The following excerpt is from the op-ed, “Colorado’s End-of-Life Options Act helps terminal patients die with dignity,” by Jesse Ankerholz that first appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera on August 11, 2022. 

I have traveled thousands of miles across the U.S. sharing the story of my wife Andrea Ankerholz, who died on August 6, 2021. After exhausting all treatment options for the terminal cancer she lived with, she chose to utilize the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act and died peacefully at home surrounded by love. With the first anniversary of her death just passed, I cannot fathom what those final weeks would have looked like without this choice.

In early 2021, both of Andrea’s doctors, who previously agreed to write her prescription, suddenly changed their minds with no explanation. This decision was devastating and especially cruel for a person so close to the end. Now fearful of prolonged suffering, she tried to focus on saying her goodbyes, enjoying her last days and choosing mementos to leave loved ones.

Andrea was overwhelmed by fear and frustration until she connected with a representative from the End of Life Options Consultation program at Compassion & Choices, a national end-of-life options nonprofit. They compiled a list of providers in Colorado for Andrea to contact, and she found a physician at Denver Health to support her. As soon as she got the medication, Andrea felt incredible relief. That relief allowed her to focus on enjoying the life she had left.