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New Death with Dignity Stories: Elaine Fong, Mary Foti, Caitlin J., Cayla Miller

June 12, 2018

Every day, we hear from people whose lives have been forever changed by a terminal illness and how their often heartbreaking experiences have motivated them to advocate for death with dignity. Their stories inspire us to work toward ensuring terminally ill Americans have the freedom to decide how they die.

Read on to learn more about advocates from California, Maine, Missouri, and Ohio and how you can share your death with dignity story.

Elaine Fong: A Choice and a Conversation

Elaine Fong, a Californian, shares the story of how her mother used Washington’s death with dignity law to die on her own terms, with peace and control. “I can’t imagine what my mom’s experience would have been if she’d lived in a state where death with dignity wasn’t legal,” Elaine says. “How long and how painful might it have been?”

Elaine Fong with Mother and sisters

Elaine Fong (right) with her mother and sisters

She views death with dignity as “a choice and a conversation. It is a choice to be made by an individual for their own personal life’s needs and wishes. And it’s a conversation in which anyone can engage, to understand what it means to empower someone to make their own decisions at the end.”

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Mary Foti: A Better Way to Die

Having watched her mother and many other family members die of cancer, Ohioan Mary Foti appreciates death with dignity for how it allows “the patient to choose the time, place, and manner of his/her death.”

Mary, who is living with the same form of breast cancer that killed her mother, shares her story and volunteers for our partner organization, Ohio End of Life Options to honor her loved ones and turn the heartbreaking experience of losing family members to terminal illness into a positive change for others down the road.

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Caitlin J.: The Chance for a Dignified Death

Caitlin J. of Colorado watched her once-vibrant grandfather suffer terribly in his final weeks. His home state of Missouri does not have an assisted-dying law, so he did not have access to death with dignity.

“I have no way of knowing if my Grandpa would have taken the option of medical aid in dying,” Caitlin says, “but shouldn’t he have at least had the choice? Death with dignity offers older adults with a terminal illness like my Grandpa the chance to remain autonomous, die gracefully, and without any pain or suffering.”

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Cayla Miller

Mainer Cayla Miller advocates for death with dignity to honor the memory of her mother, Eva Thompson, who died last year without having the option.

“I pledged to her that I would help to pass this law so others who were suffering would be able to have their choice. That is why I am working with Death with Dignity National Center and Maine Death with Dignity on their campaign to place an assisted dying measure on the 2019 ballot.

Eva Thompson and Cayla Miller

“I am honored to be a part of the death with dignity movement. Join me in working to ensure those suffering from a terminal illness have peace, comfort, and control in their final days.”

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What’s Your Story?

We want to hear from you: Do you have a death with dignity story? What inspired you to get involved in the cause? What does death with dignity mean to you?

Get in touch and share your story with us.

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