People Exclusive

Terminally Ill Brittany Maynard: Why I'm Ending My Life in Less Than Three Weeks

Terminally Ill Brittany Maynard: Why I'm Ending My Life in Less Than Three Weeks
Brittany Maynard

10/15/2014 AT 08:00 AM EDT

Born with the soul of an adventurer and the heart of a warrior, Brittany Maynard has been ice climbing in Ecuador and kayaking in Patagonia and has cared for orphans in Nepal.

But there's one place she'd still like to see – the Grand Canyon.

"We're going to try," Debbie Ziegler, 56, Maynard's mother, tells PEOPLE. "It's her last hurrah."

Maynard, 29, has terminal brain cancer and has made plans to end her own life with the sedative Secobarbitol on Nov. 1 if her suffering becomes too much to handle.

"I don't want to die but I am dying," Maynard tells PEOPLE in a new interview. "My [cancer] is going to kill me, and it's a terrible, terrible way to die. So to be able to die with my family with me, to have control over my own mind, which I would stand to lose – to go with dignity is less terrifying."

Maynard, her mother, stepfather, Gary Holmes, and husband, Dan Diaz, moved to Portland, Oregon, four months ago so Maynard could get access to the state's Death with Dignity Act.

On Oct. 6, Maynard, a former teacher, launched an online video campaign with Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life advocacy organization, to fight for nationwide access to the law.

For more about Brittany Maynard's decision to die, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands Friday

Want more stories like this?

Sign up for our newsletter and other special offers:

sign me up

Thank you for signing up!

blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners