Willed-body program holds commemorative service for families
The Loma Linda University School of Medicine and School of Dentistry classes of 2009 present families of the willed-body program donors with roses of remembrance to honor and thank them.
A somber atmosphere pervaded the Loma Linda University Church on April 27 as the 2009 classes of medicine and dentistry expressed their gratitude to friends and family of the willed-body program at Loma Linda University. Several tributes from students, both musical and poetic, illustrated how much the gift of knowledge the deceased left as their legacy.
“Most people live to learn, but Pinky died to teach,” noted Katie Roddy, from the School of Medicine, who, along with her anatomy group, affectionately dubbed their donor’s body Pinky.
“I believe the most meaningful gifts are the ones we make a part of ourselves,” said Kevin Schultz, from the School of Medicine. “Your loved ones have given us many of these gifts.”
“The legacy that they have chosen to give to us is one of learning,” said Scott Krause, from the School of Dentistry.
Chris Oberg, senior pastor of the Calimesa Seventh-day Adventist Church, provided a message about the gifts the donors left behind. She mentioned three major gifts the willed-bodies provide: education, how to deal with death, and a glimpse into the character of God. Ms. Oberg explained the third gift in two lights. One, she said, was the similar ways the donors viewed death.
“God shakes His fist at death, as your donors defy death by saying ‘we will not go gently into the night.’” The other was how the gift was given.
“They gave an unconditional gift, without any strings attached, aligning themselves with our Creator as He gave His Son.”
Linda Durham, administrator for the University’s willed-body program, noted how the Schools of Dentistry and Medicine combined the memorial service this year. In years past, each of the two schools held separate events.
Loma Linda receives an average of 180 willed-bodies each year.
Close to 5,000 people have preregistered to be a part of the program and will their bodies to the institution upon their death. Those accepted into the program carry a wallet card with them for the rest of their lives and pay a fee of $300 to cover the costs of transportation, embalming, and cremation of their remains.
Families may request to receive the ashes of their loved ones. The memorial service helps provide comfort for the family members before then.
“It helps with a little bit of closure and it helps the family see it from a medical and dental student perspective,” Ms. Durham said.
By Preston Clarke Smith