Woman, 29, chooses to end life 2 days after husband’s birthday

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Data pix.
Courtesy: Brittany Maynard

Courtesy: Brittany Maynard

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A terminally ill 29-year-old woman has chosen November 1 as the day she will die.

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.

"I have to tell you," she says in the video, "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.”

Following the original diagnosis, doctors said her cancer had progressed to Glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest form of brain cancer. After treatment, the average life expectancy is only 14 months.

When doctors told Brittany her death would likely be slow and painful as the tumor continued to grow, she opted to choose her own ending.

Courtesy: Brittany Maynard

Courtesy: Brittany Maynard

On November 1, surrounded by her husband, mother and best friend, she will end her life using medication prescribed by her doctor.

Maynard's husband's birthday is October 30.

The medication will give her a "peaceful and painless" ending to her life. However, Brittany said this is not a suicide.

"There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die," Maynard told People.com. "I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there's not. … Being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

Maynard's family moved with her to Oregon earlier this year so she would have access to Oregon's "Death with Dignity Act," which has allowed over 750 people to die using medication since 1997.

Life-rights advocacy organization Compassion & Choices and The Brittany Maynard Fund will provide Brittany a platform to share her story and bring attention to the end-of-life rights.

According to Compassion & Choices, Brittany will spend her last days fighting for others’ rights to end their lives.

43 comments

  • God Almighty

    No! This is not right! Stick it out! Yes you have a “terminal illness”but let’s fight it together till the end, a natural death is the way, doctors are not allways right. Im 29, and a female, THIS is not right, die a natural death, not enduced. That’s bull shit. God Bless us all. Amen

    • Kyle Greetham

      This is not some simple choice to say, I’m going to fight this until the end… The article says she is suffering debilitating headaches… presumably that means she can’t function while the pain is there. Doctor’s found an actual tumor that is the deadliest form of brain cancer…

      Could you with clarity of mind, tell your mother, who is being wracked by a disease that she must endure this pain until her body can’t take it anymore? Or in the very least, say that the image that her family has of her now… a strong, independent woman who can make her own decisions, shouldn’t be the lasting one? Maybe her medical expenses would bankrupt the family… causing hardships not only on her and her husband but their extended family as well… We don’t know anything about this situation aside from the fact that she has an incurable (it was stated that there is no cure; only treatment which can only prolong a painful existence).

      Only someone in their position – who experiences the pain and suffering – can have the clarity to make that choice. Not you, you presume to know what’s best for people you don’t know.

      • snowfreeze

        I did tell my mother that she must fight this second brain tumor. And she did. And she is still with us. And she may even live to see me graduate from grad. school. Regardless she gets to see and play with her grand babies instead of rotting, 6 ft under.

    • Dee Colon

      Would you want to die a slow painful death? Its not for everyone. We need to respect others decisions as its their life!!!

    • max

      Nobody’s saying you have to do it if you’re diagnosed. The point is she is allowed to make her own decisions. Speaking of God.. thank God the decision isn’t up to you.

    • Nick

      Holy shit climb down off your cross its her decision not yours or anyone elses. Lets see you suffer a slow and painful death see how you feel about it then i bet you’d decide to end it too. So your whole religious bullshit about it not being right, how the fuck wouldyou know? You’re going off a book that’s pretty much just the worlds biggest game of telephone. Besides where was your god when this shit happened to her he obviously was too busy smoking crack or something to care it was happening to her so miss me with your bullshit religion.

    • Ramses

      She’s the one that wants to go, it’s her right no? Or are you the one with the problem? If it was you it’d be ok to no go that way but instead slow and painfully.

    • Diana

      She’s a grpwn woman, I think she has thought about it and that is her decision. Who are you to tell her how to spend her last days? I am a woman aswell and I agreee with her I would rather die peacefully with all the love then suffer and watch my family and friends suffer just watching me die slowly and painfuly.

  • Nicole

    Everything is legal in Oregon….she needs a good vap pen and some fire medical marijuana and watch it eat up the cancer cells…might be to late for full remission but she will live longer without pain…why don’t she get someone to carry a baby for her with her eggs and husband erm so they can have a baby and a piece of her to leave behind

  • Ryan Chapman

    “God Almighty” Get lost. Don’t pretend to be religious, and then end the statement with profanity you hypocrite. Wish this poor girl well on her journey and for her family.

  • K.M.

    I watched my brother pass away from cancer. It’s a horrible way to die. Painful. He wasted away to nothing. I wish he never had to endure what he did.

    And to suggest she have a child is ridiculous.

