Updated 03 November 2014

Young brain cancer sufferer ends life with dignity

A 29-year-old Oregon woman, Brittany Maynard, who had terminal brain cancer, ticked off the Grand Canyon from her bucket list and said in a video that she might end her life through assisted suicide on November 1. And that's exactly what she did.

Brittany Maynard has died. The terminally ill cancer sufferer died at her home in Oregon in the US  where assisted suicide is legal. She took lethal drugs that were prescribed to her by her physician. 

“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” she wrote on Facebook, according to People

The young woman was diagnosed in January 2014 with a glioblastoma brain tumour and has said she plans to take prescribed medication to die when her pain becomes unbearable. She has moved from her San Francisco Bay area home to Oregon, which allows assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.

ReadStudy Reports Progress Against Fatal Brain Cancer

Maynard is raising funds through a group called Compassion & Choices to advocate for assisted suicide as an option for terminally ill patients. The group released her latest video on Wednesday.

Opponents of assisted suicide say some people who are ill, especially among the elderly, might be unduly influenced by people close to them to end their lives and that other ways exist to ease the suffering of the terminally ill.

Maynard, who has stressed that her decision to end her life is her own, had previously told People magazine, which featured her on the front page of its Oct. 27 issue, that she had picked Nov. 1, as the day she planned to die, although she also said she might change her mind.

In her latest video, Maynard said: "So if Nov. 2 comes along and I've passed, I hope my family is still proud of me and the choices I made.

"If Nov. 2 comes along and I'm still alive, I know that we'll still be moving forward as a family out of love for each other and that decision will come later."

Watch: Brittany's final video

On the website of Compassion & Choices, Maynard wrote that she traveled to the Grand Canyon with her husband and her parents during the week before Oct. 24 to make her bucket list dream come true.

Maynard suffered her worst seizure the morning after the Grand Canyon visit. Her speech was paralysed for some time after she regained consciousness, she wrote.

Read: IBM cloud system is set to help cure brain cancer

"Sadly, it is impossible to forget my cancer," she wrote.

A representative for Compassion & Choices did not return calls.

Since 1997, more than 750 patients in Oregon have died from ingesting medications prescribed under the state's death with dignity law, according to the Oregon Public Health Division. Four states beside Oregon allow assisted suicide.

In South Africa, forensic scientist Sean Davison assisted Health24's CyberDoc, Dr Anrich Burger to die in November 2013. Read how and why he did it

Read more:
SA doctors "secretly help people die" 
Dealing with death 
Preparing for a dignified death
Euthanasia prof helps CyberDoc die 

: Don't judge me, Founder of Dignity SA on helping SA doctor to die.


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