(April 18, 2019) Aurora, Colo. - Anschutz Medical Campus students
gathered on Thursday to show their gratitude to the men and women who
donated their remains for the purpose of training future health care workers.
Several student speakers
told the audience filled with students, and families and friends of donors, that
the lessons they learned from the donors prepared them for their careers
in patient care and research.
"If this sacrifice leads to some cure or cutting-edge
treatment, (donors) receive no reward, no payout, and often no
recognition," medical student Samantha Connor said. "I benefit,
future patients benefit from this life that has been lost. But, in a
different way, they live on forever from the lessons we gathered from our time
with them. Our careers, quite literally, began with their sacrifice."
Modern Human Anatomy student Tyler Johnson said students
in the first semester of the program make models of tissues, bones
and organs from CT scans taken from donors' bodies.
"The body many thought would just be
physical teaching tool is now a digital tool that all
students will continue using long after this body is gone,"
Several students commented on the
generosity of donors.
"You are our first teachers and our first patients," physician
assistant student Melanie Logan said. "Because of your
generosity, we now understand the foundations for clinical medicine, the
uniqueness and variability of the human body, and the incredible power of a life
“There is no textbook that
could parallel the lessons you have taught me and my classmates and for that,
we are forever grateful. We hope to emulate the same compassion you did at the
end of your life with our patients every single day.”
Dental medicine student Kory
Carpenter noted the "uncommon selflessness to donate one's very body to
assist in the future healing of others.
"That sort of love extends beyond death. The
charity that motivated our donors to honor us students with the gift of their
bodies is the same love that they expressed to their spouses, friends, and
families while they were alive."
Following her experience in anatomy class, physical therapy student Megan O'Connor decided to add her name to the donor registry.
"I never considered what would become of my body once
I left it," she said. "Because of the depth of knowledge
and understanding provided by your loved ones, friends, and
family members I am inspired to pay it forward in a similar fashion ... I hope
to live a full life that leaves students wondering who
I was, who I cared for, who I loved, what each day was like
Friends and family members eulogized their loved ones, remembering
their humor and eccentricities, their kindness and generosity.
commemorating her husband, Ryan, who died at age 40 from colon
cancer, said he instantly embraced the idea of body donation.
"It took no more than two
seconds for him to decide that was the right decision — it fit all of his
morals. He knew that it would help future doctors to continue to provide great,
research-based medical care, and maybe someday find a cure for this horrible