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By Chairman Ron Fischler, MD       
In accordance with our established succession process, effective September 1, I will be passing the baton of leadership to Dr. Dwight Moore. Dwight has served as chair of the highly active education committee and recently guided our Advisory Council and Steering Committee through a very successful strategic planning process.
          It has been my distinct honor to serve as Chairman for the past year. As a grassroots all-volunteer team, we have made significant progress and I want to thank all the unselfish and talented men and women who, through sheer devotion to our cause, have grown from a loosely affiliated gathering of like-minded individuals into a cohesive and sophisticated advocacy organization with a new name and website. And let’s never forget that we (you) did it under the dark cloud of a deadly worldwide pandemic. 
         Of special note, in January we applied for and received a $5,000 grant from Death with Dignity, in February TV-12’s Mark Curtis did a news story and livestream town hall about MAID, and in May Dr. Tom Fitch, our Medical Director, published a powerful op-ed in the Arizona Republic.
          Going forward, I will be focusing on a number of projects including managing our transition to an official 501 (c) (4) nonprofit status, leading a team to develop ties with allied organizations, soliciting meaningful endorsements from professional associations and societies, conducting webinars, and interacting with legislators.
          Although terminally ill Arizonans do not yet have the legal right to Medical Aid in Dying, we remain more committed than ever to that end. It is a slow, uphill battle, but our statewide Seven Touches initiative is laying the groundwork that will soon persuade state legislators to heed the voice of the people and pass a law permitting MAID in Arizona. We are conducting weekly webinars via Zoom, and we are providing all 90 legislators a continuing stream of information to educate them about the need for this law. We are hopeful that the November election will result in more legislators who support MAID so that our bills in the Senate and House can finally get the fair public hearings they deserve.
          Together, we have established an effective and adaptable organizational structure with regional representation, leadership expertise in key functional areas, and a volunteer base that is now 400 strong. If you have friends or colleagues who might want to get involved, please encourage them to our visit our website www.azendoflifeoptions.org or refer them to Dwight or me.
          Under Dwight’s capable leadership, and the wise and steadfast support of our national partners, Compassion & Choices and Death with Dignity, our modest grassroots organization will continue to mature into a force to be reckoned with in advocating for thusands of Arizonans who desire the option of medical aid in dying.     
          Personally, I look forward to taking on new challenges in support of our cause and intend to be on hand when we toast our collective victory at the state capitol.
Ron Fischler, MD 
r.fischler@azendoflifeoptions.org 

John Radcliffe, a longtime lobbyist, union official and advocate for medical aid in dying, passed away Aug. 11 at his home in Honolulu. Informed in 2014 that his colon cancer diagnosis was terminal, he became an advocate for legalizing MAID in Hawaii. A one-time teacher, he moved to Hawaii in 1975 from Virginia to be head of the Hawaii State Teachers Union, a position he held for 13 years. He later became a registered lobbyist, establishing Capitol Consultants of Hawaii. He passed away peacefully in the presence of his family and close friends after ingesting fatal medication to end his life. His ability to do so legally was the result of medical aid-in-dying legislation he spent years pushing for, using himself as an example of someone who expected to use it one day. It became law on January 1, 2019.

Two Moving Op-Eds from New York

”Many people with disabilities want to die peacefully at the end” 
The Eagle, 7/25/20

As the U.S. commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a doctor living with cancer and multiple sclerosis explains why she supports death with dignity. The purpose of the Act, she says,“is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else,” according to the American Disabilities Act National Network. Medical aid-in-dying legislation honors this historic law’s mission, by providing people with disabilities the same autonomy and freedom as everyone else to make our own healthcare decisions at life’s inevitable end.”

“Another Voice: Terminally ill New Yorkers need a peaceful dying option,”
Buffalo News, 7/28/20

Two New Yorkers with terminal cancer urge their state lawmakers to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act, which was tabled when legislators voted to suspend the legislative session back in March. “The sad truth is New Yorkers with incurable, terminal diseases are dying no matter what,” they write. “And we are at even greater risk because of our weakened immune systems of dying in agony if we get infected with Covid-19. Ensuring that terminally ill New Yorkers have the option to die peacefully is as important now more than ever. ”

Read about our work to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act here.

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Arizona End-of-Life Options
August 17, 2020


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