Actively supporting the movement for end-of-life options since the campaign to authorize medical aid in dying in California last year, Matt Fairchild feels calmer knowing he has a more peaceful way out should it come to that – one that he helped pass.
“It gives me so much peace of mind,” he says. “I don’t have to worry about hurting.”
Fairchild, who takes 26 medications to manage the cancer which has spread throughout his body, shares his experience and strong belief in end-of-life autonomy openly, including throughout the media in outlets such as the Los Angeles Times and CNN. Beyond that, he’s currently focused on living as well as he can as long as he can: “Cancer makes me appreciate life more than ever, so I am living every day with my wife and family to the fullest possible extent. Many of us have heard that old saying that we should enjoy every moment as if it was our last moment. I am living by that credo.”
The importance of this kind of advocacy – the candid sharing of one’s true experiences and feelings around our issues – cannot be overstated. That’s why Compassion & Choices has launched an initiative to create a network of stories and storytellers to help educate and empower those seeking the best possible healthcare.
Fairchild isn’t sure whether he will ever take aid-in-dying medication, or if nature will just take its course. But he’s comforted knowing he can choose that path should his pain and suffering become too great. “I don’t want to hurt ever,” he said. “I can’t fathom the idea of being in pain and not having a way out.”
If you have a story to tell about end-of-life issues, difficulties you’ve experienced with our current healthcare system as a patient or caregiver, or tools that helped you overcome obstacles, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to share your story or read stories from others.