Weaving Us Together: 2023 National Volunteer Week

News & Updates | April 16, 2023 | Dying With Dignity Canada

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Headshots of all the volunteers showcased in the blog post

This National Volunteer Week, we recognize and celebrate the collective impact of Dying With Dignity Canada’s (DWDC) volunteers. Like each individual thread makes weaving stronger, each of our volunteers brings experience, perspective, and unique abilities that add to our mission and vision. Learn more about five dedicated volunteers and their reasons for giving their time to DWDC.

Alex Muir – Chair, Metro Vancouver Chapter

“Both my cousin and my dad had what I would call a bad death. They lingered and suffered, and I know that neither of them would’ve wanted to die that way if they’d had the option for MAID. This is a cause I feel quite strongly about and that’s why I decided to volunteer when I retired. I think it’s important that people understand what their end-of-life options are. That’s something we do in our presentations; we talk about the Patient Rights Guide so people understand their options and rights as a patient in this country.”

Prof. Daphne Gilbert – Member, Board of Directors

“Dying With Dignity Canada’s mission is something I am personally passionate about, but it also converges with my research and academic interests as a law professor. I started my research career looking into abortion, access to abortion rights, looking at physicians who have conscientious objections to abortion, and how we can still maintain equality of access in the face of obstructionist physicians. When MAID was legalized in 2016, the synergy of those two things really came together.”

Gwen Anholt – Co-Chair, Victoria Chapter

“Initially, I was involved in the Independent Witnessing Program; it’s a role that touches people at a key point in their life. What I’m finding now is I’m the first contact for members of the public calling to figure out how to navigate the MAID process [in Victoria, BC]. I’m enjoying that part because I’m able to help people when they really need that one piece of information that gets them to the next step. I find that really rewarding.”

Ryan Webster – Treasurer, Board of Directors

“The most rewarding part of volunteering is the exposure I get to a breadth and depth of Canadians coast to coast, that are not only passionate about end-of-life rights but are also fiercely focused on improving the quality of death for all Canadians. In my day-to-day life, I learn so much from working with the volunteers and through my colleagues on the board and it leaves me with a sense of purpose that I am really attracted to.”

Bev Heim-Myers – Chair, Board of Directors

“Volunteering is so much a part of my life; it’s in my DNA. I believe that if I have the knowledge, the skills, the expertise and the lived experience to give back, I should just do it. My granddaughter asked me not too long ago, ‘Do you get paid for your volunteer work?’ And I said, ‘No. During my life and my career, I was paid, and I gained many skills. Now it’s time for me to give that back and that gives me great pleasure.’”

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