Compassion & Choices NY Weekly Why: Meet Ayla Rain (April 25)

April 25, 2022

Distributed to New York State Lawmakers via email April 25, 2022:

Welcome back to Albany.
In the Legislative Office Building this week, you will see a series of display boards that make a compelling case for passing New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act (A4321a/S6471). I urge you to stop and take a moment of quiet reflection to look at the faces, read the words, and consider the evidence.
Much of this will look familiar to you. I’ve been sharing a deep dive into each of the themes displayed on the boards since you returned to Albany at the beginning of this session.
What will not be familiar to you is the story of Ayla Rain Eilert, a 24-year-old ballet dancer who lived and died in Manhattan on April 2. She died horribly, from tongue cancer that had spread to many other parts of her body. She died at a top-tier hospital known for its expertise in palliative care.
I met Ayla and her family while you were negotiating the state budget. I spent hours on the phone with her and her parents trying to find a solution to the problems that they were having with pain management and compassionate care. The family considered moving to New Jersey, but no one thought Ayla had enough time to make it through the rigorous process of requesting and receiving a prescription for medical aid in dying in the Garden State.
Instead, Ayla spent the final days of her too-short but brilliant life scratching and clawing at her throat, signing when she could no longer speak, “my neck hurts.” Her parents spent those final days in agony, watching their daughter suffer and beg for help.
Ayla’s father Daren Eilert will be in Albany on Wednesday, April 27 and he wants to talk to you.
He will join the families of 20 other advocates who died asking the state legislature to take up and pass this bill, and to stop needless suffering. They will hold a tribute to their loved ones from 11 am – 1 pm next to The Well in the LOB.
I can’t explain to these families why their experiences haven’t moved the legislature to act. Maybe you can.
I hope you’ll stop by and view the boards. Maybe you’ll come at a time when no one is there so you can quietly and privately reflect on where you stand on this issue. Or maybe you’ll come and meet Daren and the rest of these families, look them in the eye, and explain where you stand and what you plan to do to make sure no one suffers the way that Ayla and her parents have.
Thank you for your consideration,


Weekly Why Archive

Each week that New York State Lawmakers were in session in 2022, Compassion & Choices New York provided a deep dive into each of the issues surrounding New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act. You can find each of these weekly communications with lawmakers here: 

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