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A Life-Changing Internship

Bridging Knowledge to Health by Paul Bica on flickr
Bridging knowledge to health by Paul Bica on flickr

How many internships do you know of that can change the course of a person's life? Chances are, not many.

Earlier this month I learned of such an opportunity. An opportunity that had my name written all over it. The opportunity was to apply to for an open position as a web and social media intern for Death with Dignity National Center.

I jumped at the chance.

After all, they offered a great benefits package...

  • Would you like to work with an organization that respects and protects personal freedom? Check.
  • Would you like to contribute your skills while learning more? Check.
  • Would you like to connect individuals that have incredible stories to tell? Check.
  • And would you like to make a difference in end-of-life decision making? Yes, please. Sign me up.

I love how my network has grown exponentially because of 'the web.' The online world has connected me not only to communities of individuals with similar passions, but also to the unique position I now hold with Death with Dignity National Center. Without online connectivity, the opportunity to learn while assisting the mission of a fantastic organization wouldn't be possible. A seasoned marketing communications professional finishing her Master's while living in the Midwest wouldn't be able to support a pivotal organization supporting personal decisions in end-of-life care on the West coast.

When I hear people complain about how their online life has reduced the quality of their face-to-face time, I have to smile. For me the effect has been just the opposite. Because of my involvement with @DeathwDignity, @EOLChat, @hcsmca, and other groups online, I've made better use of my offline time. I've made important health decisions. I've renewed my driver's license and checked the 'organ donor' box for the first time. I've completed an advance directive and shared it with my family. I've created an end-of-life playlist, shared it on YouTube, and began using it as a discussion point with friends about end-of-life decisions. But above all else, I began to re-define what was personally important to me.

In a few short weeks my internship has been a life-changing, life-affirming decision. In the next several weeks between now and the end of the term (December 2012), I'll have even more incredible moments to share. Now, who can say that about an internship?

Posted on September 19, 2012 in Personal Stories


Posted by Ryan Canady (not verified) on October 24, 2012 at 02:19 a.m.

I write this comment through tears. I mean that literally. My aunt passed away from a very rare form of cancer in my state of Tennessee. She did not have laws to allow her to make choices about end of life decisions. Physician assisted suicide was not an option for her. She passed away 5 months ago, and it has been haunting me ever since. I don't know how to handle it personally, but I want to do something in her honor. I want to work for death with dignity. I have a friend in Washington state who is facing a fatal disease and I am happy that she has options. I just wish this were true for everyone.

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