Living Our Lives to the Fullest
A Note From the CEO
by Kim Callinan
May 20, 2020
“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.” —Maya Angelou, poet
Ms. Angelou’s philosophy is a timely reminder to us during this challenging pandemic, and one that so many of us in the movement to expand options at life’s end live by. There is no better example of this than the late Dr. Omega Silva, a beloved Washington, D.C., physician who convinced one of the first professional medical associations to adopt a supportive medical aid-in-dying policy back in 2007. She remained an active and influential advocate, serving as a vocal Compassion & Choices storyteller and expert during the passage and implementation of the Washington, D.C., Death with Dignity Act, until her recent death in early April. We mourn the loss of Dr. Silva, but take heart in being able to carry out her legacy to advance medical aid in dying, and just as importantly, to live life to the fullest.
Ms. Angelou’s words also give us wonderful insight into why this movement matters. For many, medical aid in dying provides peace of mind and allows them to live their final months on their own terms. A new film, Here Awhile, beautifully depicts this reality. The film, to be released on streaming and on-demand services on June 9, follows Anna, a young woman dying of cancer as she moves to Portland, Oregon, to access the state’s Death with Dignity Act. Anna is played by prominent actor Anna Camp. My hope is that this film will ignite conversation across the world about the importance of this compassionate end-of-life option.
As you read the compelling stories in this month’s newsletter, you will see that theme continue. Whether we are talking about our Staying Stronger Together webinar series or our efforts to reinstate the Patient Self-Determination Act, it all comes back to our simple desire to have policies and a health system that support our desire to live each and every day of our lives to the fullest. Perhaps a positive outcome from this pandemic will be that this pearl of wisdom we all recognize will become more embedded into the fabric of our country.
As always, your support and generosity mean so much to me. I hope you stay well and safe as we continue to cope with this devastating pandemic.