Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill 29-year-old woman who has gained nationwide attention in her plight to expand right-to-die laws in the United States, fulfilled a bucket list wish when she visited the Grand Canyon just days before the date she’s chosen to end her life.
Maynard was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January, shortly after getting married. Initially given up to 10 years to live, doctors gave her more devastating news a few months later when they told her the cancer had progressed to Glioblastoma multiforme.
The average life expectancy of the deadly form of brain cancer is about 14 months.
After being told by doctors that she faced a potentially slow and painful death, Maynard — who was living in Northern California at the time — decided to move with her husband to Oregon and utilize the state’s “Death with Dignity Act.”
The measure allows terminally ill people to end their life with self-administered medication prescribed by a physician, according to the Oregon Health Authority’s website.
Maynard announced her decision publicly in a video posted to YouTube earlier this month in which she also stated her intention to advocate for the expansion of such laws in the U.S. before her death.
She explained in the video, which has been viewed more than 8 million times, that she chose Nov. 1 as the day she would die because she wanted to celebrate her husband’s birthday one last time. His birthday is on Oct. 30.
Among the things she had said she hoped to accomplish before that date was to visit the Grand Canyon.
Maynard realized that goal last week when she made the trip to Arizona with her family. In a post on her website, the TheBrittanyFund.org, she wrote that was able to travel there “thanks to the kindness of Americans around the country who came forward to make my ‘bucket list’ dream come true.”
Describing it as “breathtakingly beautiful,” Maynard said she enjoyed spending time with her family and nature, the two things she loves the most.
A day after returning, however, Maynard experienced a setback when she had what she described as her “worst seizure thus far.”
As a result of the seizure, her speech was temporarily paralyzed after she regained consciousness, and she felt fatigued for the remainder of the day, she stated in the post.
“The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course,” Maynard wrote. “Sadly, it is impossible to forget my cancer.”
She finished her post by once again advocating for other states to implement right-to-die laws.
“My dream is that every terminally ill American has access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity,” Maynard wrote. “Please take an active role to make this a reality. The person you’re helping may be someone you love, or even in the future, yourself.”