Anatomy Donor Memorial

University of Illinois
Anatomy Donor Memorial
Anatomy Donor Memorial

Dear Family and Loved Ones,

The following is compilation of photographs and excerpts from our memorial service expressing our sincere gratitude for the amazing gift provided by the human anatomy donors. There is no gift equal to the selfless contribution made by your loved ones that we as students benefit from so endlessly. The knowledge imparted to us by these individuals will continue to impact our future education and medical practice. We hope this booklet conveys our sincerest thanks.

With Love,

University of Illinois
College o fMedicine Class of 2016

Anatomy Donor Memorial
Anatomy Donor Memorial

Thank you for donating your body to medical education. Throughout my practice, I will do my best to honor this true gift. I have learned so much from your body in its various states of dissection that a book would never have taught me. Thank you for letting me have a relationship with you. I am truly grateful.



It wasn't until I first had the privilege of stepping into the anatomy lab and learning from a real body that I understood what it meant to be a student in the field of medicine. It wasn't until I followed my first nerve and blood vessel within a real human body that I understood the magnitude and complexity that is inherent to our makeup and function. It has been a great gift to learn anatomy this way and be able to form a framework for physiology and pathology that we have learned in other courses. I know already that I will utilize this information throughout my career and I am so thankful for this gift.

-­‐ Paven

"This Gentleman"

by Carlen

I saw him every week
This gentleman whose name I never knew
He taught me a great deal
Without him, an impossible task to do

I always had in the back of my mind
This gentleman was someone's father, someone's brother
As my peers and I spent months
Learning from one another

This gentleman was not a nameless face
He brought me closer to my dream
of one day becoming part of a greater team

This gentleman was not just a number
He taught me a valuable lesson
About selfless giving
He's made a lasting impression

I would like to tell his family
I would like his family to know
Their contribution towards my journey
was an amazing gift to bestow

I can't find the words
I don't know how to say....
Thank you. You've given me something
I can never repay

I never knew this gentleman's name
But I will never forget
For your gift towards my education,
I will always be in debt

Anatomy Donor Memorial

How do I best compress an entire year of learning into a brief note of thanks? How do I thank you for a gift of such value? My beginning moments with you were awkward but now we end with a comfortable goodbye. Through it all you patiently taught me more than I expected to learn.

You and I were strangers. Without ever knowing if you enjoyed knitting or baking cookies, without ever knowing if you liked autumn best, without knowing your favorite book or what made you laugh, we became forever partners. Slowly at first we built a rapport that set a foundation for learning. Over the year you have helped me struggle and achieve. You have made me more confident and capable. The wisdom you have shared will be part of the physician I am becoming. We have become partners for life.

Your gift of knowledge will be with me every time I care for a patient. You have been my first patient. With understanding and patience we made the journey together and these lessons will not be forgotten. I will think of you each time I use the knowledge you shared with me.

Thank you for being my first patient and my partner in medicine.

Warmest regards,

-- Elizabeth
Anatomy Donor Memorial

By donating your bodies, you have bestowed us with rare and valuable opportunities that enabled us to further our knowledge toward becoming great physicians. By volunteering to be our first patients, you allow us to learn how to care for another human being without fear of failure holding us back. By imparting us with such wonderful gifts, you reveal to us another level of altruism and kindness we rarely find, and something our world direly needs.

Thank you for allowing us to share a year with you. It was an honor and a pleasure.

-­‐ Chaowei

When considering the gift that you and your beloved have made -­‐ how much sacrifice it may have involved on your part, how undeserving I am to be the recipient, and how irreplaceable such a gift is for us as students -­‐ I am in awe of its magnitude. No words can describe my gratitude for such a gift, so I'll keep it short. Thank you.

-­‐ Aaron

Anatomy Donor Memorial

Please accept our sincere condolences on the loss of your loved one, and our immense gratitude for his or her selfless decision to donate his or her body to science. Please know that your loved one's amazing gift has been of immeasurable value to 130+ first year medical students this year. We have each spent hundreds of hours observing, exploring, and beginning to understand the intricacies of the human body, in ways and depths that we could not have learned from pictures or models. The knowledge we have gained because of the generosity of your loved ones will help us throughout our careers as we seek to diagnose and treat diseases, improve and save lives, and treat every patient with compassion and empathy.

