OREGON (Oct. 9, 2014)– A woman diagnosed with terminal brain cancer has decided to end her life before the cancer can.
Brittany Maynard, 29, got married last year. Not long after, she began experiencing painful, unexplained headaches.
Maynard was diagnosed with a grade II astrocytoma, a severe brain tumor. Doctors said she would live for up to 10 years.
Months later, the cancer got worse. It progressed to glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most deadly and aggressive form of brain cancer. Her doctors gave her six months to live.
Doctors said that her death would be slow and painful as the tumor grew. They told her to prepare a worsening progression of headaches, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and seizures.
Instead of that, Maynard has decided to end her life.
“I plan to be surrounded by my immediate family, which is my husband and my mother and my stepfather and my best friend who’s also a physician, and probably not much more people,” Maynard said in a YouTube video posted above.
Oregon is one of five states that allow assisted suicide. She has selected November 1 as her last day.
“I can’t even tell you the amount of relief that it provides me to know that I don’t have to die the way that it’s been described to me,” said Maynard.
She selected that date because her husband’s birthday is on October 26, and she wants to celebrate with him.
“Between suffering or being allowed to decide when enough is enough, it just, to me, it provides a lot of relief and comfort,” said her husband, Dan.
Maynard is a volunteer advocate for the nation’s leading end-of-life choice organization, Compassion and Choices.
Maynard launched The Brittany Maynard Fund to fight for death-with-dignity laws. Similar laws have been introduced in seven other states.