Hours before her planned death on Nov. 1, Brittany Maynard responded to an e-mail from a complete stranger. The woman, a former nurse named Barbara Mancini, shared Maynard's touching email with ABC News on Friday, Dec. 5, saying she didn't expect to hear back at all.
"In the note, I told her I admired what she was doing," Mancini told ABC. "I felt it was selfless and courageous. I never expected she would respond because it was late October and I knew she was having daily seizures and she was getting worse all the time."
Philadelphia resident Mancini is familiar with Death With Dignity laws. In 2013, she was arrested for giving a lethal dose of morphine to her terminally ill father.
"I was under prosecution for a year," she told ABC News. "It was a horrible, horrible thing to go through." The case was dismissed this past February, but Mancini said the experience will last with her for life.
Despite her physical condition, Maynard responded to Mancini's e-mail in the final hours leading up to her death.
"Stories like yours and mine put human faces on a controversial topic that many politicians are happy to sweep under the rug," Maynard wrote to Mancini. "I wish I could have had the pleasure of meeting you in person."
Terminal cancer patient Maynard entered the public eye as an advocate for the controversial right-to-die movement in the months leading up to her death. "It's not suicide," Maynard said on The Meredith Vieira Show about the decision to end her own life. "It's meant to relieve the suffering."
She died on Nov. 1, in her Portland, Oregon home, surrounded by her loved ones. "It is people who pause to appreciate life and give thanks who are the happiest," Maynard wrote in her final message. "If we change out thoughts, we change our world! Love and peace to you all."
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