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Save the date: Body Bequest Program’s annual memorial service is May 5

April 21, 2017

The annual memorial service commemorating the lives of those who donated their bodies to the Wayne State University School of Medicine Body Bequest Program for medical education will take place at 11 a.m. May 5, inside the chapel at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens Cemetery, located at 43300 West 12 Mile Road, in Novi, Mich.

The one-hour, minister-officiated service is held yearly to pay respects to the donors, and includes the burial of their cremated remains. Donor families are invited to attend the service, which is organized by the Body Bequest Program’s Mortuary Supervisor Barbara Rosso-Norgan, B.S., M.S.L., and first-year medical students, who serve as pallbearers and ushers, and read the names of those being remembered. The school’s Ultra Sounds acapella group will perform.

“These donors have given their bodies to teach these students. Their families are following through on the wishes of their loved ones so that our students here, and medical residents within area hospitals, will be able to learn,” Rosso-Norgan said. “They receive no compensation for this. They do it because they feel this will help future doctors learn and understand how the body works, and they have hope that future generations will benefit from the knowledge these medical students and residents gain.”

Medical students Zahraa Alqatan, Anthony Lemieux and John Condello are expected to speak on the Class of 2020’s behalf.

“Usually they speak about what it meant to them and they promise to carry the memory of their cadaver with them for the rest of their lives. They all say what an unselfish gift they feel it was that these people donated themselves to help others they had never met,” Rosso-Norgan added. “After this service, you walk away feeling like you were part of something bigger than yourself. It’s an awesome feeling.”

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