PORTLAND — A 29-year-old woman has chosen Nov. 1, 2014, as the day she will die — two days after her husband’s birthday.
Shortly after her wedding in 2013, Brittany Maynard began experiencing debilitating headaches. While on vacation with her husband in January, Brittany was diagnosed with grade II astrocytoma, a severe brain tumor. Doctors told her she had 10 years left to live.
“When you’re 29 years old, being told you have that kind of timeline still feels like being told you’re going to die tomorrow,” she said.
Despite having surgery, her prognosis took a dramatic turn for the worse a few months later. The cancer had progressed to glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the deadliest form of brain cancer. Patients with it typically live an average 14.6 months. Maynard was given just six.
Doctors said her death would be slow and painful as the tumor grew, causing her headaches, nausea, vomiting, weakness and seizures.
Maynard has chosen to use medicine prescribed by her doctor to end her life on Nov. 1 so that she may die with dignity, she said. She’s adamant that her decision is not suicide.
Maynard and her entire family moved to Portland after her diagnosis in order to have access to Oregon’s Death and Dignity Act, launched in 1997. Since then, 752 people have used it to legally choose death by prescription medication.
In the few weeks she has left to live, Maynard has decided to advocate on behalf of the life-rights advocacy organization Compassion & Choices for death with dignity laws to be enacted in California and nationwide, according to the website.