Two years ago we supported two people with their choice to Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED). With a renewed focus on VSED this last year, we were able to support 12 people with VSED.

Did our support for VSED limit the number of people who accessed medical aid-in-dying (MAiD)? No. With the commitment, time, and talent of many volunteer medical and client advisors, more clients were served than ever before.

Did our focus on VSED and MAiD keep us from declaring our support for psilocybin therapy as a palliative care option for seriously ill Washingtonians? No. As we participate in the conversation to include the treatment of anxiety and depression associated with a terminal illness, we improve the quality of choice for all.

Our challenge as a community of supporters and advocates for end-of-life choices is to embrace a reality where we invest in improving current efforts while also making room for emergent ideas, strategies, and needs. Our history and service models enable us to be like other successful movements, such as the HIV/AIDS movement of the 1980’s and 90’s or the current Black Lives Matter movement. These movements have a compelling common goal that guides a variety of pathways to that goal.

Choice and death are so very personal. Our role isn’t to limit people’s options, but to build strong support networks that embrace choice and well-being in our final days. This next year, you will see us fight for increased access for MAiD and for other choices, such as VSED and psilocybin in all parts of the state. You will see us make adjustments to center the end-of-life experiences of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). I hope you join us.

You are essential to our efforts and I hope you continue finding your place in this movement. Together, let’s imagine and work toward a world where access to medical aid-in-dying is normal, Washingtonians are aware of their end-of-life choices, and we support each other at regional and statewide levels.

Thank you! Let me close by inviting you to also support our work financially. Your personal donations are the fuel that keeps us running. Our services are free, and we’re responding to our changing world because individuals like you support us through personal donations.

Thank you for making a personally meaningful, tax-deductible gift to us today.

In the spirit of community,

Judy Kinney

To read the previous article, “Kreidler Brothers Advocate for Greater Access to Physician Aid-In-Dying,” click here

To read the next article, “Increasing Access to Aid in Dying,” click here.