Although Brittany Maynard does not have "single suicidal cell", the 29-year-old will be popping a pill on 1 November 2014 to end her life. Maynard, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in Janurary, after years of debilitating headaches, was told that she has six months left to live. Making use of the "Death With Dignity Act" that has been effective in Oregon since 27 October 1997, Maynard will be ending her life on the first of the next month.
On New Year's Day, Maynard was diagnosed with terminal cancer, following which doctors performed a partial craniotomy and a partial resection of her temporal lobe to keep her tumour from growing and was promised 10 more years to live. Unfortunately the tumour returned and her conditioned worsened to a stage 4 glioblastoma, which is the most aggressive and lethal form of cancer and left her with, at the most, six months to live.
"The thoughts that go through your mind when you find out that you have so little time is, everything you have to say to everyone you love," says Maynard.
Her entire family was devastated, having believed that they at least have a few more years with her, to being told that she would be around only four a few more months. "I hoped they had the wrong X-rays, the wrong set of scans, that this was all a clerical mishap," says Maynard's mother.
She had first started experiencing severe headaches after she got married and they were enthusiastically trying to start a family when she was first diagnosed with the fatal disease, Maynard sadly relates.
Maynard, who was settled in San Francisco, California with her husband, convinced him to move to Oregon, which is one of the five states in the US with legal protections for the terminally ill patients who want to end their suffering in their own terms under the Death With Dignity Act.
"Between suffering or being allowed to decide when enough is enough... it just provides a lot of relief and comfort that.. okay, that option is there.. if and when, we decide or she decides that its time," says her husband Dan.
Maynard qualified for physician-assisted suicide in Oregon and has received a prescription for the medication that will end her life peacefully and painlessly, if she chooses to do so. "I don't wake up every morning and look at it," she chuckles and adds, "I know it's there when I need it."
"I can't even tell you the amount of relief that it provides me to know that I don't have to die the way that it's been described to me that my brain tumour would take me on its own," exlains Maynard.
Oregon has had 1,173 people opt for prescriptions written for lethal medications, while 752 of them have actually used the drugs to die as of 2013, according to the Death With Dignity Act Report released Oergon's public health department.
Maynard hopes to be surrounded by her immediate family, which includes her husband, her mother, stepfather and her best friend, who is also a physician, during her last moments.
In a Youtube video "The Brittany Maynard Fund" posted by advocacy group Compassion & Choices, Brittany Maynard, tells her story and explains why she plans to consume the drug that will end her life on 1 November 2014. She has also started a campaign to expand Death With Dignity to other states as well.