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A Celebration of Life Service

by Erman,Linda last modified Jun 17, 2010 12:53 PM

April 8, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—It may seem like an unusual way to help train future health care professionals and further educational and research efforts, but each year almost 200 people bequeath their bodies to the University of Louisville for this purpose.

To honor and thank those who have donated a loved one’s body or bequeathed their own body to UofL, audiology, dental, graduate and medical students, faculty and staff will host A Celebration of Life service tonight at 6pm in the Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, 500 S. Preston Street. The program will be held in the first floor auditorium and will include student musical performance, personal reflection, and a candle lighting ceremony.

“Donating to the program reflects an extraordinary commitment to life and the well being of others,” said Fred Roisen, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology. “It’s the most generous contribution a human can make.”

Twins Susan Sheridan and Lynda Lee Sadowski lost their 87-year-old mother about two years ago. They knew from an early age she wanted to give her body to UofL.

“In this material age, I don’t think there is a more selfless act,” said Sheridan. “This special service is a way to celebrate the lives of these dear departed.”

Currently, 5,000 people are registered in the UofL Bequeathal Program. A person’s decision to bequeath their body helps train medical, dental, graduate and allied health students and furthers scientific knowledge. In turn, it has the potential to improve the welfare of patients for years to come.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, more than 165 medical students have taken gross anatomy, with more than 90 dental students learning about the body through gross anatomy and head & neck anatomy. A number of graduate students and allied health students also depend on this type of education for their future careers.

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