Students give thanks for body donors

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AUGUSTA, GA (WJBF)—Local students giving thanks on this Thanksgiving holiday for the ultimate sacrifice. Hundreds of people each year chose to donate their bodies to research after they have passed. Students at the Medical College of Georgia and the Dental College of Georgia are saying ‘thank you’ to these people’s friends and family.

Each year, students host a ceremony for the body donor’s friends and family to show their appreciation. Miller Singleton is the President of the 2nd year Med class. She shares what she learned from these bodies in Anatomy Lab.

“You can’t really learn anatomy from a text book,” Miller points out. “Specifically, I learned how courageous and selfless these people were to have a hand in our education. It teaches compassion and respect—for people of all different walks of life. Everybody has a story and that story is of your life and that story is ultimately of your death as well.”

Colton Fowlkes is the President of the 2nd year Dental class. He explains how these bodies are their first patients and their silent teachers. He says holding a human brain, the collection of a person’s memories, is something he will never forget.

“We’re learning about what makes them speak, what make them perceive things,” Fowlkes describes. “You’re holding that in your hand.”

The most memorable dissection for Miller—the heart. “It makes you think about your own mortality and we think about ourselves as physicians, trying to do as much good as we can for our patients, but knowing that the legacy that you can leave also lives on after that—and that was through our body donors.”

Fowlkes says the gratitude he would like to share with these families is tough to put into words. He says it is difficult to summarize a ‘thank you’ for a decision that has the potential to affect millions.

“From the bottom of my heart, I just can’t thank them enough for the sacrifice that their loved one made, helping not only educate myself and all of my classmates, but for years and years to come helping patients, millions,” says Fowlkes.

This is all part of the humanistic side of medicine that they say their professors strive to instill in all of their students.

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