Stories that matter

Craig's Story
Craig Moore, is the father of Dwight Moore, AZELO's Education Chair and Chairman-Elect. Craig was an unwavering believer in medical aid in dying. Sadly, because of the draconian political climate in his home state of Pennsylvania, Craig was denied the peaceful end of life he sought and, instead, resorted to VSED in his final days. Here, Craig is pictured dancing with granddaughter, Sasha, at a family wedding celebration.  
By Dwight Moore
          My dad (Craig Moore) lived 93 vibrant years. He was curious, social, adventurous, and in love with my mother for 64 years until her death. He lived a long and full life. But, in his 94th year he developed “failure to thrive,” a multifactorial state of decline where most of his systems began to shut down.
          He moved from his independent living apartment in Bethlehem, PA, to an assisted living unit in the same facility. That is when he called me at my home in Blaine, WA, and asked me to “come out here and be my coach.” I knew immediately what he was asking. He was a lifetime advocate of the Hemlock Society and believed firmly in death with dignity and leaving this world on his own terms. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania did not have a medical aid in dying law (and still doesn’t) so he made the decision to stop eating and drinking and recognized that he would need support.
          Years earlier, Dad had written out his wishes. He said we would know that he was “done” if he became “confined”… no longer able to move on his own, no longer interested in reading three newspapers a day, no longer attracted by food, and not interested in his customary gin Martini. After I arrived at his care facility, we talked at length about his readiness to die. My sister, Sara, arrived soon after. It was obvious to both of us that Dad, indeed, had reached the point he had written about years ago. He was crystal clear in his refusal to endure further medical treatment and gently explained that he was "done." He qualified for hospice care, and they helped manage his bed sores, his daily bath, and attempts to eat. He had already decided that he needed to begin the process of stopping eating and drinking (VSED).
          He notified his doctor, his family, the nursing staff, and the administrator of the facility about his intentions and told them that his “coach” would be helping him. In reality, I ended up being more of a linebacker than a coach, as I had to fend off well-meaning staff who wanted to give him ice cream, insert a picc line for long-term administration of antibiotics, minimize the amount of morphine he was getting, and, in general, talk him out of his decision. At each staff shift change, Sara and I had to re-explain his wishes. The whole medical establishment pushed for him to stay alive despite his steadfast directive that he was ready to die. It was difficult to witness. His pain and anxiety caused him to twist in his bed sheets, mutter about a secretary who couldn’t take dictation, writhe in discomfort in his bed, and occasionally yelp. To help quiet him, I asked his hospice team to increase his morphine dosage. Only then did he become more peaceful.
          Near the beginning of his ordeal, he told me that the first two days were “hell.” Mercifully, he only lasted five days from when he stopped eating and drinking. Sara and I took individual "shifts" staying with him and leaving to catch some uneasy sleep in between. For reasons I don’t recall, we were both with him, holding both his hands, at 3:00 a.m. when he calmly drew his last breath. Unsettled and worn-out, Sara left shortly afterward. I stayed long enough to watch the funeral home attendants put him into a body bag and take him away. At that point I lost all composure.
          It was my father’s desire to die with dignity -- to conclude a life of self-reliance with a death that would allow him to exit gracefully before the pain and helplessness became unbearable. In part, that is why I have been an advocate and activist wherever I can help advance the cause of death with dignity in states like Arizona where such laws have yet to be passed.
AZELO Revamps Its Internet Presence

A New Website
We now have a new redesigned website at (capitals not needed—they are only used here to make it more readable). There was a major reason we needed to do a redesign: The old website was not mobile friendly, and half of all internet use nowadays is with a mobile device. We can’t be an effective advocacy organization if half of the people who might come to our website have to struggle to read it.
          At the same time we sought to make the site a more focused effective presentation of our cause. On the home page we have stated the mission in simple direct language before the reader even gets to the main text. The About Us text is broken into short segments in keeping with today’s short internet attention spans. We have also strived for a simple navigation system where more detailed information can be easily found when desired. We have added a new FAQ section and a summary of the proposed law.
          Our subject matter does not lend itself well to exciting pictorial material; so, as an Arizona organization, with both the old website and the new one we have used a “beautiful Arizona” graphical theme to add visual interest. On the new site, newer technology allowed this to be increased to include interactive slide shows (where you can click on an image for a larger version) and even a video on the home page (the video is turned off for mobile devices to save bandwidth). Although there was some concern that this might be too distracting, the majority thought the unique visual appeal outweighed that consideration.

