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Trapped by ALS, my sister found freedom with a medically assisted death

For more than a year, Janis Clennett’s sister Sheila suffered from a variety of medical issues. Her many visits to the doctor and extended stays at the hospital had led to zero answers. Doctors simply couldn’t figure out why she kept falling or why she was having trouble breathing.

When the ALS diagnosis finally came a year and a half later, Sheila felt relief. Finally, she had answers. Finally, she had enough information to start planning for the end.

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Health Canada announces regulations for monitoring assisted dying

Health Canada has revealed its final regulations for a national system for monitoring medical assistance in dying (MAID).

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Sandra’s story: How I supported my son on his journey with assisted dying

Readers of the Dying With Dignity Canada blog will be familiar with Don Kent, the Ottawa-area man who candidly documented his quest for an assisted death in a seven-part series called Don’s Journey. Don gave us all an honest look into the end of his life, from his terminal cancer diagnosis to his frequent trips to the emergency room, and finally, to his medically assisted death on April 20.

In this very special blog post, Don's mother, Sandra, shares what it was like for her to support her son through every step of his journey.

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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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In Case You Missed It: June 2018

In Case You Missed It is a monthly round-up of news articles and commentaries featuring Dying With Dignity Canada speakers and stories. Did you miss these stories in June?

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"I am ready": A DWDC supporter shares a poem reflecting on life and the road ahead

In this special blog post, Ontario’s Diane Handcock shares an original poem, in which she reflects on a life well lived and describes a readiness for what's next.

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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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Court challenge against Ontario assisted dying policy goes to appeal

The top court in Ontario has agreed to hear an appeal into a legal challenge against a regulation that protects patient access to assisted dying in the province. 

In January, the Superior Court of Justice decided that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) policy on effective referral for assisted dying is constitutional and protects patients who request medical assistance in dying from being abandoned by clinicians who oppose it. The policy requires Ontario doctors who oppose assisted dying to refer patients who request it to a non-opposing provider or agency in a timely manner.

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