Stories that matter   

Carla Wykoff is a volunteer with Arizona End-of-Life Options. She has agreed to share details about her personal struggle with cancer and her concern about the Arizona legislature's continuing unwillingness to pass a law providing residents access to medical aid in dying (MAID).

'I am fighting the best I can'

          My name is Carla Wykoff. I am a long-time resident of Arizona, a retired engineer, scientist, teacher, and advocate for the desert biological diversity. I have been fighting lung and liver cancer for six years. I have endured surgeries, radiation, and the side effects of treatment.
           I do not know how much longer I have to live. I am fighting the best I can but I am tired of being sick and I am exhausted by medical interventions. I do not want to die nor do I want to live in a weakened state, unable to do the things that have always given my life meaning. I want to live as long as I am able to get out into the wild places that are my source of spiritual energy.
          But when my body signals me that my time is close, I want the option of ending my own life with dignity, enjoying the company of those I love  - when, where and how I choose. 
          It troubles me that I will likely not have this option in my home state of Arizona  -- that others whose beliefs I do not share, can and will force me to suffer pain and indignation in my last moments on the planet. I find that wrong, even barbaric.
          I would like to thank my family and friends, and my doctors and other caregivers for their long support. I would like to ask you, my fellow Arizonans, to implement the option of medical aid in dying for all terminally-ill Arizonans who would prefer, like me, to end their lives on their own terms. 

Share Your Story - Here's how

If you are a supporter of medical aid in dying, then it's likely that you have experienced an event in your life that triggered your support. If so, we would love to hear about your experience. If you are uneasy about your writing ability, not to worry -- we'll help you get your story told. The most important thing is having a story you are willing to share. If you have questions or a story idea, simply drop an email note to Stu Burge and let's get started. In the meantime, please take a look at all the other great stories curated on our website

Register here for Dwight Moore's
June 20 webinar
                                                Presented by
Saturday, June 20, 2:00 pm
  • Join us for a discussion of end of life options for terminally ill patients and an introduction to AZELO and the dedicated volunteers working to bring this law to Arizona.
  • Zoom registration required
Register Here
Dwight Moore, PhD, is Chair of the AZELO Education Committee, with the "modest" goal of having all citizens of Arizona understand the basics of the medical aid in dying law as it grows in importance and achieves greater public support across the nation. Dr. Moore was a team leader for Compassion & Choices in Coachella Valley, California, during the successful 2014-15 campaign to pass the California End of Life Option Act. 
Seven Touches Campaign Rolls On
          As you may recall from past newsletters, AZELO is engaged in an aggressive campaign of advocacy, education and persuasion aimed squarely at influencing the 90 members of the Arizona legislature. The ultimate goal, of course, is the creation of a law granting Arizona citizens voluntary access to medical aid in dying (MAID).The state has been divided into eight regions, each with a Regional Leader who is responsible for carrying out the campaign for the Legislative Districts in their assigned region. 
     Leader                           Region                       Legislative Districts 
Leesa Stevens             Northern Arizona                    1, 5, 6, 7
Ron Fischler                 Eastern Arizona                      8, 12, 16, 28
Tom Fitch                      E. Maricopa County               23, 25
Jay Scherotter              S. Maricopa County                17, 22, 16, 27
Mandy Weaver             Central Phoenix                      15, 18, 24
Stu Burge                     W. Maricopa County                20, 21, 29, 30
Dwight Moore               W. & S.W. Arizona                   2, 4, 13, 19
Mary Ganapol               Southern Arizona                    3, 9, 10, 11, 14

Now we are ready for the Second Touch of the campaign, which involves sharing additional helpful information with our state senators and representatives. This time we are sending them the powerful video program featuring Tempra Jones followed by a pro-and-con panel of experts. You will recall that Mark Curtis, chief anchor for Channel 12 in Phoenix, made two trips to to a small town in Washington to interview Tempra and bring Arizona viewers her story. The first visit was just before Christmas 2019 when she was celebrating what she knew would be her final holiday with friends and family. The second visit was scheduled for the day Tempra ended her life, having met the requirements and safeguards attendant to medical aid in dying. It is a moving and heartfelt story. You may want to watch it again before sending it to your legislators. Here's the link
Just as we did with Touch #1,
there are four easy steps involved
STEP  ONE    First you need to locate the name and email address for the Senator and two Representatives who represent the Legislative District you live in. To start, simply go to this AZ Website and enter your home address. Your Legislative District Number will pop up at the top of the map. (Your Congressional District will also be displayed, but ignore that for now.)

STEP TWO  Next, you need to enter the number of your Legislative District on this website My State Legislators. where the House Roster and Senate Roster are shown in two different displays and provide each member's name, phone number and email address. Note that when you send your emails, each person's name must include the extension Thus, for example, John Allen's email address would be

STEP THREE  Draft an email something like the SAMPLE below. It's fine to send the same email message to each of your three legislators. Just remember to change the recipients' names and email addresses. Remember, the SAMPLE is exactly that, so feel free to change up some of the language to suit your own personal style. 

STEP FOUR  Proofread each email to eliminate possible typos, save a copy for your files, and send your Second Touch on its way. If you come up with a question about the campaign that you can't answer, please give Education Chair Dwight Moore a call at 360-223-4958.
                                          SAMPLE  EMAIL

Dear (name)
            It is an understatement to say that these are difficult times for our state and country. As a resident of Arizona, I want to thank you for your efforts regarding the COVID-19 crisis and the more recent civil unrest that is causing most of us to reconsider our deepest beliefs. I believe it is because of the principled leadership of legislators like you that Arizona will weather the storm and emerge stronger than ever.
            I also want to take this opportunity to tell you that I am especially interested in improving end-of-life care in our state. I believe state governments, the media, and the public need to recognize that terminally ill Arizonans should have a voice and a choice in how their life ends. 
            As you may know, 70 million people in nine different states and the District of Columbia have access to medical aid in dying (MAID). Arizona has not passed such legislation yet, but our goal at Arizona End-of-Life Options is to pass such a law during the next legislative session. We have more than 350 volunteers here in Arizona and collaborate with the national offices of Death with Dignity and Compassion & Choices.
            Over the next few months I will be sending you more information on this increasingly important issue. 
            Finally, for your convenience, I am including a link to a video clip we call “The Tempra Jones Story." It was produced and hosted by Mark Curtis at KPNX Channel 12 in Phoenix. The story is typical of the terminal health issues and desire for autonomy with which countless individuals across our state and country are coping. Click here to see Tempra's Story 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

(your name)

(your home address)

Arizona End-of-Life Options
June 15, 2020

Our mailing address is:
c/o 15786 W. Merrell St, Goodyear, AZ 85395