We’re sure you’ve heard of Brittany Maynard by now – the 29 year old newlywed who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. We’re sure you’ve heard that she’s since passed away after taking lethal drugs prescribed to her by her doctor. She has a few videos on her website that dutifully explains why she chose to go public with her decision. Regardless of whether you agree with what she did, it’s safe to say that social media was the impetus behind her cause.
Maynard first revealed her decision to People Magazine and it soon went viral. She was in the tabloids and in all of the news reports. While some say she did all of this for mere attention, it’s now clear that she was purely standing up for what she believed in and asked everyone else to stand alongside her. It’s been a controversial topic and it continues as such but we can honestly say that because of Maynard, some light has been shed on the issue.
She succeeded in not only getting her personal story out there, but she also brought attention to a serious topic that many people may not even think about. Of course, her story was particularly tragic because of her age and where she was in her life. Perhaps that’s why she got as much attention as she did. Suddenly, 29 year old newlyweds everywhere (and everyone else) began imagining themselves in Maynard’s shoes. It almost became a fixation. How could someone so young be faced with such an impossible decision? Age aside, it’s an impossible decision.
The first video she posted in October was viewed more than 9 million times. It was pure virality after that. Maynard released a date of death in her first video – November 1st – and it was very much anticipated. The week of that date, she released a second video saying that it didn’t seem like the right time to end her life. At that point, everyone jumped on the finger-pointing bandwagon. They all thought that it was a publicity stunt, that Maynard was only doing this for attention. Then November 1st came around and she passed. Sure, she did this for attention. She did it to promote something she believes in. We can’t say it would’ve been as possible or as successful without social media.
Rest in Peace Brittany Maynard. You certainly didn’t go quietly and you’ve inspired bravery and confidence in the rest of us.