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My wife lived life on her own terms. Her death was no different.

When Linda Levy of Toronto was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 2011, her health — and quality of life — deteriorated rapidly. Living with excruciating chronic pain and unable to do the things she loved, Linda began to explore her legal options and never once stopped advocating for herself. She became a member of Dying With Dignity Canada, she sent hundreds of letters to decision-makers in support of both the organization and assisted dying, and she refused to take "no" for an answer when her requests for an assisted death were denied by her doctor. In 2018, after months of trying, Linda was finally granted the right to have a medically assisted death. 

This is her story, as told by her beloved husband Lorne.

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Dr. David Amies: Canadians need fair access to both palliative care and assisted dying

In his latest contribution to the Dying With Dignity Canada blog, Dr. David Amies takes a look at the history of palliative care and explains why it is not a substitute for medical assistance in dying. Casting palliative care as being in conflict with assisted dying only deprives suffering Canadians of a full range of choices, he writes.

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Dr. David Amies: Why do we need 'independent witnesses' for assisted dying?

Using his personal experiences as a volunteer in DWDC's independent-witness program as a jumping-off point, Dr. David Amies questions the value of requiring patients to get their assisted dying requests signed by two people who aren't involved in their care. Though well-intentioned, this rule in federal assisted dying law, he argues, is unnecessary and it imposes a harmful burden upon suffering Canadians who are trying to exercise their right to choice.

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Dying With Dignity Canada announces largest gift in the organization’s 38-year history

Dying With Dignity Canada is set to receive the largest donation in the organization’s 38-year history, signalling the dawning of a new era for the movement to defend Canadians’ end-of-life rights.

The gift comes in the form of a bequest from the late David Jackson, a retired Vancouver entrepreneur and ardent supporter of Canadians’ right to a peaceful death. DWDC CEO Shanaaz Gokool called the legacy donation, which is valued at approximately $7 million, “nothing short of transformational.”

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My wife wanted her choice of a peaceful death to be shared. This is our story.

Winnipeg’s Jean Ayre believed passionately in a more loving and caring world, and throughout her 86 years of life, she did everything in her power to make that belief a reality. It’s no surprise, then, that on her final day — the day she said “yes” to a medically assisted death — Jean was surrounded by unconditional love and care in the form of her husband, their family, and 15 of their closest friends.

In this special blog post, Jean's husband, Don, shares the powerful story of their love, while recounting their final months together and the peace Jean felt when she made her final choice.

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Aging with dementia, through a granddaughter’s eyes

Dying With Dignity Canada board member Leigh Naturkach describes how a visit to her 92-year-old Opa led her to reflect on her relationships and her wishes for care at end of life.

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Adam's story: ‘The toughest of all places’

In August 2017, B.C.’s Adam Ross fulfilled his choice to die with dignity — the last option left to free him from a prolonged, untreatable pain condition. He died alone, without anyone’s assistance, taking care to minimize the burden on the people he loved. His story reveals how much work still needs to be done to ensure that Canadians have fair alternatives in the face of unbearable suffering.

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'I tried my hardest to save my life': B.C. man's departing letter to loved ones

In August 2017, British Columbia’s Adam Ross fulfilled his choice to die with dignity — the last option left to free him from a prolonged, untreatable pain condition. He died alone, without anyone’s assistance, taking care to minimize the burden on the people he loved. His story reveals how much work still needs to be done to ensure that Canadians have fair alternatives in the face of unbearable suffering.

This is Adam's deeply moving and articulate departing letter to his loved ones.

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An Old Story About This New Place

Canadian poet Richard Harrison’s mother chose a medically-assisted death on July 5, 2017. His essay on his experience with her that day, “It is to that Bedside that I go,” was published on CBC’s Ideas and the Dying With Dignity Canada blog. In this piece, Richard begins the search for the meaning of that experience in a connection between it and a familiar story from the past.

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Jana Buhlmann: Why I'm speaking out about hospice care and assisted dying

In this post for the Dying With Dignity Canada blog, Jana Buhlmann, who supported her husband on his assisted dying journey last year, writes a thoughtful reflection on hospices that refuse to offer medical assistance in dying (MAID). She also contemplates how she and others might use their voices to effect change.

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