Securing Freedom at the End of Life


Photo © Courtesy of Compassion and Choices | Medical Aid in Dying

Urge New York Legislature to Allow Dying New Yorkers to End Needless Suffering

On April 27, we participated with other families in a candle-lighting ceremony in Albany to commemorate the 22 advocates who have died while urging the New York legislature to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act. Our daughter, Ayla Rain Eilert, 24, was the youngest and most recently deceased advocate honored at the event. Before her diagnosis of tongue cancer last September, Ayla was living her dream as a ballet dancer in Manhattan.

On April 2, despite receiving the best treatment and palliative care available, Ayla died in agony. Without the one end-of-life care option that she begged for, medical aid in dying, what should have been a peaceful death became hell. For hours before Ayla died, she was clawing at her neck, crying, whimpering, convulsing. No parent should have to witness their child pointlessly suffer while begging for help. No loved one should have to relive that trauma.

Tragically, for six years the New York legislature has failed to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act,¹ even though most New Yorkers² and most New York physicians support it.³ Inaction is causing harm. For the sake of the dying, their loved ones who keep their memory, and the medical professionals who treat them, we pray that the New York legislature passes the Medical Aid in Dying Act giving options and agency to those who need one last act of compassion.

Thank you for your compassion.
— Amy & Daren Eilert

1) Bill Summary, New York Medical Aid in Dying Act (A. 4321A/S. 6471). Accessed at:
2) Marist Poll of 822 New York State Adults, October 2021. Accessed at:
3) WebMD Survey of New York Physicians, November 2018. Accessed at:

medical aid in dying
Ayla clawing at neck © Photo Courtesy of Compassion & Choices
Ayla a year before her diagnosis in Hawaii © Photo Courtesy of Compassion & Choices

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Envisioning a society that affirms life and accepts the inevitability of death, Compassion & Choices is working to empower people on their end-of-life journey.


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