Shortly after my Mom- 90, a California resident, emailed ( with child like spellings)from 3,000 miles away(New England) to say she felt like her head had opened up and everything she ever knew had flown out of it, that she was in big trouble and did not know what to do,(she ALWAYS knew what to do) she started asking for help to end her life.
She was an extremely competent, confident ,accomplished person whose entire self identity and worth was experiencing herself as a competent contributing person.
In our search for information and help, my brother and I first connected to Compassion and Choices in Washington state where he lives.
They were helpful compassionate listeners , sharing information but not pushing an agenda other than to answer our questions and suggest resources.
As we traveled along with Mom on her journey of diminished cognitive ability she never stopped realizing what was happening to her or begging for help to choose her exit time.
She was emphatic that she did not want to be at the point of "wetting the bed and not recognizing her own children". In the end at age 92 (and under hospice care) she was 'saved' from this outcome by a a diminishing heart rate that allowed her to be spared from the longer decline into loss of her own identity and self that dementia suffers can experience.
In honor of her life (and lack of choice at its end) I have been a supporter of Compassion and Choices. They are doing a remarkable job of educating people and working on legislation to give people the choices for death with dignity that are wanted.
I have found CC to be excellent at keeping donors informed of what is happening. I do not feel that they hit me up for donations each time I make one as with some organizations but rather that we are on a mutual journey to accomplish introduction of legislation and passage of choices for people if they want /need them during the last chapter of their lives. California's new law was not in time for my Mom but I celebrate it on her behalf and look for more states to offer compassion and choice including my own.
The people in this organization are very bright, passionate, and compassionate. I've worked with many non-profits, and none compare to the group of people who make up Compassion & Choices....they are so helpful, go out of their way to appreciate volunteers, donors, and handle inquiries brilliantly. Seriously, don't give it another thought....they are the best at what they do, are responsible and dedicated. They set a very high bar for any other non-profit. Joan Hoberman
C&C is a tremendously successful lobbying organization. It deserves most of the credit for getting death-with-dignity legislation enacted in California last year - in a special session of the legislature, bypassing all committees. I am a California lawyer and had judged this feat to be impossible. Barbara Combs-Lee, the president, and Dan Diaz are truly extraordinary spokespersons.
I cannot share this group's enthusiasm for death. There are too many people in this world who need encouragement to live, not to kill themselves.
I learned about this organization when I was looking for a group that deals with my concerns about having a choice about how I might die. I have had many exchanges with the staff , and I have started working with a group in Clearwater FL. I think these issues are extremely important, and I like the thoughtful, caring way this organization approaches them.
I learned about this organization thru one of its staff--Jared Hughes. As a result of his sincere and knowledgeable presentation of the facts surrounding one's choices over end of life issues, I was blown away and quite overcome with enthusiasm for the mission of this distinguished group. I will never again look at end of life in the way that I did before. Now, when I meet others who are wrestling with similar issues, I point them to your website and repeat what I learned from Jared--with the utmost conviction in my heart. Yours is a vital and critically important organization--I'm so glad that you exist.
I first got involved with Compassion & Choices (then Compassion In Dying) when my mom was ill, about 10 years ago. I was so impressed with the support she received that I decided to volunteer on the local board, where I am now co-chair of the board.
My first introduction to the board members of Compassion and Choices of Northern California was most impressive. Having served on boards where the sole function was fund-raising and their sole goal was to have good times raising those funds...I immediately knew that C&C was different.
Not only the doctors on the board, but the health professionals and people (like myself) with no letters after their names, were deeply passionate about the cause. Their goal was to actually help people in distress (free of charge) as well as to spread the word that help was available, and one didn't have to die a painful, undignified, horrible death.
I saw that happen with my parents and I realize the unnecessary agony they endured. How wonderful that end-of-life choice is today a reality, and available to so many who would otherwise suffer needlessly.
I counsel clients of Compassion & Choices. They are self referred to the local chapter. I engage clients to explore their choices for medical care when they know they have only a few months to live. Their legal options include some that are not normally discussed by Hospice or their physician. I join my fellow volunteers on monthly phone conferences where politics, the law, and state and federal legislation is clarified. My only role in the Compassion and Choices organization is to promote autonomy and liberty for personal choices of medical care at the end of life.
My "honest and candid" experience has been nothing but positive. I'm uncertain exactly how we came in contact with Compassion & Choices. But I am certain it was a great thing that we did. Very few organizations are able to combine on the ground assistance to individuals and families in time of needs with pressing a legislative agenda and on the ground grass roots organizing. Somehow C & C manages all these things, with grace, punch and political savvy. They were helpful to me personally as my father was dying, and have been helpful in providing clear leadership in the step by step process of helping to bring ordinary folks and legislatures to understand the importance of being permitted to die with dignity. Several of my closest friends have gone through drawn out, terminal, end-of-lives. Some were lucky enough to have persons and family to help them make choices and have the ability to carry them out. Others were not so lucky, and suffered pain, indignity, and the misfortune of being trapped in hospitals when all they wished for was to die at home in the company of friends and family and with the comforts of a lifetime of nesting around them. Compassion fights at all levels to help people handle what is perhaps the most difficult time they will face. I give them every star I am permitted to give, and more.