2019: A year in Photos

December 13, 2019



Your support has made this a monumental year for Compassion & Choices and the entire patient-directed care movement. Below are just a few moments, large and small, that were made possible with your continued support.

We kicked off the year with implementation of the Hawaiʻi Our Care, Our Choice Act in January …
Still from Compassion & Choices Hawai'i Implementation press conference
From left: Rep. Della Au Belatti, a sponsor of the Our Care, Our Choice Act; Dr. Charles Miller, board-certified physician in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology, who will serve as medical aid-in-dying attending physician for Kaiser Permanente Hawaiʻi patients; Bruce Anderson, director of health for the Hawaiʻi Department of Health; John Radcliffe, Compassion & Choices supporter and the first person to request a prescription under the Our Care, Our Choice Act.
… and quickly turned our sights to launching Barbara Coombs Lee’s groundbreaking book Finish Strong: Putting YOUR Priorities First at Life’s End. This included events in dozens of states across the country, including multiple trips to Florida, where we are unveiling a new pilot program geared toward empowering patients to Finish Strong, even in the face of a dementia diagnosis.
Barbara Coombs Lee with her book
Barbara Coombs Lee with a copy of her book before a book club event.
During the legislative session, after seven long years of campaigning, we celebrated with our New Jersey supporters in the State House halls after medical aid in dying passed, cheered together when the governor announced he would sign the bill just hours later and rolled up our sleeves and got back to work to implement and defend the law shortly after the signing.
Supporters celebrate in NJ
A supporter hugs Senior Campaign Director for New York & New Jersey Corinne Carey.
Our New Jersey win propelled our New York efforts forward. Shortly after the New Jersey Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act passed through the legislature, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his support for a medical aid-in-dying law. We immediately ramped up our efforts in New York, which included generating extensive media coverage when two of our most active storytellers died without being able to access the law they desperately wanted.
Bernadette Hoppe in Albany
Florie Burke with a photo of her late wife, Barbara Hammer
Top: Bernadette Hoppe testifies in 2018 in Albany. She died on March 1, 2019, from terminal cancer.
Bottom: Florrie Burke carries a photo of her late wife, Barbara Hammer, as she speaks at our lobby day event in 2019. Barbara died on March 16, 2019, from ovarian cancer.
Seventeen other states had active legislation. In 2019, we testified at 23 hearings across 15 states, including Maine, which was authorized on September 19. Friends like Diane Rehm, Reverend Charles McNeill and others joined us across the country, helping make the case that the time has come to bring greater autonomy and compassion to life’s end …
Testimony in Maryland
Kim Callinan testifies in front of the Maryland Legislature with (left) Reverend Charles McNeill and (right) Diane Rehm.
… we organized hearings, information sessions and lobby days in over a dozen states across the country …
Supporters at a Minnesota Hearing
Over 120 Compassion & Choices supporters attended a September 11 informational hearing on the Minnesota End-of-Life Option Act before the House Health & Human Services Committee. Our strong turnout and good planning meant we were able to fill the room with our supporters who wore yellow Compassion & Choices t-shirts.
… and we launched bilingual campaigns in Nevada, New Jersey and New Mexico featuring well-known civil rights advocate Dolores Huerta, who has lent her name, voice and grit to our efforts.
Dolores Huerta with supportive sign
Civil rights advocate Dolores Huerta holds a sign in support of end-of-life options reminiscent of her historic “Huelga” photograph during a 1965 labor strike.
While we were on the offensive in most states, in states like California and Montana we were on the defensive. Fortunately, we successfully defeated Montana’s “Physician Imprisonment Act,” which would have subjected any doctor who practiced medical aid in dying to the death penalty.
Montana Protection
Supporters in the Montana Capitol after a Senate hearing. From left, Baxter v. Montana attorney Mark Connell; Roberta King, daughter of Baxter v. Montana plaintiff, Bob Baxter; and Leslie Mutchler, daughter of Bob Baxter and mother to TJ Mutchler, who accessed medical aid in dying and died peacefully in 2017.
In California, while protecting the law from the ongoing court battle, we and others also made great strides implementing medical aid in dying into standard medical care. A highlight of these efforts came in September when we participated in a symposium that the City of Hope, a premier cancer research institute, sponsored on end-of-life care and planning.
City of Hope Symposium
Dr. Chandana Banerjee, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Supportive Care Medicine and lead sponsor of the City of Hope End-of-Life Symposium, kicks off the symposium to a packed house.
This summer, our African American and Latino Leadership Councils met to discuss how best to bring the conversation about end-of-life care empowerment to more people, as members of the African American and Latino communities are less likely than their white counterparts to complete advance directives, enroll in hospice care, receive adequate pain management or access medical aid in dying.
AALC annual meeting
LLC meeting
Top: The African American Leadership Council meets in Washington, D.C.
Bottom: The Latino Leadership Council meets in Los Angeles, California.
We continued to create a steady drumbeat of media coverage, working with our storyteller Kevin Roster, a terminally ill New Jerseyan who moved to California to access medical aid in dying. He died peacefully on July 26. His story was featured in USA Today, ESPN and other media outlets, bringing our issue to new audiences.

Kevin Roster playing in his final “World Series of Poker” Tournament in Las Vegas this June.
In the fall, we worked with People magazine on its story about our storyteller Hanna Olivas. Hanna shared her plans to move from her home in Nevada to California to use the End of Life Option Act when the pain from multiple myeloma becomes too much to bear.
Hanna Olivas in People magazine
Hanna Olivas from her feature in People magazine
And just this week, The Washington Post Magazine published the story of Corinne Zimmerman, authored by her son, who worked with Compassion & Choices’ end-of-life consultation services to access Washington, D.C.’s law. You can read that story here.

In October, many of our supporters gathered in Oregon. We celebrated our victory from earlier this year when the Legislature amended the Oregon law to remove the mandatory waiting periods, an unnecessary roadblock to access. We also promoted two new dementia tools designed to allow people confronted with a dementia diagnosis to pre-claim their voice and get care consistent with their values and priorities …

Rev. Madison Shockley speaking in Oregon
Compassion & Choices supporters listen to our board member, Rev. Madison Shockley II, speak at our annual event.
… and supporters gathered in San Diego to commemorate their loved ones during a Dia de los Muertos celebration. Dan Diaz placed a photo of his late wife, Brittany Maynard, on the altar to mark five years since she shared her story with the world and used Oregon’s law to end her suffering from terminal brain cancer. We also commemorated the anniversary of Brittany’s death with a video and media campaign featuring an op-ed that Dan and I co-authored, which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dan Diaz at dia de los muertos
Dan Diaz bringing a photo of his wife, Brittany, to be added to the Dia de los Muertos altar.
And just this past weekend, thanks to the leadership of delegate Laura Hall, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) adopted a resolution that Compassion & Choices helped draft and advance which affirms NBCSL’s commitment to “educate, empower and advocate around end-of-life care.”
Compassion & Choices staff with NBCSL President.
Compassion & Choices staff members Michael Farmer, Donna Smith and Brandi Alexander with Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter (Delegate, SC), president, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (second from right).
All year long, day by day, we push to improve care and expand options at the end of life, and 2019 was no different.

Thank you for everything that you have done to contribute to the growth and progress of our movement. None of these advances would be possible without your support.

With appreciation,


Kim Callinan
President and CEO
Compassion & Choices

Please consider making a year-end gift and it will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a generous anonymous donor.





Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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