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Welcome to our first newsletter!
August 2021
Its purpose is simple:
- to keep you informed of news / information related to our growth
- to provide education about medical aid in dying
- to provide progress updates on legislative actions
- to identify ways in which you can help

How Florida Death with Dignity (FLDWD) started

Having always believed that there has to be a better way concerning how people die and the lack of openness about death in America, I happened across the Death with Dignity website. Enrolling in the Dignity 50 Roadmap Series led to meeting Valerie Lovelace, Statewide Campaigns Director, Death with Dignity National Center (DDNC). With guidance from DDNC, I accepted the challenge to organize and lead a grassroots movement to educate Floridians and work towards legislation for medical aid in dying. The group Florida Death with Dignity was founded in November 2020 and is an all-volunteer, independent, non-political, non-sectarian organization.  Tony Ray, Founder FLDWD

Progress to date

Currently 10 states have Medical Aid In Dying (MAID) laws; some for decades. There are more than 20 other states working toward legislation. In Florida there has been very little momentum in that direction until now. While a vast majority of Floridians favor medical aid in dying there has never been an organized effort to work toward a law. In 2019 former Senator Kevin Radar introduced a bill, unfortunately due to the Covid pandemic it was tabled and not pursued in 2020. This bill was submitted based upon a request from a constituent. 

Our goal is to educate the public about MAID, build a strong network of advocates voicing their support, and work with the Florida State Legislature to get a Medical Aid in Dying law for Florida.

With Val’s help and mentoring we have started to achieve real growth in Florida. Since the beginning of November 2020 we have put into action our game plan and started the outreach and education needed to energize a statewide grassroots movement. 

To-date, the group has 280 members and is active on social media. We have educated more than 300 participants in several Zoom presentations, and built a contact management database of all Florida legislators. We mapped Florida into 7 regions; filled 2 of the 7 Florida Regional Director positions and gained several volunteers to participate on the 6 different committees. 

Behind the scenes, we are redesigning the website, building an education resource toolbox for volunteers to access, and finding the right people to fill our board of directors, committees and regional leadership positions. The group is actively looking for more volunteers to fill both leadership and non-leadership positions. Contact us at volunteer.fldwd@gmail.com for more information.

Florida qualifies for grant from Death with Dignity National Center

Every year, Death with Dignity National Center (DDNC) awards grants to grassroots advocacy organizations through their State Leadership Incubator program. In May 2021, DDNC announced awards from the Dignity50 Grant Fund to Florida and four other states. Organizations were selected based on proposals submitted by a representative from each state outlining how they would use their funds to support their activities.

Florida Death with Dignity developed a proposal which resulted in a $5,000.00 grant. These funds from DDNC will allow our organization to make great strides in education and promoting of medical aid in dying in Florida. Our goals in 2021 are to build an organizational infrastructure, increase our social media presence, educate the public, and create a statewide network of advocates.

Visit our website www.floridadeathwithdignity.org for more information. Note…we are currently redesigning our website…stay tuned for updates. 

Here is a link to the Death with Dignity National Center (DDNC) newsletter, Florida Death with Dignity is highlighted on pages 7&8.  Read Death with Dignity's Spring/Summer 2021 Newsletter - Death With Dignity

Lucas's Personal Story


"A terminal diagnosis qualified my wife, Dee, for Medical Aid in Dying. We quickly made plans to travel out of state to Colorado where DWD is legal. Unfortunately, time ran out due to her rapid decline. A Florida law would have made it possible for her to avoid prolonged suffering allowing her to die peacefully in familiar surroundings." Lucas Century
Share your story -- Here's how...
The power of a personal story goes well beyond simply relaying facts and data. They add color, depth and credibility, and help people connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.
If you are a supporter of Medical Aid In Dying, then it's likely that you have experienced an event in your life that prompted your support.  If so, we would love to hear about your experience.  If you have questions or a story idea, simply drop an email note to newsletter.fldwd@gmail.com and let's get started. 

Education Corner

What is medical aid in dying (MAID)?

MAID is an end-of-life option that allows certain eligible individuals with a terminal illness to legally request and obtain medications to end their life in a peaceful, humane, and dignified manner at a time of their own choosing. 

How does one qualify for MAID?

- Adult must be a state resident.
- Mentally competent, i.e. capable of making and communicating your healthcare decisions.
- Diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within 6 months, as confirmed by 2 qualifying healthcare providers.
- Capable of self administering and ingesting medications without assistance.


Quotable Quotes

"Medical aid in dying laws result in less suffering for individuals with a terminal illness".  H.Ray

Call To Action – We need YOU!

As a rapidly growing grassroots movement we have many needs which translates into opportunities for volunteers who have the time, motivation and skills that will help in our growth. Even 15 minutes/week will help!

We are looking for volunteers to help with:
  • Our quarterly newsletter.  Give us your ideas, content, your stories.
  • Researching opportunities:  identify organizations and groups who are interested in an online presentation, speaking and/or tabling events about our mission.  We have identified the types of groups receptive to medical aid in dying; we need you to contact them via emails / online web contact forms using scripts we have developed. The goal is to get as many groups scheduled as possible so we can further educate the public, and increase our membership. We offer training and guidelines.
  • Promoting our Facebook presence along with creating a presence on Twitter and other social media platforms.
  • Are you a natural leader? Review several of our available leadership positions.  Contact us at volunteer.fldwd@gmail.com and let’s discuss a win-win relationship benefiting the organization.  We provide guidance and how-to directions with a wealth of educational resources for your usage.

Thank YOU!

Without YOU we would not be making the rapid growth in our membership.  Thanks for joining our grassroots movement - your interest and participation will help in achieving the ultimate goal of a Medical Aid In Dying law for all Floridians.

I am always available to answer questions, and provide guest speakers for your group(s). You may contact me at tr.fldwd@gmail.com.

Sincerely,
Tony Ray

 
Copyright © 2021 FL Death with Dignity, All rights reserved.


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