Dying With Dignity Canada's longevity and success is due in large part to the many volunteers who work on the local and at the regional level. We have Chapters across the country powered by people passionate about end-of-life choice.
Throughout the year, we will be highlighting the stories and contributions of DWDC's volunteers, and what motivates them to give of their time to our organization. This is Jasmin's story.
What is your volunteer role?
I contacted the Victoria Chapter of DWDC during the summer of 2020, hoping they were looking for additional volunteers. I arranged to meet two of the Chapter members for a COVID-friendly meet-up and I was excited to learn that the local Chapter was looking for someone that could assist with their social media.
Since joining the Chapter in the fall of 2020, our followers on Facebook have increased by 25 per cent. We want to continue to increase our online community so we can reach our core supporters easily. We will be able to poll our followers and learn what topics they would like us to cover in our webinars and eventually, in-person events. In addition to building our online community, I monitor our social media channels for questions people may have.
What I like about the role is the chance to raise people's awareness and to hopefully remove some of the stigma around MAID.
What motivated you to volunteer with DWDC?
My motivation to volunteer is quite personal. In April 2020, my Mom took advantage of the medically assisted dying program in Switzerland.
I grew up in Germany and the rest of my family still lives there. While medically assisted dying is legal in Germany, there is no infrastructure in place to actually take advantage of this. My Mom had suffered a stroke in 2019 and, overnight, had gone from being completely independent to relying on help for everything, as she was now paralyzed on the left side of her body. I had to move her into a care home but she was in constant pain. Luckily, she was still able to communicate.
Living a 10-hour plane ride away did not help, but with help of family and friends I knew that I could always ask for help. Very quickly she asked me to start the process for a medically assisted death. We had a lot of help as COVID-19 did not make travelling internationally easy, but finally, my husband and I were able to accompany my Mom on her last journey.
It was a very peaceful experience. She fell asleep with a smile on her face and all I could think of was that she is free and no longer suffering. Due to this experience I want to help increase the awareness of DWDC and to try and help remove the stigma that still applies around medically assisted dying.
Fun fact about yourself?
I moved to Victoria, BC in 2006 and people always get confused by my accent. Prior to moving to Canada, I lived in Germany, England and Belgium so people are not quite sure where to place me.