National Syndicated advice columnist Dear Abby kicked off the Compassion & Choices first national conference today with an amazing opening plenary session, The Common Sense Approach to End-Of-Life Choice.
Abby’s emotional and heartfelt presentation touched on her own experiences with dying family members and the importance of advance directives, “My brother had an advance directive, had an advocate, and was able to die a peaceful death,” she said.
She also spoke about the need for each person to make their own decision, according to their own values. “There’s a big difference in thinking you know what’s right for everyone else,” she said, “and passing laws that tell other people how they can die.” Abby went on to express her belief in the need for choice at the end of life.
Following Abby’s presentation, the first breakout sessions got underway. The Good To Go panel featured Compassion & Choices end of life counseling staff discussing legal options for a peaceful death in every state. A superb panel of some of the nation’s most knowledgeable lobbying experts informed attendees about the best ways to engage elected officials. C&C President Barbara Coombs Lee and C&C Government Affairs Director Theresa Connor spoke as well on how we gauge success in the end-of-life movement.
From panels on legislation to demystifying hospice to fiding the best way to talk about end-of-life choice, today’s conference events were an incredible educational experience. And we’re just getting started.