Living with Passion
& Fighting for Options
By Alex Keller-Biehl
Leslie Keller-Biehl biking in Loveland, Ohio in July 2016.
When I was 22 years old my Mom, Leslie Keller-Biehl, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She endured many treatments and surgeries to overcome cancer. However, after 2 years, cancer took over and no treatment options remained. Mom knew she was dying and so our goal shifted to hospice care and a peaceful death. At 24 years of age, it was my privilege to be her caregiver at the end of her life. She was 57 when she died on April 9, 2020.
There were so many amazing things about my Mom. She was a dynamic and positive force in the world. As a professional event planner, avid cyclist, and a community volunteer, she had friends all over Ohio. Because of her unwavering dedication to motherhood, my two brothers and I will be forever grateful for her compassion, empathy, and her willingness to listen and help guide us in life. It’s hard to express how much we miss her.
While my Mom was in hospice, her family and friends surrounded her with love. But, as her health declined, she wanted the one option that was not available in Ohio…Medical Aid in Dying.
Medical Aid in Dying allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with a prognosis of six months or less to live to request from their doctor a prescription for medication they can decide to self-ingest to die peacefully in their sleep. Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act has been in effect for over twenty years. The United States has laws like it in seven other states and Washington, D.C.
Did you know that one in five Americans already have access to Medical Aid in Dying?
I didn’t. After I learned this, I realized that something as simple as geography denied my Mom the right to have access to ALL end of life options available.
My Mom deserved peace of mind knowing that if her suffering became too much, she had the option to access Medical Aid in Dying. Then she could have decided when to gather her family together and say her goodbyes. We could have held her hands as she drifted off to die peacefully in her sleep on her own terms, in her own time.
Unfortunately, Medical Aid in Dying was not available for my Mom, and even with quality hospice care she suffered at the end of her life. To honor my Mom’s life and her dedication to others, I am partnering with Ohio End of Life Options to be a voice for change.
Ohio End of Life Options is a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of the terminally ill to pass a Medical Aid in Dying law in Ohio. As a grassroots organization, they raise awareness and provide fact-based education to the public, healthcare professionals, and the legal and legislative communities.
My family and I are establishing the
Leslie Keller-Biehl Memorial Fund
with Ohio End of Life Options
to support their mission.
Our family will match all donations up to $10,000 until December 1st.
Please consider donating so we can help make this option— already available to 20% of Americans—legal in Ohio.
Together, we can make Medical Aid in Dying an option in Ohio. Only together can we bring the peace it can provide to people facing a terminal illness. In memory of Mom, we thank you for your support.
— Alex Keller-Biehl and Family
Leslie with her grandson on the day he was born. She lived another year and died on his first birthday.
Leslie and her grandson with dog Lola on Christmas Day 2019.