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Goodbye to Jumpy: Lessons for the Health System

Hamster care of cdrussorusso on flicker

This article by Janice Lynch Schuster was originally published on American Society on Aging's Aging Today, and is republished with permission by the author. Janice will guest host our #DWDchat this Thursday to chat with our Twitter community about the topics in this article more in-depth. All are welcome; please join in the conversation! The chat will start at 4:00pmPT/7:00pmET and will last for one hour.

Janice Lynch Schuster is the co-author of Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing Serious Illness (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). She is a senior writer for the Altarum Institute in Washington, D.C.

Read more: Goodbye to Jumpy: Lessons for the Health System

This Week in the Movement

Quote by Jessica Hische

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Below are highlights from the last several weeks.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

A Lesson from Joan

Joan and Melissa Rivers

Joan Rivers—love her or hate her—was a larger than life personality. She bucked the notion that women can't be funny and paved the way for many other female comedians to step into the limelight. Tina Fey, a comedy superstar in her own right, reflected on Rivers' influence recently in an interview during the Toronto Film Festival, "Whether that was her intention or not she definitely opened doors for other women in comedy."

Rivers saw no topic as taboo, and contrary to many Americans, she spoke quite openly about death, dying, and what she wanted for her funeral as she did in this recording:

When I die (and yes, Melissa, that day will come; and yes, Melissa, everything's in your name), I want my funeral to be a huge showbiz affair with lights, cameras, and action...I want Craft services, I want paparazzi and I want publicists making a scene! I want it to be Hollywood all the way. Don't give me some Rabbi mumbling on; I want Meryl Streep crying, in five different accents. I want to look gorgeous, better dead than I do alive. I want to be buried in a Valentino gown and I want Harry Winston to make me a toe tag. And I want a wind machine so strong that even in the casket, my hair will be blowing more than Beyonce's on stage.

Read more: A Lesson from Joan

National Center Board Member to Present at Biennial Right to Die Conference

George Eighmey

People the world over desire to control their own end-of-life care. While the Death with Dignity National Center's focus is on supporting and promoting US Death with Dignity laws, there are groups across the globe who work toward developing similar laws in their countries. Many of these groups, like us, are members of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies.

Since 1976, Federation members have come together every other year to discuss the global right to die movement. This year's conference—kicking off September 17th—will be the first one in the US since the Boston gathering in 2000. Chicago will host this year, and Death with Dignity National Center board member George Eighmey will be among the featured speakers at the conference.

George will present on our work to pass the third US Death with Dignity law in the state of Vermont. Vermont's law was the first law of its kind on the East Coast, and the first passed through the legislative process. This historic achievement came to fruition after over 10 years of dedicated work by us and the local grassroots group, Patient Choices Vermont.

Read more: National Center Board Member to Present at Biennial Right to Die Conference

National Center Ice Bucket Challenge

Death with Dignity National Center Ice Bucket Challenge

Last week, our executive director Peg Sandeen reflected on a social media phenomenon to raise money for ALS research: the Ice Bucket Challenge. Not long after the article was posted on our blog, Peg was challenged to get ice water dumped on her or make a donation to the ALS Association.

Ever the overachiever, Peg decided to do both and she upped the ante by challenging all of us here at the National Center to take part, pledging to donate for each staff member who participated. All of us played a role. Peg, Cindy, Don and I received the ice water. Pete, Shaun, and Roger dumped the water, and Jennifer shot the video. We filmed our challenge next to one of Portland's iconic Animals in Pools water fountains. Check out the result:

Read more: National Center Ice Bucket Challenge

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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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