Because of what happened to Brittany Maynard, medical aid-in-dying laws got a lot of attention on a national level. Dan Diaz Keeps Brittany Maynard’s Memory Alive says that eight years after his wife died, he can “grieve that Brittany is gone but still be proud of her.”
Dan Diaz is continuing the fight for medical aid-in-dying laws legislation all across the United States, eight years after the loss of his wife Brittany Maynard. He is also fighting to keep Brittany’s memory alive by working to preserve her legacy alive.
At the age of just 29, Maynard received the devastating news that he had glioblastoma, a kind of brain cancer that almost often results in death. She made the decision not to continue with chemotherapy and radiotherapy over the subsequent weeks, claiming the likelihood that the treatments would drastically reduce her quality of life, with no assurance that they would increase the amount of time she had left to live.
The next step for Maynard and Diaz was to pack up their belongings and relocate from their home in the San Francisco Bay Area in California to a location in Oregon, where Maynard would have access to the End of Life Option Act of that particular state.
Patients diagnosed with terminal diseases are permitted by law to receive medication that will end their life, as long as they are under the care of a medical team. At the time, there were only five states that possessed legislation that was comparable to California’s, and California was not one of those states.
Maynard did not stop campaigning for laws that would legalise medical assistance in dying until the day she took her own life on November 1, 2014.
“Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of difficult times,” Diaz tells PEOPLE. “But there is also the emotion of simply being enormously proud of her wanting to make a difference for other people.”
He continues by saying, “For me, that is what plays out in my thoughts.” “I’m able to cry over the loss of Brittany while simultaneously feeling pride in her,” she said.
Through the Brittany Maynard Fund, Diaz has continued to share her experience and campaign for laws around the country that are analogous to those about medical assistance in dying since Maynard’s passing.
In addition to this, he is involved with the non-profit organisation Compassion & Choices, which is located in Colorado and provides terminally ill patients with choices for their end-of-life care.
Diaz acknowledges that he still experiences “good and bad days” as he works through the grieving process, but he draws strength from everything that has been accomplished since Maynard was diagnosed.
The Right to Die – Dr. Phil Show: I am a guest on the Dr. Phil Show this Thursday, October 13, 2022. We discuss medical aid in dying with top experts like Kim Callinan, Dan Diaz, and Chandana Banerjee.
— Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, HEC-C (@ThaddeusPope) October 9, 2022
Today, the District of Columbia and ten states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) allow patients to receive medical assistance in ending their lives. These states are Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. (Less than one year after Maynard’s passing, the state of California enacted the law.)
However, Diaz claims that he has been met with opposition in his efforts to support legislation that would legalise physician-assisted death, particularly from faith-based organisations or figures. Other organisations, such as the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, also argue against similar end-of-life laws, stating that they would be a
“deadly mix” within the “broken, profit-driven health care system” of the United States. Other organisations, such as the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, also argue against similar end-of-life laws.
According to Diaz, compassionate laws extend beyond the sick themselves to include their loved ones and the people who care for them.
Here in California, there was a young woman named Brittany Maynard who passed away from glioblastoma in 2014. She was an advocate for assisted suicide for the terminally ill (she had to move to Oregon to do it) and 1 year later, because of her, it was legalized in CA. pic.twitter.com/SxogMx06ns
— Jonathan (@Nobilis619) July 2, 2022
Diaz states that “that was Brittany’s entire purpose” in her explanation. “Early on, Brittany stated that she did not wish to end her life in the manner that would be caused by her brain tumour. It’s because of this that she decided to speak up; she wanted to reclaim some of the power that cancer had taken away from her, but she also wanted to make a difference for people like you and me.”
He continues by saying, “The hope is that your passing will be a peaceful experience and that you won’t be required to utilise the drug.” “Because she didn’t have to be concerned about how the process of dying would go, she was free to devote her full attention to loving her life.
The individual who is diagnosed with the disease is, without a doubt, the one who is the most directly affected by its symptoms; yet, from the point of view of the patient’s family, every member is affected.”
“And for me, the relief that the medication provided Brittany, and her outlook on life, and her desire to truly live the time that she had left simplified things,” Diaz explains. “And for Brittany, the relief that the medication provided, and for me, the desire to truly live the time that she had left.” “As her husband, it made things a lot easier for me, as well as for our family and friends, because the task simply became supporting Brittany,” she said.
“Be your own advocate” when it comes to communicating your wishes regarding your medical care and what you would like to happen towards the end of your life, Diaz recommends this to other people who are going through a similarly terrible circumstance. In addition, he encourages patients to do everything in their power to locate a medical team that will support the decisions they make.
Diaz has continued to do outreach through the Dan Diaz Brittany Maynard Facebook page, where he shares images from their time together as well as pictures from his trips to meet with legislators and advocates. Although he does not typically use social media, Diaz has continued to do outreach in this manner.
Diaz has stated that he will continue his efforts to persuade political leaders in additional states to support laws that allow for medical assistance in dying and to keep Maynard’s memory alive.
Cancer destroyed my family’s life…we were five…3 of us were diagnosed with cancer in two year increments apart from each other…one of us survived…I understand Brittany’s decision and support it…I lost my husband & daughter. https://t.co/YZ3KmcokRq
— Michele Fitzgerald Carroll (@Miniomaha) November 8, 2022
According to him, Brittany is correct when she states that the availability of end-of-life choices does not lead to an increase in the number of fatalities. “As a direct consequence, it leads to fewer people being harmed.”
The story of Brittany Maynard brought medical aid-in-dying laws to the attention of the whole country. Eight years after his wife died, he said, “I can be sad that Brittany is gone, but I’m also proud of her.” Dan Diaz is trying to keep Brittany Maynard’s memory alive, eight years after she died.
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