By Chris Haring

The services of volunteers with the right-to-die movement are crucial to the effort to improve and expand medical aid in dying throughout the country.

On the heels of National Volunteer Week, Death with Dignity highlights some of the remarkable individuals who selflessly give their time and expertise to ensure the availability of medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients. 

These volunteers come from a diverse range of backgrounds, and despite serving in a variety of capacities, they share one key characteristic: a steadfast dedication to dignity and autonomy at the end of life.

Those who make medical aid in dying possible

Emily and Ashley: Death with Dignity

Emily, a student at Amherst College, draws from her experience as a hospice volunteer when educating terminally ill patients and their families about their end-of-life options. She has been instrumental in educating the public about Death with Dignity for over two years while pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. 

Ashley is a personal trainer from Wisconsin with a passion for helping others. She meets patients where they are and ensures they understand the full spectrum of available end-of-life options in their state.

Barbara: End of Life Washington

After experiencing the loss of her mother to lung cancer, Barbara is committed to educating others about Death with Dignity, ensuring a compassionate end-of-life experience.

Janet and Susan: End of Life Choices California

Janet found her calling in volunteering with End of Life Choices California after witnessing a family friend exercise their right to die. Susan, a consulting pharmacist, has been volunteering since the End of Life Option Act became California law in 2016.

Fighting for the right to Death with Dignity

Tony: Florida Death with Dignity

Tony, a dedicated volunteer advocate, is determined to make Florida the next state to pass Death with Dignity laws, fueled by the suffering he has witnessed in his loved ones.

Mary: Arizona End-of-Life Options

The suffering of her husband, who had limited available choices at the end of his life, has inspired Mary’s efforts. Now, she fights for Arizonans to have dignified end-of-life options.

Tom: New Hampshire Alliance for End of Life Options

Tom believes that passing Death with Dignity laws in New Hampshire would provide terminally ill individuals with a compassionate and peaceful option at the end of life.

American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying (ACAMAID) Ethics Panel

Volunteers from the American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying’s Ethics Consultation Service provide vital support in helping practitioners navigate the ethical considerations surrounding physician-assisted death.

The need for dedicated hospice volunteers has grown

With volunteer numbers still lagging due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospice volunteers remain steadfast in their commitment to providing vital support to terminally ill patients and their families. Learn how to become a hospice volunteer here: Hospice Foundation.

Witnessing the dedication of these selfless individuals inspires us all. For those eager to make a difference, explore our Volunteer Toolkit to learn how you can get involved in making Death with Dignity possible in your state.