Marj's story: My husband got the death he wanted — but getting there wasn't easy

The option of a medically assisted death can be a source of hope and relief for Canadians who are suffering intolerably as the result of a severe medical condition. But certain elements of our assisted dying rules are harming the very people they're meant to protect.

Take Owen, an Okanagan Valley man who was diagnosed with a rare melanoma cell cancer in August 2016. Owen and his wife, Marj, successfully advocated for his right to medical assistance in dying (MAID) after some resistance from his medical team. 

But going through the rigorous legal and medical process of being assessed and, later, approved for an assisted death didn't bring Owen and his family total peace of mind. In fact, he faced an additional burden once he was found to be eligible: the law's requirement that he have the capacity to consent at the time of his MAID procedure. Owen, whose tumour was spreading quickly to his brain, was at high risk of losing capacity.

He spent his final days of life anxious and afraid that he would lose his right to an assisted death, his wife writes.

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Dying With Dignity Canada is now a registered human-rights charity

Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC) is celebrating the return of its charitable status, setting the stage for the organization to become an even stronger defender of Canadians’ end-of-life rights.

DWDC recently learned that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) had approved its application to become a human-rights charity. As a result, DWDC can now issue tax receipts for donations made in support of its activities. The decision is retroactive to January 1, 2018.

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Dr. David Amies: Appalling stories out of Alberta highlight the harms of forced transfers for assisted dying

Public healthcare facilities that ban assisted-dying services on their premises and force sick and frail patients to go elsewhere to access their right to choice are failing to provide patient-centred care, writes Dr. David Amies.

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In Case You Missed It: October 2018

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

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Halifax’s Audrey Parker ‘changed the national conversation’ around assisted dying, Dying With Dignity Canada says

Audrey Parker, the Halifax woman who spent the last weeks of her life raising awareness about the challenges facing Canadians who have been assessed and approved for assisted dying, “changed the national conversation” around end-of-life choice, Dying With Dignity Canada says.

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Dr. David Amies: Acting as a witness to choice

Dr. David Amies, an active volunteer in Dying With Dignity Canada’s independent witness program, describes what it’s like to serve in this role and to help break down barriers facing Canadians who want an assisted death.

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What I learned from my client’s fight for an assisted death

Calgary lawyer Aman Sran has seen up close the barriers facing people who want to exercise their right to a peaceful death.

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In Case You Missed It: Summer 2018

In Case You Missed It is a round-up of news articles and commentaries featuring Dying With Dignity Canada speakers and stories. Did you miss summer's top news stories?

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How being approved for an assisted death gave new life to my mother in her final days

British Columbia’s Jane Hamilton lived a quiet and fiercely independent life. A lifelong housekeeper, part-time health care aide, and hospice volunteer, Jane charmed her loved ones with her signature Mad magazine sense of humour, her green thumb, and her love of art, crossword puzzles, dogs, and books.

After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017, Jane was given a devastating prognosis. She decided against treatment and opted instead to pursue medical assistance in dying (MAID). Once she was approved for MAID, Jane began to live her life with confidence, freedom, and renewed vigour despite her illness. For 11 months, she lived life completely on her terms, comforted by the knowledge that she was in control and could access MAID at any time.

In this special blog post, Jane’s daughter, Wendy, shares what their last year together was like, from Jane’s diagnosis to her medically assisted death.

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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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