Medical school to hold largest ever willed body memorial service
Aloha to the "silent teachers"University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Apr 13, 2012
Koa urns contain cremains which will be scattered at sea from outrigger canoes, 2009.
MD students perform a hula at ceremony honoring body donors, 2009.
The loved ones of 111 people will gather for a memorial service and the scattering of ashes at sea, beginning at 10 a.m. on April 14, at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa's John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).
In death, these 111 Hawai`i residents became mentors to medical students who could not have learned anatomy without their extraordinarily unselfish gift: donating their bodies to the school. The medical students call them their “silent teachers," noting that there are many computer-generated ways to learn anatomy today, but none as effective as touch. Through the gift of human bodies, the students embrace the science of anatomy with a profound respect for their common humanity.
The annual Willed Body Ceremony is the way JABSOM students say “mahalo." Four medical students will speak, to personally thank the families and communicate to them the deep lifelong connections they have made with the donors.
The memorial also includes photographs and short obituaries about the donors, a brief “affirmation of life” by a chaplain, hula and music performed by current medical students.
Many of the donors requested that their ashes be released into the ocean. At about 1:30 p.m., off Magic Island, their wish will be fulfilled by students who will paddle an outrigger canoe a short distance offshore for that final part of the ceremony.
The ceremony has become so popular it has outgrown the 150-seat auditorium at the medical school’s Kaka`ako campus. Some attendees will watch via closed-circuit television in an adjoining room, while others use a password protected internet link to watch from their homes.
For more information, visit: http://jabsom.hawaii.edu