Terminally Ill Mother Says She’s “Inspired” by Brittany Maynard, Wants to Kill Herself Too

National   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Mar 6, 2015   |   5:57PM   |   Washington, DC

In California, a woman with Stage IV lung adenocarcinoma has been “inspired” by Brittany Maynard and wants to end her life by committing suicide. Christy O’Donnell, a 46-year-old lawyer, went to the emergency room after something strange happened when she was reading legal documents. She said, “Every third or fourth word, I knew what the letters were but I could not figure out cognitively what the words meant.”

A few hours later, O’Donnell and her 20-year-old daughter, Bailey Donorovich found out that she had a golf-ball size tumor in her lung and three in her brain.

O’Donnell said, “Bailey grabbed my hand and I just started crying and said, ‘I’m so sorry. What I was really saying was, ‘I’m so sorry I’m going to die and leave you without a mom.’ ” Unfortunately, later that week doctors gave her grim news: she had six month to live.

But thanks to chemotherapy and radiation she’s already outlived that diagnosis however; she still wants to die by committing suicide.

She said, “My doctor has tried to get me into every clinical trial there is. There is not anything medically we have not explored. So it is not like I haven’t exhausted all my options. My opinion is an informed one.”

According to PEOPLE magazine, her doctor told her she is likely to die by “drowning in her own fluids” from her lung cancer. She added, “I think it’s a terrible injustice that I don’t have the choice to die in the manner I want to and instead that I’m forced to very likely die in protracted pain and I might even die alone.”

O’Donnell’s daughter supports her mother and wishes she could die the way she wants. Bailey said, “The doctors told us that her passing will be painful. It’s not something I want to see.” In California, “right to die” legislation has been introduced but hearings on the bill won’t begin until March 25th.

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O’Donnell says she, too, thought about moving to Oregon but did not want to disrupt Bailey, who attends college in Pasadena, California, has a full-time job – with benefits – at PetSmart and has friends and family close by.

After making sure there are no legal loopholes that would allow her to die the way she wants to in California, O’Donnell decided to go public with her story. She also reached out to Compassion & Choices, the advocacy group Maynard partnered with to launch her campaign for right-to-die laws nationwide last October.

O’Donnell said she decided to campaign for the law after her doctor told her she most likely wouldn’t live to see Bailey’s 21st birthday on June 23 – the reason she’s been fighting to stay alive. She and Bailey have been planning a trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas for the past five years to celebrate the milestone. O’Donnell’s aunt and uncle and brother and sister-in-law are supposed to go as well.

“Our plan has always been that, if it were legal in California, I would do her birthday trip then I would have chosen physician-aided death on July 1,” she says. “I’m sad and upset that’s not a possibility.”

Bailey calls her each day before she comes home, she says. “You want to know why?” O’Donnell says. “She wants to make sure I’m alive before she gets home. And she always gets so excited to hear my voice. It’s like, ‘Oh, thank God. My mom’s not dead.’ So who should have to go through that, right?”


In October 2014, terminally ill cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, became the face of the assisted suicide movement in our country. Brittany had stage IV glioblastoma multiforme, which is the most deadly form of brain cancer and was given six-months to live.

After her diagnosis, Brittany decided to move from her California home to Oregon so she could have access to lethal drugs to use to take her life. Oregon is one of five states, along with New Mexico, Montana, Washington, and Vermont that allow assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Tragically, on November 2nd, Brittany legally ended her own life.

Before her untimely death, countless people, including other terminal cancer patients, tried to contact Brittany and ask her to reconsider her decision to commit suicide.

For example, Kara Tippets, who’s currently in hospice care, wrote her and pleaded, “But in my whispering, pleading, loving voice dear heart- will you hear my heart ask you, beg you, plead with you  not to take that pill. Yes, your dying will be hard, but it will not be without beauty. Will you please trust me with that truth?

Tippets and others like her didn’t lack compassion for Brittany; rather, they believe that suicide is not the answer to their suffering. Ultimately, as LifeNews previously reported, proponents of assisted suicide offer a stark – and false – choice between terrible suffering or committing suicide with prescription drugs, when hospice and palliative care offer a proven and widely available alternative.