The End

Now, before you get excited, I don’t mean your end or my end specifically.  I mean what do our families do with our bodies at the end of our lives?  sorry faceCKD or not, one thing we all have in common is that we’ll all die. Since I started writing the blog, I’ve lost three good friends to cancer.  Only one had left instructions for what to do with her body. I watched the grown children of the other two try to figure out what Mom would have wanted… while they dealt with their grief.

I don’t want to burden my children or my husband with making these decisions for me after my demise.  Sure, they are capable, but they’re also grownups who have started lives of their own. They don’t need the extra heartache of dealing with the end of mine on a pragmatic level. Bear has already told me I must make these decisions now since he will not be in a state to do so when I die. That was before I’d told him I already had.

Book CoverIn What Is It and How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, I wrote about MedCure.

I did contact MedCure {MedCure.org or call 866-560-2525}. This company will pick up your body after you die, harvest your tissues and organs for research and education and cremate the rest of you to give the ashes to whomever you designate. They will also scatter your ashes, if you’d prefer. This costs nothing, but they will test your body before accepting it.  According to their website, they will be testing for “…infectious disease or condition such as Hepatitis B or C, HIV/AIDS, active tuberculosis, history of illegal drug use, incarceration or severely under or overweight at the time of death.”

MedCure is the company I contacted.  I’m sure there are others. Their contract is a legal document under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act and their home state’s Oregon Anatomical Gift Statutes. I noticed there is such an organization in my home state, but it doesn’t seem to matter where you live.

BioGift {http://biogift.org/body-donation-process.php} is another company that can help if you want to donate your body to science.  Again, the cremation is free. Their 24 hour telephone number is 866-670-1799. Here is their procedure.

The Process Step-By-Step at Time of Death

  1. Death is confirmed and reported to hospice care facility or emergency personnel.
  2. BioGift is contacted by caregiver, family or hospice representative.
  3. BioGift performs a Medical and Social questionnaire regarding the potential donation with family, hospice worker, nurse or physician at time of death. Acceptability will be determined at that time.
  4. Once accepted arrangements are made for transporting donor to BioGift’s facilities. We use professional funeral providers for these services.
  5. Blood is drawn from the donor to test for infectious diseases.
  6. Recovery of tissues is matched with medical researchers and educators requests.
  7. Remaining tissues, after recoveries, are sent to a licensed crematory for cremation at no cost to you.
  8. Cremated remains are mailed by US Registered mail to the specified person or the cemetery on the cremation authorization. If you live within 30 miles of BioGift we can deliver to specified person or cemetery. If requested BioGift will scatter at sea with other donors.
  9. Within four weeks, depending on what State and County the death occurred in, two certified death certificates will be mailed to the family.
  10. BioGift will send the family follow-up correspondence regarding donation.

These are just two of such organizations.  For me, the decision was easy.  I know many people who just don’t want to talk about it and I understand that, but I’m going to give you the top ten reasons to donate your body anyway… just so you can think about it.cadesus

This is from CNN {http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/10/28/body.after.you.die/index.html}. I’ve left most of the explanatory material out of the list, but thought #8 needed just a little explanation.

  1. Donate your organs
  2. Donate your tissue
  3. Will your body to a university
  4. Help doctors practice their skills
  5. Leave your body to “the body farm”
  6. Become a crash test cadaver
  7. Give your body to a broker
  8. Send your body on tour

If you’ve been to the “Body Worlds” exhibit, you know what plastination is: a process of posing and hardening a body so it appears life-like.

You, too, could become one of these bodies on display by donating to the Institute for Plastination. If you live in the United States or Canada, your body will be embalmed on your own continent and then shipped to Germany, where technicians will perform the plastination process.

  1. Become a skeleton
  2. Be on display at a museum

I am not a ghoul.  I don’t expect you to be jumping up and down with joy as you read today’s blog. But this is a world in which donations are necessary.

Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.  In his wordsmartin-luther-king-jr

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?”

This is the ultimate method of doing for others.

Talking about doing for others, I have discovered that The Book of Blogs: Moderate Stage Chronic Kidney Disease is simply too long for one book.  I finally received the proof copy, opened it up, and the binding split.  Never saw that coming! It looks like there will have to be a Part 1 and a Part 2.  While I sort that out, you can still order it digitally on Amazon where – for the time being – you’ll really be buying two books for the price of one.  Remind me to write the next book of blogs way before four years, will you?

Until next week,41DsvandphL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-stThe Book of Blogs

Keep living your life!

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thanks Gail, something to think about. My husband would have a fit if I ever decided to do this. He thinks ones body should be whole.

    • Maybe you’d like to share the blog about donation with him, Beverly. He just might change his mind, especially if it’s something you choose for yourself.

  2. Great post and great info. I think about a “good death” and sparing my family as much angst as possible. I highly recommend the book “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers”. It’s fascinating.

    • That sounds pretty cool, Suzanne. I’ll check it out right now. Does it include information about donation?

  3. Great article! I agree that even though out grown children are capable of making choices for us after we pass, for those that have witnessed this, it is to much unnecessary grief added to expect this! No matter what your “plan” is after death, tell your family do they know!

    There is another whole body donation program that you didn’t mention: http://www.lifelegacy.org. They are accredited, are the longest running donation program (since 1997) and they serve every state whereas MedCure and Biogift say they are national but truly only accept donations from select states.

    • Agreed. Thanks for the information about this donation program, Valere. I don’t think people realize that the organ donation on their driving licences and whole body donation for research and teach are two different things. The website for LifeLegacy makes that clear. I wish we had more people interested in this. It can only be good.


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