A special memorial service this past weekend in Iowa City honored some of the men and women who donated their bodies for research at the University of Iowa. Darrell Wilkins, the director of the deeded body program at the U-of-I, says it first started in 1965, and the number of donors has stayed steady.He says the majority of the donors are used to teach anatomy to students, but some of the bodies are used by researchers. Wilkins says the program ends up benefiting all of us. He says advancing medicine is one of the main goals, as it teaches doctors, and he says it also helps researchers develop things like prosthetics. Americans often have trouble dealing with death, but Wilkins says the donors have gotten beyond those qualms to help others.He says it takes a person who has a special interest in medicine, and a willingness to help others. He says it’s not something that’s for everyone, and says it takes a lot of thought. Wilkins says it also takes a commitment from the person’s family to follow through with the person’s request once they’ve died. Fifty-one of the donors were buried in the memorial ceremony last Friday.He says the majority of the donors cremains are returned to their families, but he says some ask that the university bury the cremains and that’s why they have the ceremony. Wilkins says today’s ceremony was the first at a new burial site.He says the site they had used was full and the city of Iowa City donated land for a new site that he says will be a peaceful and impressive site. Anyone over the age of 18 may donate their body to medical education and research at the U-of-I. For more information, call Wilkins at 319-335-7762 or go on-line to www.anatomy.uiowa.edu and look for the link to the deeded body program.
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