    I wish you peace on your journey Brittany. <3

  • Judy R

    I am heart broken for you and your family! I understand your desire to make your own choice and save yourself from pain. Do NOT let anyone get you down for this difficult choice you have had to make only you know your story and your pain! I hope and pray that you find peace and when you get to your destination that you take many wonderful memories with you. All you leave behind is beauty, a wonderful family that love you and an inspiring story of courage and bravery. Cheers to you young lady and may your beautiful soul forever be missed and never forgotten

  • Sindy

    Dear Brittany I lift you in prayer that Our GOD shine his light upon you , May he open the doors of HOPE in you & lead you to trust in his promises … May his Angels suround you & help you see above this worlds eyes & see GODS powers heal you sweetie In Jesus Name! These words come from a humble follower of GOD , I loss my grandmother to breast/ uterus cancer last Sept 12 2013 however, she never suffered she decided to not receive treatment for her cancer instead she put All in GODS hands she lived longer than doctors predicted she would & left peacefully at home w/ her family… It was difficult for us her family knowing she’d leave us but it was beautiful enjoying her life until our Lord decided to take her w/ him… Was she afraid of the unknown yes, of course but she put All in GODS hands & he kept her strong up to her very last breath .. I wanted to share her story w/ for you to trust in GOD that another way does exist sweetie Nothing is Impossible for GOD THROUGH OUR TRUST & HOPE in him Alone Our Life is so much worth fighting for… you family loves you & needs you! Don’t worry of what’s ahead better yet trust in him , ask All in prayer to him & believe he will grant All your requests … Blessings to you & your family❤️🙏

  • C. Camp

    Brittany, I support you 100% and I would do the same thing. You are a very brave lady and the fact that your family supports your decision is all that should matter to you right now. I don’t know you but it sounds like you have done plenty of research on this diagnosis and this is the path that you have chosen. Legal in Oregon and should be legal in all states. If I find myself in this situation as a California resident I will become a resident of Oregon as you have. Good luck and peace to you in your last days with your family. God bless.

  • Chris

    When our 4 legged family members are sick beyond help, we help them so they don’t suffer. Their are laws around “choosing end of life”. If Britany qualified, the medical community agrees that she is end stage.
    Britany, you are a brave and unselfish woman. You were blessed with a very supportive family. We never know the “why” but in my experience there has always been a reason! I hope you can relax enough to make memories for your family over the next few weeks! GOD Bless you all!

  • Heather plus 6

    Since when does someone calling this BS make them a hypocrite for believing and trusting in God! Our is Greater! Our God is Stronger Our God is Healer Awesome in power! In Jesus name be healed young lady and enjoy your life! vimeo.com/43594965

  • Cathy

    I, myself trust in God, but let’s stop getting all religious here. She is capable of making her own decision. Her decision serves her very rights. Who wants to endure series of pain? No one. She going to leave this place peacefully. That’s all it matter at this point. Now leave her alone.

  • LisaMarie

    You know when our sweet animals are old and sick we decide to do whats right for them by euthanizing them or putting them to “sleep”. We say it’s the right thing to do or it’s humane (human) so why is it the human thing to do to our animals but it’s terribly wrong to do the human thing to humans?? So if our animals also have the right for us to treat them so humanely why don’t we? Yes it is gods will to let us know when it’s time to go but if it is our time to go, which she has accepted that her time is up why not have the choice to go in a comfortable manner? We are all guilty of saying “I hope when I go it’s quick and painless” or ” I would want my family there to say goodbye when I die”!!! Well this is her chance and her choice to have the death she desires. She has said she wishes there was a cure. She wants to live but it’s just her time to go. Some people are saying she is taking the easy way out!!! Wow that’s the easy way?? So if she has the choice to die peacefully the way she desires in 3 weeks from now rather than slowly waste away into nothing ( if you have watched someone die from cancer then I don’t need to list everything else she will go through) just for her to die 5/6 months from now. Well hey I know I would choose the latter!!! I admire her courage and I pray her and her whole family can find the strength they will all need to get through this!!

  • Mitch

    I see her doctors haven’t informed her that IV THC (from the cannabis plant) injected directly into the tumor has been shown to kill tumors, specifically cancerous brain tumors, in clinical studies. . . Wonder why that is.

  • Judy

    My sister died of a brain tumor and unless you have watched it or lived it do not judge. I think I would do the same especially before you lose the capability to do it. Glioblastoma are the worst and I have never seen or heard of any positive outcomes. Headaches are excruciating and its pain meds and steroids to reduce the size of the tumor come with all kinds of side effects. Treatments of surgery and radiation and chemotherapy are not very effective and side effects are awful. Quality of life has to make one wonder if the time extended if any is worth it.

  • Dennis

    I to watched my brother die a slow death it’s absolute most horrible thing can watch somebody go through your absolute helpless I believe in the right to go if you want to go and good for you good for Oregon California needs a lot like that

  • mike

    Lord may you accept this beautiful angel into your Kingdom and may you aid the pain the her family is going through. Amen.

  • THC OIL

    Cannabis cures cancer. Sad that the government allow so many people to die every second when we’ve had a cure all along. But their day of reckoning will come soon enough. I’ll pray for all of those in need. I don’t claim to be very religious. I simply believe that good things deserve to happen to good people.

    • Christine

      It does not “cure” Cancer..it helps you numb the pain and helps you cope. Two different things…

  • Adolfo Wouters

    Brittany,

    For the idols or the medical faculty have spoken vanity and the diviners or doctors have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they (the patients) went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd. Zechariah 10:2.

    Who, do these blind guides think they are, to tell people how much time they have to live?

    Brittany, please wake up from this false dream and the Shepherd, your Creator will show you how to get rid of the lie, Glioblastoma multiforme that has been forced upon you into believe you have. The phenomenon and the pains are not a lie and they are as real as day and night but whatever these blind guides have told you about this bad spirit, and all that it will do to you till the end, is the big lie. Don’t let the diviners end your life because of their interpretation of a false dream.

    Adolfo Wouters
    A Seeker of the Truth

  • Jenne

    We have to take up our crosses in life no matter what the suffering is. It’s how we make our place in heaven. Jesus is not of this earth, nor or his ways our ways. So his purpose for us in life is to live eternally in his kingdom, not to live a life with everything we want or to necessarily be “happy.” I hope this girl reconsiders her decision, anything is possible with God and miracles do happen! God bless her.

  • Mamabird (@2006Catherine)

    I am a hospice physician, and there is really no need anymore for people to suffer at the end of life. Hospice and Palliative Medicine have come a long way in the past 5-10 years or more. There is no need to ask anyone to have to take an active role in euthanizing someone, regardless of the disease process. I have managed many patients with Glioblastoma and not only they, but their families had all the care and support they needed at the end. And they (the patient) did not suffer – they were very peaceful and pain free. Was it hard for families to watch their loved one die? Of course! Do you think it will be easy for this woman’s family to watch her die? Of course not. But none of my patients suffered with pain or even had existential suffering.

    There is a natural process of separating from this world that happens in end-stage disease. This is necessary because the will to live is very, very strong. Hospice physicians do not kill or provide the means to kill people at the end, we just support people, keep them comfortable, peaceful and calm as they are separating themselves from this world. This gives the families (and the patient) time to adjust and receive the support they need to get through the process. And this can happen at home, or in an inpatient Hospice House facility which is like a home environment.

    I do not believe in any form of euthanasia, physician-assisted (as in this case) or otherwise. It is a very slippery slope – it is what gave the Germans the technology to make the gas chambers that killed multiplied millions of Jews (and others!) during the last century. Eleven million people altogether. It started out very compassionately in Germany also, but we all know how it ended up. It is a very dangerous trend in my opinion. We have the technology to prolong and save life in many, many ways that we didn’t have before. We also have the technology to provide compassionate and pain-free support at the end of life when all technology has failed.

    Euthanasia, no matter what form it takes, is no longer necessary to have a peaceful, pain-free death. Considering the massive growth and acceptance of the hospice movement, the resources and support available through that venue – I consider asking someone to euthanize another human being a very selfish act. It is NOT the same as putting a pet to sleep, believe me. We euthanize pets because they cannot understand or respond to the love, care and support we can give. Death is not just about the person who dying – it is also about the families and other loved ones that need support and care to get through the process.

    I am not sitting in judgement on this young lady though. What she is doing is perfectly legal, I just don’t feel it’s ethical given that there is a better and even more humane option available. I am however, sitting on judgement on her physician/s who have the knowledge, but apparently not the ethical stamina, to suggest to her that there IS a better, more humane and compassionate way. That way is called Hospice. There is no excuse for medical field to not promote that as an option but I see it every single day. Doctors will allow people to suffer until the end, without offering anything else. Just…deal with it. So people suffer. Unless someone is getting their care in an institution that has a Palliative Care team, they are likely not going to know there is another option. It is a very sad commentary on the medical profession, which sadly, sometimes I am ashamed to be a part of. :-(

    Doctors do a disservice to their patients when they say “there is nothing more that can be done” and then leave it at that.
    There IS something more that can be done: compassionate, end-of-life care.

    • Ray

      Hospice is not always the best way. I’ve watched two close family members go to hospice for their last month’s and suffer horribly even with everything they were doing. I support her right to choose.

      Retired Army Ranger

  • Teddy B

    Dear Brittany:

    Please know you’re in my thoughts and prayers. I just wanted to remind you one thing. You aware life is a gift. It’s not ours. God gave us life. We can not destroy it anytime we like. I hope you will reconsider your plan.

    In the other side of life where would you be? There is two places where we end when we die. The Bible tells us heaven or hell. Heaven, is where God desires for us to be. He’ll is not prepared for humans but the enemy would like all of us to end u p there with him. Please make sure you give your life to the one who paid your price on the cross,Jesus Christ. Then death would be a bridge for you. To go to your heavenly father.

    God bless you.

    • Teddy B

      Dear Brittany sorry, I meant to say Heaven and Hell. He’ll is not prepared for humans but for the Satan and his angels.

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