Advocacy Group Celebrates Illinois Volunteer’s Remarkable Contributions to Improving End-of-Life Care in Her Community

Deb Robertson is the 2024 Allyne Hammer Excellence in Advocacy Award Recipient
April 23, 2024

Compassion & Choices is proud to announce that Deb Robertson of Lombard, Illinois is the 2024 Allyne Hammer Excellence in Advocacy Award recipient. The award was created after the death of Compassion & Choices’ supporter Allyne Hammer last year to honor volunteers who work within their communities and exemplify the values of the end-of-life care options movement.

Deb Robertson, who has a rare type of terminal cancer called neuroendocrine carcinoma, is dedicated to passing medical aid-in-dying legislation in Illinois and is a member of Compassion & Choices’s LGBTQ+ Leadership Council. Her dedication to the end-of-life care options movement is inspiring and she has been instrumental in the Illinois legislative campaign. Her advocacy has garnered both local and national media attention, featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, and a nationally circulated Associated Press article. She also spent a 30-year career developing housing programs for homeless LGBTQ+ youth in the Chicago area. 

Amy Sherman, Midwest Advocacy Director for Compassion & Choices, said: “Deb is a tireless advocate for expanding access to medical aid in dying and a key storyteller for the Illinois legislative campaign. She has brought to life what is at stake for people with terminal illnesses in the most powerful and moving way by sharing her personal struggle with neuroendocrine carcinoma. She is a firebrand and we are so pleased to celebrate her accomplishments.”

Osha Towers, LGBTQ+ Engagement Director said: “Deb Robertson brilliantly embodies the fierce and compassionate energy of Allyne Hammer. Her activism in medical aid in dying legislation is tremendous. Yet, it goes even deeper as she transforms lives by the care and education she offers to individuals, empowering them as advocates for their own care. The work Deb has done is foundational to this movement and personal to everyone she meets.”

In Deb Robertson’s own words: “Because this cancer has progressed so quickly, I want to do as much as I can for this cause while I’m still feeling decent. I want to give as much as I can any way that I can. We don’t have any control over whether we get a terminal illness, but to have some control over how we leave this earth with a terminal illness is something that everyone deserves. Who wants to suffer?”

Compassion & Choices is the largest and oldest nonprofit working to improve care and expand options for the end of life in the United States, with 470,000 supporters nationwide. For more information, visit:

Compassion & Choices
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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.