Brittany Maynard vs Lauren Hill: One is Campaigning for Death the other for Life

Oregon calls their assisted suicide law the Death with Dignity Act, but is it really dignity or the coward’s way out?

Before you get your panties in a bunch, I understand why people don’t want to suffer through horrible diseases but that is not an excuse to kill yourself. Allow me to compare two different cases that have been in the news lately.

First there is Brittany Maynard, the 29 year old woman who had stage four brain cancer. When she first found out that she had terminal brain cancer, she started campaigning with Compassion & Choices to help promote the right to die movement who strives to legalize assisted suicide.

Maynard told the media:

“My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control. I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

According to Sean Crowley, spokesperson for Compassion & Choices:

“[Maynard suffered] increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms.”

Maynard moved from California to Oregon in order to take advantage of their legalized assisted suicide. Before taking her life on November 1, Maynard stated:

“I’m not killing myself. Cancer is killing me.”

Maynard spent the last part of her life campaigning for death.

Now look at the case of Lauren Hill, the 19 year old college student who also has a terminal form of brain cancer known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma of DIPG. This cancer affects the pons portion of the brainstem, interfering with many functions of the nervous system. It is a rapidly growing tumor that is more resistant to chemotherapy than most cancers.

In Hill’s case, she suffers from blurred vision, weakness, memory lapses and severe headaches. She has been told that she will die before the end of this year. Instead of running off to Oregon to kill herself, Hill has been living life to the fullest and campaigning to raise awareness and donations for DIPG.

Hill played basketball in high school and dreamed of playing college basketball at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. She was determined not to give up and last week her dream came true. Her courage and story made such news in the local area that they moved the first game of the season from Mount St. Joseph’s auditorium to a much larger venue, Xavier University’s Cintas Center. With a sold out crowd of 10,000 and locally televised, seventeen seconds into the game, a teammate passed Hill the ball and she made a layup with her non-dominate hand, because her dominate hand and arm are too weak to shoot the ball.

Instead of campaigning for death, Hill started the Layup4Lauren Challenge to help raise funds for the non-profit organization The Cure Starts Now. Since Hill has to use her non-dominate hand to shoot a basketball, the challenge has people using their non-dominate hand to shoot a layup. Hill also suffers from a lot of dizziness with her cancer, so before shooting the layup, they have to spin around five times and then shoot with their non-dominate hand to simulate what Lauren experiences.

Hill’s courage not to give up has gained her national attention and she has received a number of awards including a box of Wheaties with her picture on the front. She made the cover of NBA Live and was awarded the prestigious Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award.

On interviews, Hill has said she knows she’s dying and that she’s having more and more bad and difficult days, but she will push as much as she can to continue to bring awareness to DIPG and hopefully help raise awareness and money to find a cure. She has raised many thousands of dollars so far and will continue to do so until the Lord takes her home.

Lauren Hill is spending the last part of her life campaign for life, not death like Maynard did. She has been an inspiration to many. To me, that is dying with dignity.