Editor's Note: As your family makes plans to head out to an event this year, we encourage you to check with event organizers to confirm details - and remember to pack your masks!
We continue to share many events that are being held virtually - scroll down for the link on where to stream when applicable.
Hope and Dignity: Ray Spooner’s End of Life Story
By Rae Spooner
My husband, Ray, who died from ALS in 2016, exemplified how to live while dying. Ray was first diagnosed with ALS in December 2014. At an early appointment with his neurologist, he knew what was on his bucket list. His list included a Bar Mitzvah, spending more time with family, and a bike ride across the United States to raise money and build awareness for ALS. In fact, my husband’s story made national headlines in October of 2015 when he set out to ride across the nation from San Diego, CA, to St. Augustine, FL.
My husband kicked off the 3,095-mile cycling trip by dipping the rear wheel of his bike into the Pacific Ocean on October 18, 2015. Unfortunately, Ray fell on the fifth day of his journey and could not continue his ride due to multiple injuries. Through his blog (Rayslittleride.com), he encouraged people around the world to complete the miles he was unable to ride. People took up the call by donating enough ridden miles to “go to the moon” and raised over $57,000 for research for a cure of ALS.
Back home, in hospice, we planned for Ray’s last day. We were able to invite family to say goodbye and express their love for Ray. The hospice team kept Ray comfortable at home in his last moments of life and ensured he had the calm death he hoped for. Ray died peacefully on August 8, 2016, surrounded by his family. Ray’s story helps us all to think about issues that we will face at the end of our lives. Ray allowed me and our family to face the challenges of a terminal illness with grace and acceptance. Ray taught all of us how to live while dying.
Faced with the prospect of our own mortality because of COVID-19, this is a good time to revisit Ray’s story. Please join me in watching a short documentary about Ray’s life and death, followed by a discussion, on Thursday, January 28, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm CST. This free event is sponsored by Compassion & Choices, Illinois. To register, go to this URL: https://join.compassionandchoices.org/a/hope-and-dignity-ray-spooners-end-life-story?sourceid=1068559
Rae Spooner is a retired special education teacher from who lives in Urbana, Illinois, and continues to tell Ray’s story.
Editor's Note: This is a virtual event. Please follow the link below to find the event. If a link is not included below (or anywhere else in the event description), or if the link does not work, please contact the event organizer for assistance.