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A Personal Connection Inspires Donors to Support Death with Dignity

August 8, 2019

Our work is made possible by generous donors across the country who share our commitment to ensuring all Americans have the right to decide how they die.

For Max Roman in California and Kappy Wells in New Mexico, a personal connection to the death with dignity movement inspires them to support our work.

Max Roman: A Family Tradition of Giving

An avid skier and hiker, Kathleen Roman was always on the move. That made the loss of mobility and physical control she experienced from ALS “just devastating,” her son, Max, told us.

Max Roman with father and mother

To Die Peacefully

As the disease robbed Kathleen of her physical capabilities, she sought a way to end her suffering and die peacefully in her home state of California. She learned more about medical aid in dying and decided she wanted to use California’s End of Life Option Act.

Securing the Option

Max and Kathleen’s husband, Michael, turned to Death with Dignity National Center for information on how to help her access the California law.

Peace of Mind

“Once we secured the option” of aid in dying, said Max, “[my mother] was noticeably relaxed. She could spend the last part of her life enjoyably.”

In December 2016, six months after California’s End of Life Option Act went into effect, Kathleen used the law.

A New Tradition

After Kathleen died, her husband Michael began giving to Death with Dignity in her memory. Following Michael’s death in November 2018, Max and his wife, Victoria, continued this tradition of giving to honor both his parents.


Kappy Wells: The Art of Dying Well

Kappy Wells tells stories in bronze and charcoal. With sculptures in collections in New York, Paris, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she lives part-time, Kappy is an accomplished and well-traveled artist.

Art Imitates Life

Some of her most powerful work is her most personal. As her father, Malcolm, was dying, Kappy documented his prolonged decline in large-scale charcoal drawings.

Kappy Wells outdoors and in her studio

No Legal Option

A respected figure in the conservation architecture movement, Malcolm Wells was vibrant and engaging. But his final years were filled with suffering.

“Had he been able to end his life legally [through an assisted-dying law], he happily would have done it,” Kappy said. But because Malcolm lived in Massachusetts, a state without a death with dignity statute, he could not.

Supporting Death with Dignity

Her father’s experience sparked Kappy’s support for the assisted-dying movement, and of Death with Dignity National Center. It is how she chooses to honor her father’s memory: by working to ensure others have an option for a dignified and peaceful death.


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Afterword: Physician-Assisted Dying Concepts

Death with Dignity Donor Spotlight: Max Roman (California) and Kappy Wells (New Mexico)

Our work is made possible by generous donors across the country who share our commitment to ensuring all Americans have the right to decide how they die. Here, we share the stories of two donors whose personal connection to the death with dignity movement inspires them to support our work.