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Carlin

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Compassion & Choices
March 16, 2009

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.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

passage of legislation to protect either physician-assisted suicide for terminal patients, or right-to-know legislation permitting or requiring physicians to inform patients about end of life options.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to get a local chapter going in Manhattan; see if death and dying could link to the local CLUs as a civil rights issue, and tap into their existing chapter structure.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how absolutely committed its members are, yet not the least bit preachy or pushy. How energetic and inclusive they are. How much, in dealing with issues surrounding death, they are full of life.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

all sorts, and from all over the country, yet similarly kind, attentive, and personal, and all the while working hard.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Send volunteers into every state to educate and build strong coalitions, perhaps even strong enough to pass national legislation one day. They could also help broaden the individual educational work they do with families throughout the country.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to spend with folks when they come to town, and more time to familiar myself with the issues.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the growth it is experiencing as more and more bills passes, litigation occurs, and members join.

One thing I'd also say is that...

the staff are the most dedicated and well-versed in their subjects that I've met, and I am extremely impressed with the legal committee, and overall leadership. I'd like to see the development of more paid legal staff.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Professional with expertise in this field & Joined the legal committee to help others gain access to Choice by passing legislation in states other than Oregon and Washington. I am also a donor and client.