What Would You Do?

Two women. Two death sentences. Two choices.

What would you do?

This week has presented two ways of dealing with death. One woman fights. Another relented.

Brittany Maynard was a 29-year-old wife who had traveled the world before the discovery she had terminal brain cancer this year. She was given months to live.

After recently visiting the Grand Canyon – the last item on her bucket list – she returned to Oregon, one of five states where physician-assisted death is permitted, and died.

In a piece for CNN, Brittany explained why she declined medical treatment that could have extended her life:

“After months of research, my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion: There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had left. … Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind. I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months. And my family would have had to watch that.’’

Meanwhile, Lauren Hill fights.

She’s the Mount St. Joseph freshman whose desire to play a collegiate basketball game led the NCAA to move her team’s game up earlier in the season. Originally given two years to live, that diagnosis changed not too long ago after an MRI showed her inoperable brain tumor had grown. She was told she had until December.

Lauren has dealt with the pain from her disease and the fear of losing her life to make sure she could play in the basketball game. The event was moved to a 10,000-seat arena because so many people wanted to support her.

In a video piece with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi, Lauren explained why she continues to live: “Pediatric cancer is underfunded. I remember being in an appointment and my doctor saying that pediatric brain cancer needed a face. That’s kind of why I’m going after this game.’’

When the game was over, she was asked about her first and last collegiate game. She said she viewed it only as her first collegiate game, hoping to play again.

Fight or relent.

If we are in such a position as Brittany or Lauren, no decision will be bigger. It’s hard to imagine ever having to face such a decision. I don’t know what I’d do.

What would you do?


2 thoughts on “What Would You Do?

  1. Jeanne Vrabel

    Wow. I’d read both of these stories & never noticed the similarities – and one huge difference – between these women. Personally, I’d like to think I’d fight ’til the end. But I would never, ever want my family to have to watch me suffer. Or make those decisions for me. Great post, Dustin!



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