Jay Kallio (1955-2016) thought he had beaten cancer in 2008 when he was successfully treated for breast cancer. But in early 2014 he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer most likely due to lesions that had been present since he volunteered as a first responder at Ground Zero in 2001. 

Jay worked in medicine as a consultant/writer for Ram Roth, MD, and Associates, and at Jacob Perlowe Hospice of Beth Israel Hospital as volunteer trainer and coordinator for home and inpatient services. For 12 years he served as a volunteer with the Auxiliary Police Support Unit of the NYPD in Manhattan. And for 20 years he was also a full time caregiver to his disabled wife. Because of his background in healthcare, Jay knows all too well what lies ahead. As cancer continues to invade his body, breathing has recently become a struggle.

“I have seen many patients in my position with severe pain ­­having the pain management methods not equal to allowing us to live without feeling tortured every day of our lives. I know from experience you just want to scream at the doctors, ‘do something, do something.’ When it goes on for days and weeks it is so cruel.”

“A first responder, trained medical professional and hospice volunteer, Jay was a New York hero. He knew first-hand the importance and benefits of great palliative and hospice care. And although as a patient he received world-class palliative care, Jay’s medical team could not control the pain and suffering he endured at the end of his life,” said Corinne Carey, New York Campaign Director for Compassion & Choices. “A strong supporter of medical aid in dying even before his illness, Jay wanted his words – as he knew his brave fight was coming to an end – to resonate with lawmakers and the public. He wanted them to understand that there are limits to even the best palliative and hospice care, and that’s why New Yorkers should have the option to avail themselves of medical aid in dying.”