The following is an excerpt from an article published by the Albany Democrat Herald on January 26, 2014.
“I hoped he would get better, but he didn’t,” Pam says. “He had stage 4 cancer, a lot of coughing and shortness of breath.”
On April 3, 2012, Ben decided he wanted to hasten the end of his life through Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
Pam and Ben came to grips with the decision they had reached.
“We cried together,” says Pam, who concurred with her husband’s request. “I was there with him to do whatever needed to be done.”
Over the next month, Ben met all the requirements of the law. That included receiving two doctors’ diagnoses that he had less than six months to live, a 15-day waiting period, being deemed competent to make the decision, and getting a prescription from a doctor for the lethal medication.
Ben gave himself the medication on the evening of May 4, 2012, and died two hours later. He was 75.
Pam went on to lead volunteers in launching a new volunteer team in Corvallis and has told her story dozens of times at Compassion & Choices events. She was celebrated at the Compassion & Choices volunteer of the year on October 17, 2018.