Remembering Bonnie Edelstein (1941–2021)
It is with the utmost sadness that I share with you the passing of my friend and mentor Bonnie Edelstein.
The founder and director of Death with Dignity Albany, Bonnie died peacefully on July 3.
Bonnie founded Death with Dignity Albany (a New York Alliance for Medical Aid in Dying partner organization) more than 6 years ago, before Compassion & Choices’ current NY campaign managers—myself and Corinne Carey—officially joined the campaign. As founder and director, she led quarterly advocacy meetings at the Albany area library, tabled at local events, spoke at rallies, and created a group of more than 600 supporters throughout New York’s Capital Region.
Bonnie was at the first ever lobby day for NY’s Medical Aid in Dying Act when former Compassion & Choices advocacy manager Mark Dann was leading the charge. She welcomed me under her wing with the utmost kindness. With Bonnie, I found value in the work of passing a medical aid-in-dying law. I found value in what I could be: a voice for those who died suffering and could have benefitted from the full range of end-of-life options.
Bonnie left a profound impact on many of us in the New York campaign to expand and protect end-of-life care options. This last month has really broken many hearts with the loss of Dr. Bob Milch and now Bonnie. In their memories, please do something to be kind to yourself. And remember that we must carry on and pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act, for Bonnie and every advocate who has died fighting for this compassionate end-of-life care option.
The following message is from Death with Dignity Albany:
Bonnie Edelstein died peacefully on July 3, 2021 in the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s. She was the founder and Director of our organization, and along with Deputy Director Jeff Baltes and many helpers, Bonnie built it into a sizable regional forum for education about end-of-life matters and for advocating the enactment of medical aid in dying in New York. She will be sorely missed by her numerous friends and colleagues.