People Magazine Profiles Compassion & Choices Supporter Hanna Olivas

More than a dozen other news outlets follow with features on the mother of four children seeking the option to end her suffering from incurable cancer.
October 25, 2019

Headshot of Hanna Olivas taken outdoorsCompassion & Choices advocate Hanna Olivas, who wants the option of medical aid in dying if her end-of-life suffering becomes unbearable, appears in the October 21, 2019, issue of People Magazine, which hit newsstands nationwide earlier this month. The article includes a video produced by Compassion & Choices of Hanna and her family. 

Hanna and her husband Jerry will soon leave their Las Vegas home, two of their four adult children and their grandchildren to move to southern California so she can access California’s medical aid-in-dying law because Nevada does not have a similar law. 

“We, as patients, fight every single day a battle that people who don’t have cancer could never understand. They might not agree with it, but at least give us the option to do it if that’s what we choose,” Hanna says in the video. “I am a Christian. We have a loving God, a God of compassion. As his child, He does not want me to suffer.”

In conjunction with the People feature, Hanna and Jerry traveled to New York City making multiple media appearances: as guests on the highly rated, nationally syndicated Tamron Hall Show, a live interview on HLN’s On The Story and an interview with Jorge Ramos on Al Punto and Univsion’s Primer Impacto. Her story has since also appeared in the New York Post, Las Vegas Review Journal, Daily Mail and various other media outlets.

Last April, Hanna and Jerry traveled to Nevada’s state capitol to join civil rights icon Dolores Huerta in meetings with legislators, including with Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, to urge them to enact the state’s Death with Dignity Act that would authorize medical aid in dying. She also recorded a video in English and Spanish to urge lawmakers in Nevada and other states nationwide to pass medical aid-in-dying laws, but the Nevada bill did not advance during this year’s legislative session.

Hanna, a 45-year-old make-up artist and mother of four children, was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable blood cancer, multiple myeloma, in August 2017. Doctors initially gave Hanna about five years to live, if she continued chemotherapy treatments. But she stopped chemotherapy in May 2018 after only five rounds because they damaged her kidneys and liver. Recently, doctors told Hanna she has only months or up to one year to live. 

“We are heartbroken that Hanna has to leave her home, her children and grandchildren behind in Las Vegas because her home state of Nevada does not offer her this compassionate end-of-life option,” said Compassion & Choices Chief Executive Officer Kim Callinan, “A move to California robs Hanna of precious time with her loved ones and is very demanding on her health, which continues to deteriorate as the days go by. No one should be forced to leave their home and loved ones to achieve a peaceful death.”

Hanna Olivas will appear at a free Compassion & Choices Day of the Dead event from 11:00 a.m. – noon at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, 4190 Front Street. Please join us!

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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