Looking for a specific subject?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Our Blog Has Moved

The redesign of our new website now has our complete blog integrated right into it.

This blog will not be maintained.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We've made it into The Wellington Advertiser!

Group Plans Challenge to Laws for Right to Die
by David Meyer

Over 70 people were at the Harcourt Church here recently to learn about dying with some dignity.

They heard that the group with the name Dying With Dignity is advocating several changes to laws so that people, for example, do not have to live for years with feeding tubes in them.

Retired clergyman Don Johns said mainstream churches are very conservative when it comes to dying, but he takes a liberal view that people should be able to make their own decisions. He was trained by Death With Dignity.

A wonderful summary or a wonderful meeting we hosted in Guelph, Ontario earlier this month.

If you would be interested in helping us get to your community, or would like a speaker to present at your group, please contact our National Office at info@dyingwithdignity.ca or 1. 800. 495. 6156.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

February 2011 issue of The Voice

Our March 2011 issue of The Voice is ready!

The newest issue of The Voice is complete. This 8 page issue covers a diverse number of subjects, and we are sure you will find all articles to be interesting.

Inside you will find:
‘No Need to Go to Switzerland’, an article that explains how our own Client Support Program can offer you dignity at the end-of-life while working within the current Canadian Laws. (Page 1)

‘Youth: A Fountain of Hope’, a beautifully written story by a DWD Canada member on the experiences by her entire family around her mother’s death. (Page 3)

‘Financial Feature’, is a two-page spread that explains where the organization is sitting financially and the various ways we can all help – you’ll be amazed at how easy some of them are. (Pages 4 and 5)

‘The Political Bullies in America Have Won’ and ‘Victory in Montana’ Two articles on what is happening just to the South of us.  (Page 6 and 7)

And 8 full pages of ever so much more.

As always, we are thankful to our members and supporters who had submitted pieces for this issue. Thank you all so much!

To access the most recent issue of The Voice, please click here.

And remember, all of our past issues of The Voice are available on the New & Noteworthy Section of our website, as well as other downloadable informaiton.

We hope you enjoy the newsletter – we welcome any comments, compliments and feedback.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lives Lived

Evelyn Marie Martens, Canadian Right to Die Activist
Obituary by Russel Ogden

Evelyn Martens of Kelowna, British Columbia died on January 2, 2011.  Evelyn was visiting family and grandchildren in Alberta during the Christmas holiday when she suddenly became ill.  She died at Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton, a week before her 80th birthday.

Evelyn was born on January 10, 1931, in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, during the hardship of the Great Depression.  At the age of 6 her father died, leaving the family destitute.  For high school, Evelyn had one blouse and one skirt, which she washed daily.  In grade 9 she left school to waitress and help support the family.  She later worked in a liquor store and as a secretary.  All of her life she devoted herself to caring for brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren.

Evelyn married Jack Batsch in 1948 and they had one daughter, Millie.  Jack died in war in Korea.  In 1953, Evelyn married Ed Poelzer and together they had 5 children: Ed, Berny, Mark, Bart, and Les.  They divorced in 1976.  Evelyn had 14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren

A turning point for Evelyn was the death of her brother, Cornelius.  He suffered with cancer for 2.5 years and died in 1988.  Evelyn told CBC television’s Fifth Estate that Cornelius died in excruciating pain and that his “bad death” convinced her that there had to be a better way to die.  In 1989, Evelyn moved to Victoria, BC, to join her daughter Berny.

By 1994 Evelyn was a Regional Advisor to the Right to Die Society of Canada.  She later became membership director, provided member-support, and she participated actively in NuTech research for improved methods for self-deliverance.  Evelyn was a compassionate woman and believed nobody should have to die alone.  Around 1997 she sat for the first time at the bedside of an individual who decided to end their suffering by a carefully planned suicide.  When there was nobody else to support a dying person, Evelyn, ever the compassionate one, was there.

In 2002, at the age of 71, Evelyn was charged in the deaths of Monique Charest and Leyanne Burchell.  She was the first and only right-to-die activist in Canada ever prosecuted for the offence of aiding suicide, and she faced a maximum penalty of 28 years in jail.  In the small town of Duncan, BC, Evelyn stood strong through a preliminary inquiry that lasted from November 13, 2002 to June 12, 2003.  The criminal trial started October 12, 2004.  On November 4, 2004 a jury of 12 women and men found Evelyn not guilty.  Evelyn’s victory was celebrated by many Canadians who had come to see her as a caring hero with the courage to stand up for her convictions.  Her solid legal defence by Catherine Tyhurst and Peter Firestone was funded by supporters from around the world who contributed to the Right to Die Society of Canada fundraising campaign.

Evelyn Martens’ acquittal was significant because it clarified that mere compassionate presence at suicide is not a crime in Canada.  In 2005 the Humanist Association of Canada awarded Evelyn Martens the prestigious title, Humanist of the Year. 

Evelyn will be remembered for her sympathy, compassion, sensitivity, and sense of humour.  She had genuine empathy for the suffering of others and she enriched the lives of all who met her.

A service will be held in the spring in Kelowna.  When the ground has thawed, a tree will be planted in Evelyn’s memory.