-­‐ Emilia

Anatomy is one of the most time consuming and difficult classes in medical school; however, it is one of the most rewarding and important courses. Some of us may go on to be surgeons, while others may end up as your friendly neighborhood family physician, but we will all be forever in debt for the opportunity given to us the gift you and your loved ones bequeathed upon our education. -­‐ William

Anatomy Donor Memorial

We thank you for helping us learn the human anatomy so that we can one day use the knowledge to heal others. It was an honor to be given this privilege, and I know that this experience taught me far more than just reading about it in the abstract could ever do. I appreciate your loved one's and your family's willingness to help, and I will remember this generosity in the years to come.

-­‐ Ruth

I want to express my sincere gratitude to your family for the tremendous gift of our “first patients.” They not only allowed us to learn anatomy, but more importantly taught us how to treat our patients with respect and appreciate the complexity and uniqueness of every human body. As emotionally challenging as it has been for us at times in lab, I know it was much harder for you to let go of your loved ones, and I greatly appreciate your strength and generosity.

I will be keeping your families and our “first patients” in my prayers. We will never forget the impact that your loved ones have had on our lives, and we will be forever grateful.-­‐Riana

I would like to thank you and your loved one for the amazing gift you gave to my fellow classmates and me. Our medical education would not have been the same without your family member’s selfless donation! The education we were able to attain from your loved one will reach far beyond our first year of medical school. I know we will all carry the knowledge we gained while studying a real human body into each of our careers. This knowledge will, without a doubt, positively impact the lives of the thousands of patients we will see throughout the next several decades. There are not enough words to express the gratitude and respect I feel for you and your family member.

Starting my first day as a first year medical student, I was eager to learn everything possible in every one of my classes. Although I was trying to treat each class the same, anatomy quickly became my favorite subject. I think the primary reason for this was the ability to reinforce the material I learned while sitting in class with a real life example of each of the structures my professors discussed. In fact, I found myself spending more and more time in the anatomy lab as the year went on. Even though I still have a little time before I make a final decision on the physician I would like to become, I am seriously considering a career in surgery. I do not think I would have ever considered such a profession an option without the wonderful experience I had in anatomy lab. I know it must be incredibly difficult for you to have lost such a wonderful part of your life. However, I hope you can find some peace in knowing the immense amount good your loved one was able to donate, even beyond their final hours.

With sincere gratitude,

-- Maria

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting your loved one's decision to bestow their body as an anatomical gift. Their donation contributes to an absolutely essential part of our medical training and could not be possible without your cooperation. Your loved one must have been an extremely generous and selfless person to give their last physical earthly possession for the good of others. They were our first patient and a prolific teacher. Their legacy will live on not only with us, but also with the future patients we will help to heal.
-­‐ Samantha

Anatomy Donor Memorial

Thank you so much for the gift that you so kindly gave to the medical school. Your gift allowed for a priceless hands on learning opportunity that would have been unavailable through any other means. Many students, myself included, spent countless hours absorbing all the lessons your loved one had to offer for us. Your gift helped me to specifically appreciate the beautiful design and variation in the human body. It is so true that each person is different and unique. Once again I want to thank you for letting others learn from the life of your loved one.
-­‐ Morgan

On the first day, I approached the doors to the lab with trepidation. The smell of the embalming fluid that had become familiar over the course of four years walking the halls was now clinging to my nose and threatening to take permanent residence. This was not my first experience of being close to death, but I feared the proximity and duration of a year spent in a room of bodies. I wish I could say that once I had crossed the threshold and entered the vestibule I was immediately at ease, but I am not as brave as my predecessors. On my first day of dissection, I was frustrated by my ineptitude both with the scalpel and understanding how to remap the structures we needed to learn from the two-­‐dimensional paper onto the three-­‐dimensional body. By my fifth day of dissection, I was completely in awe of the human body, its organization and complexity. By the time I had finished my assigned dissection (the abdomen), I felt as though I had finally entered the world of the physician. As I continue with my training and my career, I will always be reminded by this person, my first patient, whose body I know better than any other, and whose generous gift I had the honor of receiving. I cannot find the words to express my thanks to this person and to her family. Anatomy has been the single most meaningful and rewarding experience so far in my medical training. My most heartfelt thanks, always.

Anatomy Donor Memorial
Anatomy Donor Memorial

Anatomy Donor Memorial