Early this year, however, Maynard was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. After less than 18 months of marriage, she was told she had six months to live. Now, Maynard, husband Dan Diaz and her mother, Debbie Ziegler, have relocated to Oregon, where Maynard says she'll end her life most likely on Nov. 1, shortly after Diaz's birthday on Oct. 26.
"There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had left," Maynard wrote in a blog post for CNN.com. Uprooting her life and establishing residency in Oregon, where it is legal for doctors to prescribe life-ending medication, was a wrenching process, but Maynard said having the necessary medications to end her life has brought peace of mind.
"I've had the medication for weeks," Maynard wrote. "I am not suicidal. If I were, I would have consumed that medication long ago. I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms."
Maynard went public with her story to support the "death with dignity" movement and to lobby for right-to-die legislation in the 45 states that don't support it now. Washington, Montana, New Mexico and Vermont also have right-to-die provisions.
Maynard explained her decision in a YouTube video that has received over 3.5 million views so far.
While Maynard has her supporters, a fellow victim of cancer, 36-year-old Kara Tippetts of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is urging her not to preempt her natural demise. Tippetts says her breast cancer has "passed the blood/brain barrier" and metastasized throughout her body, and that she, too, does not have long to live.