Our supporters received this message today from Patricia A. González-Portillo, Compassion & Choices’ national Latino communications manager:
I want to tell you the story of Miguel Carrasquillo, an amazing young man from Puerto Rico. In the face of terminal illness, he spent his final days fighting for the rights of other dying individuals. Sadly, Miguel died earlier this month without the rights he fought so hard for.
Miguel was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in 2012, when he was only 30 years old. He fought the cancer for years, undergoing painful procedures to try and find a cure. Tragically, the tumor continued its growth, and after receiving a terminal prognosis from his doctors, Miguel left his home in Chicago to return to his native Puerto Rico and spend his remaining time with his family.
Since medical aid in dying is not authorized in Illinois or in Puerto Rico, he was forced to endure unrelenting pain from headaches and seizures during his last days. This is why Miguel became a vocal advocate for expanding end-of-life options and urged lawmakers in every U.S. state and territory to support medical aid-in-dying legislation.
I had the honor of knowing Miguel and his family, and I saw firsthand the excruciating pain he suffered throughout his final weeks. I saw the anguish on his mother’s face as she watched her only son suffer. And I saw Miguel’s commitment to help expand options for all, despite his own severe pain.
Miguel accomplished so much at the end of his life by challenging taboos surrounding death — and by extension, medical aid in dying — that persist within the Latino culture. He urged his community, and the entire nation, to speak openly to their doctors about the kind of care they want at the end of life.
Miguel’s friends and family are eager to continue his legacy and push for medical aid in dying nationwide. His mother said this: “I promised my son that I would not stay quiet about the need for the option of medical aid in dying. I don’t want anyone to suffer needlessly, as Miguel and our family had to.”
Please click the link below to add your name to our card for Miguel’s family:
Thanks for all you do,
Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Communications Manager