LGBTQ+ Stories

Jim Kelly and His Husband Bruce

Jim Kelly

Since his cancer diagnosis, Jim Kelly has completed his advance directive and become an advocate for medical aid in dying in Illinois.
“End-of-life processes can look very different, but we all deserve autonomy to determine what kind of care we do and don’t want, and when enough is enough.”

Kelly Rice (they/them)

Kelly Rice is a public health professional based in Illinois who works with older populations navigating the healthcare system.
My work is about how we ensure that people living with dementia are still able to embrace the pieces of life that bring them joy through end-of-life planning.
Kelly Rice standing in front of a fence and flowers
Thomas Reed Jackson seated in front of a parked train in the background.

Thomas Reed Jackson

Thomas Reed Jackson left a legacy of compassion and tenacity to the end-of-life care and options movement.
“We have to change the paradigm. We have to change our way of thinking, and we have to adopt the idea of a legacy.”

Deb Robertson

Deb Robertson is a former social worker living with terminal cancer. She is advocating for the option of medical aid in dying in Illinois.
“After I was diagnosed with cancer, I started to think about what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve advocated for others for so many years. Now, with aid in dying, I’m advocating for something that affects me.”
Deb Robertson with her wife Kate in 2022

Stephen May

Stephen May passed away without the option of medical aid in dying due to a bureaucratic system to access the End of Life Option Act.
“If SB 380 had been in place, Stephen would have easily been able to receive the medication in time. He would not have had to spend his final days suffering as he did.”

Tom La Follette

Tom La Follette (1963 - 2020) urged the Delaware Legislature to authorize medical aid in dying while facing terminal cancer.
“I ask that lawmakers have mercy for their terminally ill constituents. I think it’s shameful for legislators to not support medical aid in dying as an option. My life is not theirs and they can’t understand what I’m going through.”

Carrie Framsted

Carrie Framsted's wife, Monica Schliep, suffered a painful death after struggling with pancreatic cancer.
“Her last two weeks were excruciating. I wish Monica could have been afforded the opportunity to decide when enough was enough.”

Florrie Burke

Florrie Burke continues to advocate for medical aid in dying in memory of her spouse, pioneering filmmaker and activist Barbara Hammer.
"I’m in my mid-70s and in relatively good health, but after watching Barbara die with needless suffering, the last thing I want to do when I die — as we all will do one day — is repeat her end-of-life experience."
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