On November 1st, she will make the ultimate sacrifice.
In life, you are always hit with curveballs; at any given moment, something can change your whole view on yourself and the world. This is what happened to 29-year-old Brittany Maynard who, after marrying the love of her life, found out that she only had a few months left to live:
On her wedding day, Maynard had experienced extreme headaches for a prolonged period of time and decided to head to the doctors, when she sadly learned that she had terminal, stage four brain cancer.
According to recent studies, the average survival rate is just three years due to the aggressive nature of glioblastoma multiforme (the most dangerous form of brain cancer) and the fact that is spreads very quickly. To make matters worse, Maynard's initial belief that she would live at least three years was tragically cut down to only six months.
To be given six months when you've only just started this new chapter in life is so utterly heartbreaking. Not wanting to go through an unbearable amount of pain, Maynard and her husband moved from San Francisco to Oregon so she could end her suffering on her own terms under the death with dignity law. In order to prepare herself as well as her family, she's selected the exact place, time (November 1st, just days after her husband's birthday), and people to spend her final moments with. The controversy behind her choosing to die has sparked a major debate worldwide, all of which is addressed in the video she made explaining her reasons for deciding to end her life. In an interview with People magazine, she stressed that "There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal or that wants to die. I want to live. I wish there was a cure for my disease but there's not."
Whether you understand her decision or not, there's no question that Brittany Maynard is extremely brave. It takes a certain amount of bravery to pick the exact time you are going to die and not attempt to find anyway to prolong your life. Brittany explains that by choosing to take the pills that will end her life, a weight was lifted off of her shoulders. Instead of worrying over the suffering and pain, she has been using her last days to create lasting memories for the people she loves, including traveling to new places that she's always wanted to visit.
Despite the sadness they are feeling, her family supports her and is trying their hardest to enjoy these last moments. One thing we all can learn from Brittany’s story is to cherish life because you never know what will happen or how your plans will change.