By Adrienne Dare, Founding Member of the Silver City End of Life Options Coalition
I became passionate about Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) in 2002 when my 90-year-old mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her pain could not be controlled. Fortunately, she lived in Oregon and was able to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. This was clearly what she wanted for herself. It’s been a great comfort to me these many years that she was able to die peacefully at home surrounded by family.
Medical Aid-in-Dying Advocacy
Then I began to give presentations in Silver City and in Albuquerque about my mother’s story.
Early in 2012 I was contacted by Compassion & Choices asking if I wanted to be a witness telling my Mom’s story in the Morris v. New Mexico case, as an action team was formed to educate people about it and end-of-life issues.
We organized classes held on the Western New Mexico University Campus in their Western Institute for Lifelong Learning (WILL) program for three years, and each year those students seemed more informed than the year before. We are currently participating in another shorter WILL class on the same topic.
For the last six years, we’ve had a table at the annual Mimbres Health Fair, and each year the community seemed to have more knowledge than the year before.
Silver City End of Life Options Coalition
As our action team evolved into the Silver City End of Life Options Coalition, there have also been presentations to several groups in Silver City and also in Las Cruces and Albuquerque. I’ve also presented my Mother’s story several times to the New Mexico Legislative Health & Human (LHHS) Committee.
In preparation for the upcoming 2019 Legislative session when the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act will be introduced, Elizabeth Armijo with Compassion & Choices came to Silver City to give an Advocacy Training session. Since then, more emphasis has been on passing the End of Life Options Act in the 2019 legislative session.
Our Silver City End of Life Options Coalition has recently started a column, Compassionate Care at End of Life, in an online news outlet, The Grant County Beat, on Mondays.
There was a showing of How to Die in Oregon at the Silver City library in November, and we will talk to our local legislators again.
We maintain a long list of supporters who are eager for information about what is happening in New Mexico regarding the End of Life Options Act and the activities of the New Mexico End of Life Options Coalition, and I attend many of the monthly local ACLU chapter meeting to update them on the issue.
We welcome anyone to join in and bring your ideas and passion to the cause!
Voice for Choice
My story about my mother’s death, recorded for Compassion & Choices New Mexico: