Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada - CCAC

News and Resources > News  


Montreal woman’s last moments put face on assisted dying movement

A Montreal family is sharing the story of how one of their members made the difficult choice to die.

Marisa Nini was suffering through the final stages of colon cancer when her sister Stephanie videoed a family singalong. She uploaded the footage to Facebook, where those personal moments struck a chord – the video has since been viewed over a million times.

“I took the video because it was so beautiful to see my sister be so courageous,” said Nini. “I wanted to remember her with everyone loving her and with her smiles before leaving. I needed to have these souvenirs.”

Marisa had already gone through three rounds of chemo and several alternative medicine treatments, none of which worked.

“When she saw the chemo was too hard on her, she had no life quality,” said Nini. “She told herself, ‘I would rather have less time and a better life quality.’” The pain eventually became too much. Marisa, with the support of her family, opted for assisted dying.

With the planned date drawing near, she asked her family to be with her one last time. That’s when Stephanie took the video.

Nini said the reaction since posting the video last week has been largely positive, as people are able to place a face to an issue that has often been controversial.

“I’ve had a couple of people on Facebook saying it shouldn’t be there, it should be private,” she said. “That’s an opinion. My opinion is, we see on the news all the time bad things. I think we need to see better things. Things we can relate to.”

Nini said she hopes the videos can help start a conversation for other families who have to suffer through a loved one’s terminal illness, regardless of their stance on assisted dying.

That’s a lofty goal. For Nini, the videos offer a smaller, but equally important comfort. They are remnants of a sister who she loved, her last moments and words captured forever.

“She said ‘I love you so much, you taught me a lot,’” said Nini. “I don’t know what I taught her, but she taught me a lot.”

Bookmark and Share