HomeoldA Genuine Profile in Courage: Maggie Karner, RIP

A Genuine Profile in Courage: Maggie Karner, RIP

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On the nineteenth day prior to her suicide on November 1, 2014, Brittany Maynard recorded a video in which she demanded that California legislators endorse assisted suicide. This was an enormous public relations coup for Compassion & Choices. However, it was not the only video Mrs. Maynard recorded.

In response to a prior video, Maggie Karner, who, like Brittany, suffered from a deadly brain cancer, posted a YouTube video encouraging Brittany to choose life for as long as she could. This was posted just two days before Mrs. Maynard was “assisted” in her suicide.
The video can be viewed here.

Another video, in which Mrs. Karner discusses her personal circumstances.
Dr. Karner passed away on Friday at the Connecticut Hospice in Branford.

Open Letter to Brittany Maynard

Dear Brittany,
My name is Maggie Karner. I reside in Connecticut, and, like many Americans, I viewed your distressing video. As I observed it, my tears swiftly transformed into sobs, as I realized that we share a commonality: I was also diagnosed with a glioblastoma grade IV brain tumor this past spring. Consequently, your video resonated with me profoundly. The previous night, I was unable to sleep, prompting me to compose this letter to you.

Dear Brittany, I can relate to your situation. I am a strong woman, just like you, and I understand the fear you are facing. The predictions of what will happen, the loss of control, and even the name of the tumor sound ominous today as they did when I first heard that word in the doctor’s office. Brain cancer is a significant concern. It is a malevolent entity that lurks in the shadows, biding its time until it can pounce and steal more of our faculties, our everyday joys, and our very lives.

It is important to recognize that death is also a significant loss. It separates us from the people and passions that we hold most dear. The recent death of Robin Williams, for instance, prompted a profound sense of shock and remembrance across the globe. The world experienced a profound loss of beauty and joy on that day.

Brittany, if you choose to end your life, the world will once again experience a similar loss. It is, in fact, unclear whether this world can afford further public losses, given the prevalence of death and destruction in the world around us. The presence of individuals like yourself is, therefore, of great importance. It is imperative that you do not allow cancer to take any more of your life than it requires.

Your video has been viewed by millions of people around the world. Every day, millions of people, including myself, are praying for your peace and healing. The video has prompted a collective sense of loss and pain among the general public. As a nation, we are all walking alongside you in this difficult journey. There is no judgment, but there is a keen observation.

The popularity of your video has led to the perception that you are on the verge of making a significant change. When faced with such a situation in real life, we attempt to engage with the individual in question and dissuade them from taking the leap. Our objective is to convey the value of their contributions and to demonstrate the potential for a more constructive outcome. One might inquire as to the implications of a society that would encourage a person contemplating suicide to embrace their decision. What would be the societal implications of such an act?

In light of this, I am compelled to implore you, Brittany, to reconsider your decision. I urge you to remain with us for as long as possible. This is merely an attempt on my part to persuade you to reconsider your decision to jump. Do not allow the arbitrary date to influence your decision. You are strong.

An alternative proposal is as follows: On November 1st, you and I will endeavour to maximise the quality of our lives and extend the duration of our lives as much as possible. It is possible that we may be able to participate in a research trial that could lead to a cure for us or others. In the interim, we can invest our time in cherished relationships.

When I was a young woman, just a few years older than you, my father suffered a severe accident that severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the neck down. My siblings and I were profoundly affected by the profound uncertainty that was before us. For five months before his death, my father was cared for by dedicated hospice workers. During those months, our family had the opportunity to spend time with my father, which was a precious experience. He was unable to perform any physical tasks, but he was able to communicate. In fact, I had never had such an intimate and candid conversation with my father before those days.

My siblings and I learned more about ourselves and each other than we ever could have learned in any other way. We grew as a family and we learned about sacrifice and love. Each of us became wiser and better people through that whole experience. Therefore, it can be said that my father gave us a gift through this experience. Brittany, I request that you permit your family to provide care for you during your cancer treatment.

Like you, Brittany, I am apprehensive. I am aware of the potential outcomes, including the possibility of my own mortality. However, we have not yet exhausted the full potential of our lives. Therefore, Brittany, I urge you not to abandon us. Let us choose to live as long as we have the opportunity to do so.

L’chaim. (To life.)


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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