AZELO rolls out The Webinar Project
                Dave Wolf                                        Marie MacWhyte                             Whit Johnson
By Dave Wolf
          The State of Arizona is filled with people who are passionate about their beliefs. Some have found their way to the Arizona End-of-Life Options coalition. But many others are not familiar with the need to enact a medical aid in dying law to establish compassionate end-of-life options for terminally ill Arizonans.
          "We asked ourselves, in light of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, how can we engage the community, educate constituents in the cause and open the doors to those willing and interested in helping to see a bill passed in Arizona by 2022," says Dave Wolf.  The answer: The Webinar Project.
          Dave, along with Marie MacWhyte and Whit Johnson applied their respective talents to planning and implementing the innovative public education initiative. 
          AZELO is fortunate to have attracted leaders with deep knowledge and experience to share with the community. These individuals will be serving as our webinar speakers, ready to recruit, educate and motivate new volunteers, and reach out to Arizona senators and representatives to promote passage of a medical aid-in-dying law.
          The webinar project began in early July with its first topic: "Six Choices We All Have at the End of Our Lives." This webinar is currently being offered most Fridays at 1 p.m. Arizona Time. The Webinar Project is being featured in a promotional ad campaign on social media and in local newspapers around the state. Additional related topics and titles for future webinars are in development, including end-of-life stories. Check the AZELO website for upcoming webinar dates and topics.  
          Finally, we invite you to help us get the word out.
 Please consider posting this link on your personal Facebook page and and on your free local Nextdoor app:
          Also, if you are unfamiliar with the inner workings of Nextdoor, detailed instructions can be found at this Nextdoor website which explains how to reach out to residents in your neighborhood, as well as in other nearby neighborhoods.
If you haven't had a chance to see the movie "Here Awhile," you are in for a treat. Starring Anna Camp, the film offers a rare look at the heartbreak of a young woman facing a cancer death sentence and her decision to use Oregon's Death with Dignity law. The film provides a complete picture of what is involved when you are a human being on this planet: love, laughter, family, tears, fear, heartbreak, and sadness. Returning home to Portland, Oregon, Anna (played by Anna Camp) is looking to repair her relationship with her estranged brother, Michael. Anna has recently received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. She is dying and wants to do that on her own terms and to do so in  Oregon using the state's Death with Dignity Act. But before that, she wants to reconcile with her brother. The movie is available on streaming video sources including Amazon Prime and Hulu.
         Anna Campis perhaps best known for her roles in the HBO vampire drama True Blood and the musical comedy film series Pitch Perfect. She also has had recurring roles in the television series Mad Men, The Good Wife and The Mindy Project.  
          Compassion & Choices recently recorded an in-depth conversation with the actress, who gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Here Awhile (theatrical trailer). She talks about how she prepared for the role and her feelings about depicting a young woman with terminal cancer who makes the decision to use Medical Aid in Dying (MAID). 
          Here is A Conversation with Anna Camp Recorded Tuesday, July 21, 2020.
Tell us your story
We are always looking for personal stories focused on end-of-life experiences and we would like to hear from you, your family or your friends. Stories from Arizonans are important because they demonstrate to lawmakers and others the importance their constituents place on end-of-life choices. If you are uneasy about your writing ability, not to worry—we will help you get your story told.

          If you have an end-of-life story you are willing to share with others, please contact Stu Burge at (623) 882-6767 or

Only 12 NJ Residents opted for MAID in 2019
          Twelve New Jersey residents suffering from terminal illnesses ended their lives in 2019 under the state’s Death with Dignity law, according to a state report released July 21.
          The Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act was signed into law in April 2019, and went into effect August 1. The law allows attending physicians to write prescriptions for medication that would end the life of a qualified terminally ill adult with a life expectancy of six months or less.
          Six men and six women, all between the ages of 50 and 93, ended their lives under those circumstances between August 1 and December 31, 2019, according to a New Jersey Department of Health annual report.
          The report once again throws cold water on opponents’ claims that MAID laws promote widespread “devaluing of human life” and is virtually indistinguishable from suicide. In reality, New Jersey has a population of 8.8 million and experienced 778 actual suicides in 2018, the last full year of reporting by the CDC.

Cape Cod Times letter to the editor:

In 2002, my parents ended their lives together by ingesting a lethal dose of barbiturates. My father, Chester Nimitz Jr., a decorated WW II admiral, and my mother, Joan, were a devoted couple in their late 80s. Both suffered from debilitating and incurable physical ailments. As Massachusetts residents who had long advocated for end-of-life autonomy, they found themselves heading into their final months trapped in a health care system that offered no legal life-ending options for people with terminal illness.
          After lengthy and loving discussions with family and friends, my parents let it be known that they preferred to exit together rather than endure the inevitable medical interventions that extend life — even at the expense of a gentle death.
          What if aid in dying had been available in this this state 18 years ago? I know my parents would have opted to live longer, confident that their end-of-life choices would be honored in the face of terminal illness.
          Let’s pass the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act this year and give dying patients and their families the dignity and comfort of personal autonomy and peace of mind during their last days.

Betsy Nimitz Van Dorn, Wellfleet, Mass.

Arizona End-of-Life Options
August 2, 2020

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