Volunteer Spotlight: Walter Dannhauser

April 2, 2015

Walter Dannhauser didn’t endure a tragic family ordeal to motivate his activism. “I just feel that there’s absolutely no reason to force people to go through this agony if they’re going to die anyway,” the East Amherst, New York, resident explains. “Why not make it easier for them and their loved ones?”

A retired chemistry professor from the State University of New York at Buffalo, Dannhauser and his wife have volunteered at an area nursing home. That experience, as well as seeing friends who were forced to navigate difficult end-of-life situations, cemented his convictions. “I know for some people it’s just awful, because in New York we don’t have a real choice.”

He has been a Compassion & Choices supporter for more than a decade, recently amping up his role. Last December, The Buffalo News published Dannhauser’s letter to the editor in support of aid in dying. And in March, he contacted C&C for additional copies of our winter magazine, which he distributed to attendees of a How to Die in Oregon screening at the senior center where he lives.  “I figured this would be a ready-made audience for people who might support Compassion & Choices or support end-of-life legislation here in the state,” he says.” I was surprised; we had about 20 people at the film showing, with essentially no publicity. I was afraid my wife and I would be the only ones!”

Dannhauser is very matter of fact regarding his self-motivated grassroots efforts, which have more impact than ever now that lawmakers have introduced an aid-in-dying bill in his state: “I just think it’s something that needs to be done. And if I can help, fine.”

You too can help move the New York End-of-Life Options Act through the state legislature in February; go to our New York state page to find out how.

Visit Compassion & Choices’ Volunteer Action Center to learn ways you can get involved in your area!

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

Compassion & Choices
8156 S Wadsworth Blvd #E-162
Littleton, CO 80128

Mail contributions directly to:
Compassion & Choices Gift Processing Center
PO Box 485
Etna, NH 03750