NEW YORK, Jan. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee this week will join Brittany Maynard's widower, Dan Diaz, and his brother, Adrian Diaz, for the Diaz family's first interviews since Brittany utilized Oregon's death-with-dignity law on Nov. 1.
Some of the interviews will air Wed., Jan. 14, on the nationally syndicated The Meredith Vieira Show, The TODAY Show (aired at 7:40am), MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, and will be posted on NBC.com. The other interviews will appear in Jan. 26 issue of PEOPLE Magazine that hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles on Wed., Jan. 14, and newsstands nationwide on Fri., Jan. 16, and be posted on PEOPLE.com, and PEOPLE's daily online morning show, PEOPLENow.com.
Sneak previews of the PEOPLE and The Meredith Vieira Show (TMVS) interviews are available now at http://www.people.com/article/brittany-maynard-husband-dan-diaz-keeping-promise and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCKjtIOQjF8 , respectively. More TMVS interview highlights of The Meredith Vieira Show will be available online this afternoon at www.meredithvieirashow.com.
Coombs Lee and the Diaz brothers will ask death-with-dignity supporters to contact their state legislators via www.TheBrittanyFund.org and urge them to support bills to give mentally competent, terminally ill adults the option to access the medical practice of aid in dying. Compassion & Choices has been working with California Senators Lois Wolk and Bill Monning and New York Senator Diane Savino to draft and introduce death-with-dignity bills this month. The bills would authorize dying adults to obtain a doctor's prescription for medication that they can choose to take if their suffering becomes unbearable in their final days.
In addition, lawmakers have pledged to introduce similar bills in Washington, DC, and at least 11 states: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Brittany's story also is galvanizing Compassion & Choices campaigns in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.
"She wanted to become an advocate so that other people would not have to leave their home state," Coombs Lee told The TODAY Show. "Every video that Brittany posted had an enormous impact on the public. They were tweeted and shared and Facebooked all across the world. She was able to connect with people in a very personal way."
"Dan is Brittany's legacy made visible," Coombs Lee told PEOPLE. "We couldn't do it without him."
"This is the moment for action to advance death-with-dignity," said Coombs Lee following the interviews. "Brittany Maynard recognized the injustice that the vast majority of American adults would have to leave their home state to access aid in dying. We can honor her memory by helping Brittany's family fulfill her mission to make aid in dying an accessible medical practice for every adult in the United States, from California to New York."
Americans believe, by a record 5-to-1 margin, (74% support vs. 14% oppose) that terminally ill adults – in their final days and with no chance for recovery – should have the option of aid in dying to end their suffering, according to a HealthDay/Harris Poll released last month. Currently, only Oregon and four other states authorize aid in dying: Washington, Montana, Vermont, and New Mexico.
"My preference would be not to be in front of any cameras," Dan Diaz told PEOPLE. "But this was one thing Brittany had asked, that we make it a reality in California. I want to keep my promise to her."
"You don't want to let go of your loved one," Dan told The Meredith Vieira Show. "But to suggest that she should suffer for me, for anyone, no. Here's the person I love and I don't want to see her go, but the seizure that morning [Nov. 1] was a reminder of what she was risking because what was coming next was losing her eyesight, becoming paralyzed, inability to speak and she'd be essentially trapped in her own body."
"It truly was the most peaceful experience that you could ever hope for when you talk about a person's passing," Dan told The TODAY Show. "The suffering and…the torment and everything she had gone through…that was finally lifted."
American physicians believe by a 23-percent margin (54% vs. 31%) that adults with an "incurable and terminal" disease should have the medical option of aid in dying, according to a recent online survey conducted by Medscape of 17,000 U.S. doctors representing 28 medical specialties.
"She [Brittany] planned everything out," Adrian told The TODAY Show. "She wanted specific people in that room for her which she called it a ring of love. If I were sick the way she was I would wanna die in my sleep."
CONTACT: Sean Crowley, 202.495.8520-c, [email protected]
SOURCE Compassion & Choices