Discover more from Things I Wrote Down
"Eliminate the problem, not the person."
A quadriplegic's powerful story and urgent plea to Canadians
Paralyzed in a car accident in the 1980s, survivor Jean Swenson thanks God that assisted suicide wasn't available to her back then.
In 1980 Jean was working for an organization that serviced urban youth and in her role she brought a group of teens to hear Joni Eareckson, the young quadriplegic, share about her faith and her art.
“We were all really impressed with Joni,” notes Jean in Unveil’s latest episode of MAiD in Canada. “But I remember telling the girls, ‘Well, God must know what we can handle, because I could never live as a quadriplegic.’”
A few months later those words were tested to the fullest when, in a terrible car accident, Jean suffered a broken neck and became paralyzed below her shoulders.
Watch the trailer for Episode 3:
“I spent the next year and a half in various hospitals, and rehabilitation centres, dealing with serious medical issues and learning to live as a quadriplegic,” recounts Jean.
“That was a very difficult season in my life. And during that time, I fell into a deep depression. I felt like I was in a black hole. With no way out. I really thought my life was over and I just wanted to die.”
In the latest episode of our documentary series, we ask Jean, an American, for her perspective on expanding MAiD laws in Canada where people living with disabilities are offered the choice to prematurely end their lives through the state-sanctioned procedure.
This is what she said:
I'm so grateful that assisted suicide was not available at the time [of my injury]. And [that] those around me listened to my longing to die and then gave me what I really needed, which was good medical care, counselling, access to disability services, and lots of prayer and loving support.
Jean eventually came out of that depression as she realized her life was far from over.
Since then, she’s received a Masters Degree, teaches, writes, and is a clear voice of faith and encouragement for people struggling with discouragement, physical suffering and hopelessness.
Her powerful conclusion? People with overwhelming problems need their problems eliminated, not their lives. It’s an inspiring message we need to hear!
We're grateful Jean Swenson bravely shares her story and her concerns with assisted dying laws in Canada in episode three of MAiD in Canada, which I hope you’ll watch and share with a friend.
The series has been eye-opening, and Matt, Dan and I are grateful for all the feedback, outreach and conversation we’ve had over the last few months since we started producing and releasing the series.
Updates on MAiD in Canada
The series is starting to garner some media attention! We're grateful for the coverage on Human Events and The Post Millennial, David Krayden's podcast as well as The Andrew Lawton Show and True North.
We're booking more appearances and seeking to spread the word. If you or someone in your network hosts a podcast or is connected to one that would be a fit for this series, please reach out!
We're currently working on more episodes, including an episode on Organ Donation Euthanasia (which is s.h.o.c.k.i.n.g.), the Suicide Dilemma and we also Follow the Money.
We were invited to present a portion of the series at the March for Life in Ottawa and Daniel’s there this week to represent the series, making an appearance with Christine Gauthier on Parliament Hill. Christine is the brave Canadian veteran who was offered MAiD by a Veteran’s Affairs case worker instead of the wheelchair lift she needs to thrive.
We’re offering the series for free so as many people can watch it without any barriers. Some of you have asked how to help the viewer-supported series out… you can make a one-time pledge here or share it with a friend to spread the word!
Here’s Dan’s post about presenting MAiD in Canada at March for Life: