When Rachel Williams' sister, Natalie, was diagnosed with late-stage cancer at the age of 55, she knew she wanted two things: She wanted to stay at home, surrounded by the love and support of her family, and she did not want to needlessly prolong her suffering. Despite resistance from doctors and some family members, Rachel — who has asked that her and her sister's real names not be used to protect their family's privacy — never wavered in her commitment to making sure Natalie was able to access her choice of a medically assisted death.Read more
In January, Ottawa's Don Kent was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Suddenly faced with his own mortality at 56 years old, Don plans to pursue medical assistance in dying. In this very special blog series, he invites Dying With Dignity Canada supporters to follow along with him on his journey with cancer and his quest for a peaceful death.
This is part one of Don's Journey.Read more
In this essay, Richard Harrison — the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award winner for poetry — vividly recalls his mother's choice after her cancer became terminal, of a medically assisted death, with him and his brother beside her.Read more
Priscilla Cole had one last lesson to teach before she died.
A lifelong educator, she had devoted her career to instilling others with knowledge and the confidence to put it to good use. Among her pupils were the youngsters she taught at a private girls’ school in Toronto, the students she counselled at Seneca College, and the two sons she raised as a widowed mother, who are now doctors with grown children of their own.Read more
Kathleen Farago wanted nothing more than to finally "go home." She had suffered for decades with incurable medical conditions before being diagnosed with ovarian cancer on her 65th birthday. Kathy received the news with relief, cheekily calling the diagnosis her "get out of jail free" card. In this stunningly written blog post, her husband Paul Chefurka remembers their love story and his beloved Kathy's final weeks and moments before the peaceful death she had chosen with enormous strength and resolve.Read more
Dr. Doug Henshaw lived a life full of colour and adventure. He was a brilliant surgeon and a pioneer in life — and in death. His decision to access medical assistance in dying in September 2016 made him one of the first Nova Scotians to choose this newly available option. In this special blog post, Doug's wife, Sylvia, writes about his incredible life and choice.Read more
Not long after Canada passed its assisted dying law in June 2016, British Columbia's Mary John submitted her request and was approved. But her joy over being able to die on her own terms quickly turned to additional pain and frustration when hospice staff repeatedly obstructed her access, needlessly prolonging her life and her suffering.
After weeks of this active interference, Mary finally got her wish: She became one of the first British Columbians to access assisted dying — if not, the first. Throughout her weeks-long ordeal, she and her family never once stopped advocating for her right to a peaceful death.
In this powerful blog post, Mary’s daughter, Colette, and her boyfriend, Dean, share how Mary's fight for choice and compassion was able to pave the way for patients and families in her community and province.Read more
In early November, Jana Buhlmann wrote a powerful entry for the DWDC blog about her husband, Chris, who had a medically assisted death in September 2017. In her follow-up post, Jana reflects on the resistance Chris faced from people in his life who opposed his end-of-life choice — and the lessons she learned about herself along the journey.Read more
Kate's story: My dad chose a medically assisted death. This is my celebration of his life and choice.
In late June, Mark Alexander died peacefully at his home, surrounded by his close family and friends. The British Columbia man was an avid outdoorsman, globe-trotter, and beer-league hockey player who loved all kinds of physical activity, but loved his family above all else. Despite his zest for life, Mark was always realistic about his prostate cancer diagnosis. After every treatment failed, he made the decision to access medical assistance in dying, and he did so with unwavering conviction. At his Celebration of Life reception, his daughter, Kate, presented a speech about his end-of-life choice. She has graciously allowed us to share her beautiful words on our blog.Read more
Maggie Bristow can no longer bear to breathe because every breath sets her body afire with pain. The Ottawa woman has fibromyalgia and spinal stenosis, along with a host of other medical conditions, and wants nothing more than to be able to access medical assistance in dying. Physically unable to write her own story, Maggie spoke with Dying With Dignity Canada volunteer Liana Brittain, who helped Maggie put her excruciating pain into words.Read more