NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To recognize Day of the Dead, Compassion & Choices today honored the memory of deceased advocates of legislation to allow terminally ill adults the option to request a doctor's prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable.
"These brave advocates spent their last months of life advocating for laws to authorize medical aid in dying despite the horrors of their terminal diseases," said Corinne Carey, New York state director for Compassion & Choices. "And today, as we celebrate and embrace death as a part of the human experience in a colorful and festive celebration, we commit to make medical aid in dying an additional end-of-life option for terminally ill adults in New York." Supporters from different cultures, some with painted faces, kicked off the Day of the Dead ( Día de los Muertos) celebration with a procession led by Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York outside El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem. Inside was a colorful and decorated altar surrounded by photos of the late Miguel Carrasquillo, Nohemí Garza, Youssef Cohen, William Stubing and Jay Kallio - all New Yorkers. A moment of silence to honor them was followed after the lighting of candles. The Medical Aid in Dying Act made history in May when the New York State Assembly Health Committee passed shortly after its introduction. The bill will be reintroduced in the upcoming legislative session that starts in January. "This compassionate bill ensures that we honor those who fought for legislation to expand end-of-life care options for terminally ill adults with appropriate protections to prevent any type abuse and misuse," said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz. "Medical aid in dying is an end-of-life option that is a matter of personal freedom and liberty. We need to stop criminalizing medical aid in dying and honor the wishes of terminally ill individuals." Nilsa Centeno spoke of her only son, Miguel Carrasquillo, a former New Yorker whose horrific suffering from brain cancer prompted him to record a bilingual video for Compassion & Choices urging lawmakers nationwide to give terminally ill adults the option of medical aid in dying. Miguel died June 5 in his native Puerto Rico. He was only 35-years-old. "I have found solace in the promise I made to my only son, Miguel, during his last days," Nilsa said. "I promised him that I would fight to make medical aid in dying an option for terminally ill people, so they would not have to suffer in agony at the end of life like he did."