Brittany Maynard Realizes a Wish: Inside Her Emotional Trip to the Grand Canyon
Maynard had her "worst seizure" so far on the trip, leaving her unable to speak for a while afterward
After being told she had about six months to live in April, Brittany Maynard, who has terminal brain cancer, has been quietly checking off items on her bucket list.
She and her husband, Dan Diaz, travelled to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; she kayaked up to the glaciers in Alaska with her best friend, then met her mother, Debbie Ziegler, in Juneau, where they took “a spectacular boat trip,” Maynard, 29, says in a video posted online on Oct. 6.
“Before I pass, I’m hoping to make it to the Grand Canyon ’cause I’ve never been,” she says in the video, which she used to launch her campaign with Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life advocacy organization, to get Death with Dignity laws passed nationwide.
“It’s her last hurrah,” Ziegler, 56, told PEOPLE in a recent interview.
Earlier this week, that dream became a reality, Maynard said in an exclusive statement to PEOPLE.
“This week my family and I travelled to the Grand Canyon, thanks to the kindness of Americans around the country who came forward to make my ‘bucket list’ dream come true,” she wrote.
“The Canyon was breathtakingly beautiful and I was able to enjoy my time with the two things I love most: my family and nature,” she wrote.
“Sadly, it is impossible to forget my cancer,” she wrote. “Severe headaches and neck pain are never far away, and unfortunately the next morning I had my worst seizure thus far. My speech was paralyzed for quite a while after I regained consciousness and the feeling of fatigue continued for the rest of the day.
“The seizure was a harsh reminder that my symptoms continue to worsen as the tumor runs its course,” she said in the statement.
“However, I find meaning and take pride that the Compassion & Choices movement is accelerating rapidly, thanks to supporters like you,” she continued.
“I ask that you please continue to support C&C’s state-by-state efforts to make death with dignity laws available to all Americans,” she wrote. “My dream is that every terminally ill American have access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity.
“Please take an active role to make this a reality,” she wrote. “The person you’re helping may be someone you love, or even in the future, yourself.”
Maynard and her husband, mother and stepfather, Gary Holmes, moved to Oregon in June so she could get access to the state’s Death with Dignity Act.
Though she set Nov. 1 as a tentative date to end her life, she’s always made it clear the date is not set in stone and she will make the decision based on the progression of her disease.