Brittany Maynard says she has terminal brain cancer
The 29-year-old plans to take medication to end her life
In a new video, she says it isn't the right time yet
But waiting too long is "the worst thing that could happen," she says
Brittany Maynard says she hasn’t decided yet when she’ll end her life, but it’s a decision she’s still determined to make.
“I still feel good enough, and I still have enough joy, and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now. But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week,” Maynard said in the video, which was produced by Compassion & Choices and released to CNN last Wednesday.
Maynard said she had stage IV glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of terminal brain cancer.
The 29-year-old Oregon woman’s story spread rapidly on social media after she revealed her plans to take medication to end her life. A video explaining her choice has garnered more than 8.8 million views on YouTube. And she’s become a prominent spokeswoman for the “death with dignity” movement, which advocates that terminally ill patients be allowed to receive medication that will let them die on their own terms. She’s also become a lightning rod for criticism from people who oppose that approach.
In her latest statement, a nearly six-minute video produced and released by end-of-life choice advocacy group Compassion & Choices, Maynard acknowledges that some have been skeptical about her story.
“When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or, you know, whatever they’ve decided is best for me, it hurts,” she says, “because really, I risk it every day, every day that I wake up.”
Compassion & Choices spokesman Sean Crowley declined CNN’s request to speak with Maynard’s doctors, saying they “prefer to remain anonymous for now because opponents of death with dignity sometimes harass doctors who write aid-in-dying prescriptions.”
Maynard says her health has been getting worse. She describes a recent “terrifying” day when she had two seizures and found herself unable to say her husband’s name.
“I think sometimes people look at me and they think. ‘Well you don’t look as sick as you say you are,’ which hurts to hear, because when I’m having a seizure and I can’t speak afterwards, I certainly feel as sick as I am,” she says, her voice cracking as she tears up.