Happy New Year to all our True Dignity friends!
One of the most impressive people we had the pleasure to meet in 2014 was Maggie Karner. You may remember Maggie from her heartfelt video message to Brittany Maynard, asking Brittany to reconsider her choice to commit assisted suicide. Maggie was diagnosed with the same glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer as Brittany Maynard. She was diagnosed last April. Her doctor has not given her a timeline or an “expiration date.” Her doctor, unlike Brittany Maynard’s, refuses to speculate on her because she is an individual, a unique human being.
Maggie is an ideal individual to speak on the Brittany Maynard story because she shared the same diagnosis as Brittany. However, when I heard her speak in November, she had an unexpected message.
“Don’t you ever let anyone tell you you can’t have an opinion about something because you haven’t experienced it,” she said. She discussed how society promotes the idea that we cannot “judge” someone with a different opinion unless we have experienced exactly what they have. “We are only allowed to have an opinion if we’ve walked in someone’s shoes,” she explained.
However in the case of assisted suicide and Brittany Maynard, Compassion and Choices has taken her case to the public and tried to apply it to all of us. “This affects all of society, and your voice matters,” Maggie said.
It is critical that we all speak out, and continue to speak out. Let’s resolve in 2015 to make it a priority to continue speaking out against the societal ill of assisted suicide.