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Volunteer Spotlight: Janet Green

Left to right: Janet, Liesi and Wally

Janet Green of Upstate New York has made our issue her issue. Her first husband, Bob’s, injuries from an accident left him in a vegetative state for 12 years, seven of which she cared for him at home. But it was her partner, Harry’s, painful ordeal with bone cancer in 2016 on top of the brain cancer he’d been battling that led her to the movement: “Despite some issues from radiation, he had a productive life for seven and a half years after his first diagnosis. With the bone cancer, though, he was in a lot of pain, and at that time said to me, ‘Jan, I can’t do any more.’”

Hospice was helpful to a point, but Harry’s suffering was still so extreme that at one point he asked Janet to shoot him. “The point is he wanted to die, and peacefully,” she explains. “But I have to tell you, it was not peaceful. What he went through was a terrible, terrible way to die. I knew in my heart once he passed away that I had to do something. So I looked on my Kindle and found Compassion & Choices.”  

Janet has since immersed herself in New York’s campaign to pass a medical aid-in-dying law, speaking to lawmakers and the public — often with her good friends and fellow dedicated advocates Liesi and Wally. And she has even helped with the efforts to protect D.C.’s law from Congress’ attempts to unravel it. “My problem is that some politicians don’t agree with it, which is fine; they don’t have to use it,” she says. “That doesn’t mean no one should have the option. I understand if people don’t feel the way I do, but I think everyone should be able to choose. I just believe in this so much and want to do something; it’s so important to me.”