September 25, 2009
The U of C’s Faculty of Medicine yesterday honoured the memory of those who have given themselves to enrich the learning of others. People who donate their bodies to the university’s Body Donation Program help students prepare for careers in medicine and related professions.
This year’s interment ceremony recognizes 71 people at the graveside service. The commemoration is held every two years for family members and friends of those who have chosen to donate their bodies for medical study.
“The Body Donation Program allows students to familiarize themselves with the anatomical relationships found in the human body that are essential for understanding the progression and treatment of disease,” says the program’s director, Dr. John Bertram.
Alison Wadsworth will be thinking about her father at this year’s ceremony. Doug Farrell died when he was 68, after years of dealing with chronic health conditions. In his mid 40’s Farrell suffered from heart failure and was only given five years to live.
“Because of exceptional medical care and experimentation he enjoyed a wonderful quality of life, much longer than anyone expected. Donating his body was a gift that will contribute to the advancement of medical research and help others,” says Wadsworth.
The Body Donation Program supports three specific areas: the continuing medical education of physicians and surgeons; research done at the Faculty of Medicine; and the training of medical students.
Those medical students also attend the interment ceremony to show their respect and thank the donors and their families for the opportunities they have been given. "If I’m going to save the living tomorrow, I need to learn from the deceased today," says U of C medical student Sterling Sparshu.
The ceremony is held at Queen’s Park Cemetery in the city’s northwest, at the university’s cemetery plot.