A.T. Still University of Health Sciences (ATSU) students gathered atop a hill, beneath a deep blue sky, behind a gravestone inscribed, “In memory of those who have donated their bodies to medical science.”
Wednesday’s Gift of Body ceremony in Kirksville, Missouri, was a sincere and serious event, as ATSU-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and ATSU-Missouri School of Dentistry & Oral Health students gathered to express gratitude to those who donated their bodies to the University, and their families.
“I speak for all of the students here at A.T. Still University when I say, ‘Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts,’” said Jacob Speechley, OMS II. “They gave their bodies to further our education and our experience, so we could take that knowledge and go out into the world and help people, and even save lives.”
Representatives of ATSU’s student religious associations took turns speaking in Forest-Llewellyn Cemetery, just a few dozen yards from the gravesite of A.T. Still, DO. In most years, students would have been joined by family members of those who donated their bodies. This year’s event included only students and Anatomy department faculty due to the coronavirus pandemic, and was videoed for later presentation to those families.
Speaking to the camera, students explained the respect, care, and appreciation with which they treated the donated bodies, noting those gifts would echo through the years as students become doctors and take their osteopathic medical knowledge across the country.
Samah Raheem, OMS II, of the Muslim Student Association, spoke of the importance in her faith of performing good deeds. Those deeds will be performed by students now and in the future, and also by the donors and their families.
“Every patient who benefits from the knowledge my classmates and I have gained will add to the list of good deeds of the donor and the families,” she said.
Madison Williams, D2, represented the Catholic Medical Association, Michael Megafu, OMS II, represented the Christian Medical and Dental Association, Brett Frommer, OMM fellow, represented the Jewish Medical Student Association, and Justin Lowder, OMS II, represented the Latter-Day Saint Student Association. Members of the ATSU MEDleys also performed “Amazing Grace.”
For more information about ATSU’s Gift of Body Program, visit atsu.edu/kirksville-college-of-osteopathic-medicine/community/gift-of-body.