Brittany Maynard has always been a very active woman, participating in marathons, climbing mountains, and traveling the world. However, since she found out that she has stage four glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor, her life has had to slow way down.
Rather than die a slow and painful death, Maynard has decided that she will decide how and when she will die, doing it on her own terms not her tumor's.
On November 1, Brittany will end her own life with drugs prescribed to her by her doctor. However, she wants it to be known that she is not committing suicide. There is no cure for her disease and she does not want to suffer. She wants to be able to die with dignity.
"There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die," she told People. "I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there's not."
"My glioblastoma is going to kill me, and that's out of my control," she said. "I've discussed with many experts how I would die from it, and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying."
On Monday, Maynard released a video campaign with the group Compassion & Choices that advocated for people who want to die with dignity. The video includes interviews with Brittany, her husband, and her mother. She says they have all gone through a very difficult cycle to come to accept Brittany's decision, but they are now fully supportive.
"My entire family has gone through a cycle of devastation," she continued. "I'm an only child – this is going to make tears come to my eyes. For my mother, it's really difficult, and for my husband as well, but they've all supported me because they've stood in hospital rooms and heard what would happen to me."
— People magazine (@peoplemag) October 7, 2014
After discovering that Brittany only had a short time to live, Brittany's entire family uprooted their lives and moved to Portland, Oregon so that she would be eligible for Oregon's Death with Dignity Act,
"The amount of sacrifice and change my family had to go through in order to get me to legal access to death with dignity – changing our residency, establishing a team of doctors, having a place to live – was profound," she said.
— CNN Opinion (@CNNOpinion) October 7, 2014
Brittany is spending what time she has left to advocate for those people who do not have a choice like she does. "I believe this choice is ethical, and what makes it ethical is it is a choice," she added. "The patient can change their mind right up to the last minute. I feel very protected here in Oregon."
To read Brittany's full story click here.