'A New Kind of Heroism' helps people figure out end-of-life care

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) ---- "What I didn't realize then is that this was the point of no return."

In the Academy Award nominated documentary short, "Extremis," Dr. Jessica Zitter discusses the necessity of establishing an end of life plan.

"Somebody can still be very, very sick but there's a conversation that starts to happen that many people would say, 'We're not ready for that conversation yet." But when I see people have that conversation in those slightly earlier moments, I see this incredible peace descend upon the person with the illness as well as the rest of the family," said Dr. Jessica Zitter, Intensive & Palliative Care at Highland Hospital in Oakland, CA.

Organizers provided resources and guides for advance planning, which is designed to give people the ability to put their personal choices in writing, taking the stress and worry off of families when the time comes.

"It's all about values, that's the point. You're having a conversation about what your family's values are and you're having a conversation about respect. What would respect look like for this family member, what would a good medical outcome look like for this family member?" said Rev. Jane Eesley, Senior Pastor of Christ United Methodist Church.

For one Rockford man, he came to the event searching for options for his wife and himself to be able to see what's available before the need arises.

"Well, I think it's good to have information ahead of the need and I think that's what this is offering, and it's kind of rare, I think, to have this kind of an event in the community," said attendee John Spitzer.

Above all, Dr. Zitter says advocating for your loved ones is paramount.

"Be direct with your physician and ask your physician for the information that you deserve and you need in order to prepare for your life and your loved one's lives," said Zitter.