The Heartbreaking Reason This 29-Year-Old Woman With Brain Cancer Went to Great Lengths to End Her Life

Brittany Maynard knew how her story was going to end. She was dying and could see how it would horrifically play out.

Diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor at only 29-years-old, Brittany wrote about her journey in a CNN opinion article. Like most people, she did research. And also tried treatment, but learned her fate would be extremely painful. Here is her story.

Brittany was a newlywed, hoping to have a baby

A couple on their wedding day.

Her diagnosis was shocking. | Eli77/iStock/Getty Images

Married for only a year, Brittany and her husband Dan wanted to start a family, she penned in her CNN article. A beautiful bride, Brittany featured a number of photos from her wedding as a young, healthy couple, filled with promise for the future.

Next: But life had other plans. 

She tried treatment

Brittany sitting with her dog.

Treatment didn’t seem to help her. | The Brittany Fund

Brittany suffered from debilitating headaches. Initially diagnosed with migraines, Brittany eventually learned instead she had a brain tumor, according to People.

Once Brittany realized what she was facing, she went through treatment and surgery to reduce the tumor’s size. But after nine months of battling the aggressive cancer, Brittany realized her cancer could not be maintained or cured.

Next: She wrestled with options. 

But only had months to live

Brittany and Dan on their wedding day.

She knew she couldn’t undergo the recommended treatments. | The Brittany Fund

Eventually, the doctors gave Brittany and Dan the devastating diagnosis: she only had six months to live. Oncologists offered brain radiation, but after doing research, Brittany said the treatment would destroy any quality of life she had left.

Next: The future was filled with anguish.

Her cancer created a nightmare scenario

Brittany smiling in a photograph.

She wanted to live her last few months to the fullest. | DennyPowzer via Instagram

Brittany learned the cancer would ultimately leave her in debilitating pain. Even palliative care may not work and she could languish for months. She wanted to avoid this harrowing scenario and live her final days as healthy as possible.

Next: She decided to live life on her own terms.

She chose to die with dignity

Brittany Maynard speaking in a video.

She decided to move forward with her decision. | CompassionChoices via YouTube

Instead of lingering in extreme pain for an undetermined amount of time, Brittany decided she would call the shots and die on her own terms. However, Brittany lived in California where it was illegal to use a medical intervention in order to end life.

Next: Brittany makes a big move. 

She moved to another state

Brittany Maynard in an interview.

She chose to move to Oregon. | Sunoticiero via Instagram

Brittany and her husband move to Oregon, which was one of only five states that legally allow a terminally ill person to end his or her own life using medical intervention, she wrote in her CNN opinion piece. Her husband took a leave of absence from his job and Brittany connected with physicians in Portland to assist with her journey.

Next: And lives her final days to the fullest.

She checked off bucket list items

Brittany Maynard with her mother at the Grand Canyon.

She went to the Grand Canyon with her mother. | Studiomao via Instagram

During her last days, Brittany became an outspoken proponent for dying with dignity. She also assured people she was not suicidal and did not want to die. However, she wanted to enjoy her final days and was able to check off items from her bucket list, like visiting the Grand Canyon.

Next: She makes final preparations to die with dignity.

Brittany peacefully passed away

Dan in an interview.

Her husband and family members were there with her. | CompassionChoices via YouTube

As her illness progresses, Brittany celebrates her husband’s birthday then chooses November 1, 2014 to be the day she planned to die, NPR reports. “As symptoms grew more severe, she chose to abbreviate the dying process by taking the aid-in-dying medication she had received months ago. This choice is authorized under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. She died as she intended — peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones,” according to a statement posted on The Brittany Fund.

Next: Her husband continues her fight. 

Her husband supported Brittany’s fight

Brittany and Dan on their wedding day.

Brittany’s husband will keep her legacy alive. | Norcal_soph via Instagram

Advocacy helped to add the state of California to the Death with Dignity list, bringing the total to six states where assisted death is legal. Lawmakers in Montana continue to debate the issue. Dan carries Brittany’s message about giving others with a terminal diagnosis the option to die with dignity, Vox reports.

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