Ceremony honors lives of 50 people who donated their bodies to s - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ceremony honors lives of 50 people who donated their bodies to science

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The lives of more than 50 people were put to rest today, a year after their deaths.  For 19 months, their bodies were used by University of Iowa medical students for educational purposes.

The bodies were donated to the Deeded Body Program, which means funeral services were delayed for many families.  A memorial ceremony was held Friday at Oakland Cemetary in Iowa City for family members to finally say their goodbyes.

For the students, they develop a special relationship with the donors. Students from various medical departments spoke at the ceremony.

"You know their body so well, but you can't answer anything about their life. You don't even know their name, and so being able to come and talk to the families it's really impactful for me," Samantha Sparrow, University of Iowa Physician Assistant student, said.

The ceremony was also an opportunity to thank the donors through their loved ones.

"Because of the generosity of your loved ones, we were able to visualize and understand all of the intricacies and variances between bodies, on a level that textbooks and visual models can never reproduce," Katelyn Burger, University of Iowa Physical Therapy student, said.

More than 200 people donated their bodies last year alone. While 50 were laid to rest Friday, the rest had remains returned to loved ones.

Learn more about the Deeded Body Program at UI here.

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