Why we’re here: International Day of Charity

Personal Stories | September 5, 2021 | Dying With Dignity Canada

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Photo of DWDC team holding advocacy signs

In celebration of the International Day of Charity, we wanted to share what motivates the staff at Dying With Dignity Canada to work in the charitable sector and, in particular, at Dying With Dignity Canada. 

The International Day of Charity, chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta on September 5, 1997, was established with the objective of sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities. 

We have an incredibly passionate and dedicated team at Dying With Dignity Canada. Most of us were hired during the COVID-19 pandemic and have worked together almost predominantly online. Despite that, we have built strong working relationships and we work hard, accomplishing a significant amount for end-of-life rights in the last year or more. 

It is fair to say that all of us want to help make positive change in people’s lives through compassion, justice and human rights advocacy but our motivation comes from different experiences. Here are some highlights from various staff. 

“My inspiration comes from my mom, who was a social worker and who supported new immigrants to Canada and women who faced domestic violence through her career.” 

“I am very fortunate to have been allowed to get an education, live in a warm and accepting home, and to have safety and security in my life. It is important to me that, given the privilege I have been allowed, I try and make things easier for other people.” 

“My whole life, I have received direct support from a Canadian charity. I have always been so appreciative of the dedication, compassion, and hard work they and all charities do for Canadians. I knew after my post-secondary education that this is the field I wanted to work in.” 

When asked specifically about our support of DWDC’s mission, there were many responses focused on empowering Canadians with end-of-life choice and compassion for ending unnecessary suffering. Several staff referred to normalizing conversations about death, dying and grief. 

“I have personally experienced a family member who had a medically assisted death, and the mission of DWDC allows other Canadians to have this choice. Death and dying is a topic that not everyone is comfortable talking about, but it should be. DWDC’s mission is to advocate for those end-of-life conversations, and MAID should be a choice available to those who need it.”  

“I strongly believe that normalizing conversations around death, dying and grief is an essential step towards strengthening community. Grief can be a deeply isolating experience, and although everyone has a different, non-linear experience, it is unavoidable.” 

“We live in a very death-averse society, and I feel that this reluctance to talk about death and dying is ultimately quite harmful. I’m grateful to work for an organization where accurate information is provided and open, honest conversation about end-of-life issues are encouraged.” 

We are grateful and motivated by our supporters and volunteers who work tirelessly promoting our mission through support, education and advocacy across the country. We also remember those who lead the way for end-of-life rights in Canada including DWDC founder Marilyn Seguin and right-to-die activist Sue Rodriguez. We are honoured to continue their mission. 

Why we’re here 

Empathy | Peace of mind | To have the right to make choices about life and death | Beneficent | Right to choose | Everyone deserves a good death | Freedom of choice | My friend Bill | Normalizing discussions around death and grief | Choice | Human Rights | Autonomy 

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