A New Domain
At the same time we opened the new website, we have changed our internet domain for both the website and for email from to to reflect the actual name of the organization (again, the capitals are not needed). Not to worry—if you use the old address for either email or the website, it will still get through to the right place, but please make a note to switch over to the new domain. The domain change was accomplished by our volunteer Information Technology team members Tim Tarkington and Dave Wolf.

An Old Webmaster
David Brandt-Erichsen, a retired researcher in molecular genetics, is our volunteer webmaster and was responsible for creating the new website. He is referred to here as our old webmaster not because of his age, but because he 
created the original incarnation of this website back in 1998 for what was then called Arizonans for Death with Dignity. He states: “I learned how to make websites with 1990s technology, so as an old dog I had to learn a lot of new tricks to accomplish this redesign.” He watched a lot of how-to YouTube videos.
          David’s dedication to this cause goes back to 1986 when he got involved with the Tucson Chapter of what is now the national Compassion & Choices organization, one of the first such chapters in the country. He served on the Board of the Tucson Chapter for several years and then on the Board of the statewide chapter (originally called Arizonans for Death with Dignity) for several years as well. Both the national and state organizations went through several name changes over the years. David is a life member of Compassion & Choices and he hopes his membership does not expire any time soon. But, he says, “When it’s my time to go, I want it to be on my terms, not somebody else’s!”
          David likes to say that “freedom-fighting is in my genes” because he is a fifth-generation direct descendant of Lucretia Mott, the famed abolitionist and women’s rights advocate who was co-chair of the original women’s rights conference in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848. So it was only natural for him to be active in supporting medical aid in dying in Arizona for the past 35 years, working toward this “last right.”
          “I am really excited to be a part of Arizona End-of-Life Options,” David states. “I am very impressed with the quality of the revitalized leadership which, among other things, has formed a broader coalition than what we had before. This, coupled with the momentum from nine other states now having medical aid in dying, makes our chances of success much improved.”
          David is also volunteer webmaster for several other organizations. He is on the Board of Directors and the Volunteer Website Team for the National Space Society, a lifelong passion. He is webmaster for the Natural Arch and Bridge Society and contributed some of his unusual photos of Arizona natural arches to the graphical “Arizona” theme of our website. He is also webmaster for the Elverhøj Museum in Solvang, California—what is now a museum of the arts was originally the home where he grew up, built by his artist parents. He resides in Tucson.
ONTARIO, CANADA -- Starting from at the Eagle Lake Country Market, a community motor procession provided a final send-off to a dear friend. The windows of many of the cars were decorated with handmade posters and tokens showing symbols of a life well-lived and well-loved: one with a construction paper rainbow leading to a heart, and one cut into the shape of a heart that simply said “Lee.” read more

BOSTON. MASS. -- The Massachusetts Legislature may soon vote on the state's End-of-Life Options Act. The Joint Committee on Public Health recently approved the bill, the first time it was voted favorably out of committee since it first was introduced in 2011. The Massachusetts Medical Society, the state chapter of the American Medical Association, went from opposing the bill to being neutral  -- a policy change that has given the bill momentum in the legislature. read more
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The power of a personal story goes well beyond simply relaying facts and data. They add color, depth and credibility, and help people connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.
If you are a supporter of medical aid in dying (MAID), then it's likely that you have experienced an event in your life that prompted 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 simply 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, why not check all the other great stories curated on our website. (link below)
Arizona End-of-Life Options
June 23, 2020

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