Giving Thanks

The dictionary describes the word ‘thanksgiving’ as follows:

“the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of  

benefits or favors… expression of thanks….”

Each of us always looks forward to Thanksgiving, and loves spending hours with family gathered around the dinner table.  We also try to find time to sit quietly and think about all the things important to us for which we are grateful.  We try to do this on a regular basis anyway, but find Thanksgiving to be an especially poignant time to do this again.

We want to share with you a story that makes us especially grateful for the End of Life Option Act and for all those who played a role in making medical aid in dying a reality here in California.

Recently, as a Client Advocate Volunteer for End of Life Choices California (EOLCCA), Judy was invited to be present at the death of one of our clients. She was a woman in her early 50’s with end-stage ovarian cancer – whom we will call Sharon to protect her identity. Sharon lived with her illness for almost five years. But it took a turn for the worse this summer, metastasized rapidly and could no longer be remediated.  She knew she was dying and her pain had become unbearable.  She chose to access life-ending medication through the End of Life Option Act in California so that she could control the time and place of her death, and die peacefully with her loved ones around her.

Here, at End of Life Choices California,

We are thankful for the thousands of donors and activists who lobbied so passionately, the compassionate California legislators who proposed and ultimately passed, and Governor Jerry Brown who signed the California End of Life Option Act into law.

We are thankful that Sharon’s compassionate oncologist and physicians understood her situation and were willing to prescribe life-ending medication that she could have available should her suffering become unbearable.

We are thankfulthat Sharon’s family was able to contact EOLCCA and ask us to help them navigate the process and be present if she ultimately decided to ingest the medication.

We are thankful to our donors that EOLCCA could provide a knowledgeable volunteer to be there to support Sharon and her family.

The day she chose to ingest the medication, Sharon was in her own bed, surrounded by her three grown children, her sister, and her sweetheart. They sang to her, prayed with her, told her they loved her.  After she had taken the medication and fell into a deep sleep with her service dog faithfully by her side, she died peacefully as her family continued to sing to her and tell her how much they loved her.

We are thankful that Sharon and her family were afforded this serene and humane opportunity to say their goodbyes. What a gift for her and for them.

We are thankful every day for the financial support from EOLCCA’s donors that enables us to provide support and reassurance to people like Sharon and her family during such a vulnerable time.

To continue our vital work, and help others like Sharon and her family,
we are counting on your generous support.

GivingTuesday is taking place just after Thanksgiving on December 3.  We hope you will ensure that EOLCCA volunteers can help others like Sharon by making a donation to support our work here on that special day.  Thank you!

Best wishes for a Thanksgiving holiday filled with all the people and things for which you give thanks.

With gratitude,

Judy, Karen, Claudia & Lynne

End of Life Choices California offers information and non-judgmental personal support to anyone seeking help managing end-of-life care planning or decision-making in California.  Please visit  To speak with one of our volunteers, please call 760-636-8009 or email us at  All our services are free of charge.

If you would like to support the mission of
End of Life Choices California,
please click below and learn more about
our funding needs.   
Thank you!