynard’s worsening condition convinced her to retract her recent decision to delay ending her own life.
“Brittany suffered increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms,” Crowley said. “She died as she intended – peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones.”
Maynard explained the agony of continued life in her own words: “I think until anyone has walked a mile in my shoes and knows what they’re facing and has felt the – like, just bone-splitting headaches that I get sometimes, or the seizures, or the inability to speak, or the moments where I’m looking at my husband’s face and I can’t think of his name.”
On October 23, Maynard shared the following note through Compassion & Choices – the organization she teamed with to advocate for end-of-life rights:
This week, my family and I traveled to the Grand Canyon, thanks to the kindness of Americans around the country who came forward to make my “bucket list” dream come true. The Canyon was breathtakingly beautiful, and I was able to enjoy my time with the two things I love most: my family and nature.
Sadly, it is impossible to forget my cancer. Severe headaches and neck pain are never far away, and unfortunately the next morning I had my worst seizure thus far. My speech was paralyzed for quite a while after I regained consciousness, and the feeling of fatigue continued for the rest of the day.
The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course. However, I find meaning and take pride that the Compassion & Choices movement is accelerating rapidly, thanks to supporters like you. I ask that you please continue to support C&C’s state-by-state efforts to make death-with-dignity laws available to all Americans. My dream is that every terminally ill American has access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity. Please take an active role to make this a reality. The person you’re helping may be someone you love, or even in the future, yourself.
According to data from the Oregon Public Health Division, Maynard is the 7th person in the 18 to 34 age bracket to die from the ingestion of lethal medication under Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act.
Crowley said yesterday that Maynard “is educating a whole new generation on this issue. She is the most natural spokesperson I have ever heard in my life. The clarity of her message is amazing. She is getting people to consider this issue who haven’t thought of it before. She’s a teacher by trade and, she’s teaching the world.”
Family, friends, and inspired persons around the country continue to mourn the loss of 29-year-old Maynard, who so courageously shared her story with the world. Compassion & Choices is expected to release a statement in the upcoming days.