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Donor Spotlight: Joanne Busiel’s Lifetime of Activism

January 25, 2018

This article first appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of The Dignity Report.


One of the defining characteristics of Death with Dignity supporters is their inspiring level of engagement with the world around them and their steadfast commitment to social justice. Joanne Busiel is no exception.

Joanne is an active volunteer, sharing her time among several organizations, including Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and environmental organizations. She has also volunteered as a court advocate, speaking up for children who have been neglected or abused. In her retirement, she is continuing a lifetime of activism. That includes advocating for Death with Dignity.

“I have always tried to see what can be done to assist people in need,” Joanne says.

Joanne Busiel with her daughter, Erika, at the People’s Climate March in Portland, Oregon, on April 29, 2017

Joanne has ample personal and professional experience with end-of-life issues. She worked for years at two long-term care facilities in Chicago, where she witnessed the struggles of seniors in their final stage of life. Several of her friends and family fought prolonged and painful battles with cancer and other fatal illnesses in states without the option of physician-assisted death. Joanne knew it was an option she personally wanted.

When considering retirement locations, Joanne was clear that having the option of Death with Dignity was important, should she need it. “I want to be able to control the end of my life, if I am terminally ill,” Joanne says.

In addition to her desire to live closer to her children, having access to Death with Dignity “was a key reason for making the move to Portland in 2015 from Oberlin, Ohio.”

Joanne’s commitment to Death with Dignity led her to join our circle of sustainers, making quarterly gifts to support our work. Sustainers provide us with a consistent and reliable source of funding that enables us to invest in long-term campaigns and initiatives.

“I am so impressed with the accomplishments of Death with Dignity National Center,” Joanne says.

We are grateful to Joanne for contributing to our efforts to make Death with Dignity available to all Americans.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a sustaining partner, visit

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