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Nancy Niedzielski's Vermont Tour

Nancy Niedzielski's Vermont Tour

Nancy speaking to a crowd in Ferrisburgh

Patient Choices Vermont continues to help all Vermonters get the facts about their proposed Death with Dignity Act, and last week, Nancy Niedzielski traveled from Washington state to tell her personal story and share the Oregon and Washington experience with those living in Vermont.

When Nancy's husband died an agonizing and painful death due to brain cancer, he asked her to promise that she'd do everything she could to make sure Washington passed a Death with Dignity Act like Oregon. Fulfilling her promise, she worked tirelessly to help her fellow residents learn about Death with Dignity, and in 2008, her dream was realized—Washingtonians passed their Death with Dignity Act with nearly 60% supporting the initiative.

In four public speaking events and multiple media interviews, Nancy shared her heartbreaking and inspiring story of why other terminally ill individuals should have more options at the end of their lives. Nancy sent an email to me last week about her experience in Vermont:

What is amazing to me about Vermont is the easy access voters have to their elected officials. We all should be that fortunate. I felt honored to meet so many members of the Legislature. The newspaper interview, live radio show and all the public events I participated in confirmed for me one thing. Vermont is ready for the Death With Dignity Law!

One of the greatest pleasures I've had during this tour was seeing the ah-ha moment on the faces of politicians and citizens when I've explained why the statements from those who oppose the law are false. More than a decade of experience in Oregon has proven, without any doubt, that this law is safe and provides incredible piece of mind for those who are suffering at the end of their life. The Death with Dignity Act reflects the liberties our country was founded upon. Vermonters understand that. Providing a choice to someone who is dying is the only choice there is.

During Nancy's three-day whirlwind tour she spoke at four different public meetings throughout Vermont which were attended by people interested in learning about the state's proposed law. Read more about Nancy's visit on Patient Choices Vermont's blog.


  • Posted by saundra petersen on Monday, October 17 at 12:11 p.m.

    Hello, My name is Saundra and i had a question. How can we get other states to pass this law. 6 years ago my husband died of lung cancer at the tender age of 43, 3 weeks later my father died of leukemia at the age of 69. At that time my daughter was 12 and my son was 18.They both were very close to there father and grandfather. Because it happened so closely they both lost faith in God. My 12 year old daughter was holding her father when he died in her arms. My children watched them die in pain and saw how much they suffered. it has effected them in a very negative way. I don't know how to help them. when our love ones die like this it effects the living in ways we can't imagine. My son has a son now. Because what my son saw he refuses to believe in God any more, there for he won't let my grandson go to church or have anything to do with God. This truly saddens me. My daughter tried so many times to end her life while she was a teenager. i can't help but think that if this law was passed in Missouri back then that there father and grandfather could of died with dignity and prepared their children with there deaths in a positive way. The law needs to understand that when a loved one passes it effects everyone. Especially the children. What can I do to get this law passed in Missouri, Arizona, California, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and all the other states. Every terminal patent in all 50 states have the right to go out with dignity. Thank you for your time.

  • Posted by Melissa Barber on Monday, October 17 at 03:49 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your support, Saundra. I'm so sorry to read about these difficult experiences your family endured. You might be interested in this recent study about how family members of Oregonians who requested prescriptions under the state's Death with Dignity Act felt more prepared and accepting of the death than comparison family members:

    After careful research and polling, we've found the next likely state to pass a Death with Dignity law will be in New England, and that's where we're currently focusing our attention. As more and more Death with Dignity laws are enacted throughout the US, our hope is enough states will tip the scales and states which have been resistant in the past will finally listen to the will of the people.

    Melissa Barber
    Electronic Communications Specialist
    Death with Dignity National Center

Defend dignity. Take action.

You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, nonprofit organization, has been the leading advocate in the Death with Dignity movement. Individual contributions helped us pass new Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Vermont, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the Death with Dignity movement.

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