By Sean Crowley
Despite the heartbreaking first anniversary of Brittany Maynard’s death this Sunday, Nov. 1, her husband, Dan Diaz, continues working to fulfill his promise to Brittany to continue her partnership with Compassion & Choices to authorize medical aid in dying nationwide as an option for terminally ill adults to relieve their unbearable end-of-life suffering.
The partnership was launched on Oct. 6, 2014, via an online video watched by nearly 12 million people that generated worldwide media attention. In fact, a YouGov poll shortly before Brittany’s death showed 38 percent of American adults – 93 million people – had heard her story. The People.com story about her death was the biggest story in Time Inc. publication history, garnering more than 16.1 million unique visitors and reaching nearly 54 million people on Facebook, as reported by Advertising Age.
Despite his grief over his wife’s death, Dan did not hesitate to continue her work, as he promised her. He had witnessed how peacefully Brittany died in her sleep in his arms after taking a doctor’s prescription for medication she requested after they moved to Oregon to utilize its Death With Dignity Act. Since Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee coauthored the Oregon law that serves as the model for similar laws in other states, Dan recognized Compassion & Choices was the best equipped organization to help him fulfill his promise to his dying wife.
Less than one year later, Dan already has delivered on his promise to Brittany. On Oct. 5, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act, modeled after the Oregon law, thanks in large part to his legislative testimony, one-on-one meetings with lawmakers and news interviews to educate the public. Besides California, lawmakers have introduced aid-in-dying bills in the District of Columbia and 23 other states this year, a six-fold increase over the introductions in four states last year.
Today, Oct. 26, is Dan’s first birthday since Brittany died, yet he is spending it preparing to meet with Massachusetts lawmakers tomorrow to urge them to support a bill to authorize the option of medical aid in dying and testify at 1 p.m. ET before the Joint Committee on Public Health (State House, Hearing Room A1-A2, 24 Beacon St., Boston). Then, on Thursday from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., he will speak about his advocacy at a congressional briefing in room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.
You can read the Boston Globe column about Dan Diaz by clicking here.