Christy O'Donnell is a 46-year-old attorney and single mother from California. Last year, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, and given six months to live.
O'Donnell's doctors have told her she will die in the next few months, and it will likely be a painful death.
O'Donnell has decided she wants to die on her own terms, rather than from her disease.
In a heartbreaking video, O'Donnell explains why she feels this choice is best for her and her 20-year-old daughter, Bailey. She says she had an active and full life, working as a civil rights attorney and raising her daughter.
O'Donnell said she is not afraid to die, but that doesn't mean she wants to.
However, O'Donnell says if she must die, she wants to do so on her own terms to spare Bailey the pain of watching her suffer.
"It's the most difficult thing ever to see your mom, you know, slowly dying essentially," Bailey said.
So, O'Donnell decided to take legal action. She is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the state of California arguing that the constitution and California law allow for patients to choose medical aid in dying.
O'Donnell is also fighting for California to pass SB 128, the End of Life Option Act, a bill that would allow dying patients to end their lives under certain conditions.
O'Donnell's lawsuit was filed on Friday by Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group that made headlines for its work with Brittany Maynard.
Maynard's husband, Dan Diaz, who now works with Compassion and Choices, told BuzzFeed News that O'Donnell's fight highlights the need for every state to have a right-to-die law.
In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Daily News, O'Donnell wrote that she fought for the law her whole life as a lawyer, but now she feels the law is against her.
Watch O'Donnell's full video here.
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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