Families & medical students honor Human Gift Registry donors

By Stephen Baldwin,

The entire first-year class (of nearly 200 medical students) at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine gathered on campus with local families on Friday. Wearing their white coats, they honored the 45 donors who gave their bodies to the school as part of a medical education program which furthers training for future doctors.

Students performed songs including “I Will Remember You” and “Sweet Beulah Land.” Others shared poetry and speeches, all intended to show gratitude to the families of donors.

Nearly 100 family members of donors attended as well, remembering their loved ones and sharing stories privately about why their loved ones chose to give their bodies in service of medical research.

WVSOM staff reserved seats for family members and had tissues as well as memorial gifts ready for each family at the door.

As a local minister, I attended in support of grieving families and shared a few words of encouragement with them and the students. What struck me most about the day was the sense of awe and reverence all in attendance exhibited. Every detail of the ceremony was curated as a sign of gratitude to donors.

One student leader, who also serves in the armed forces, put it best when she said, “This ceremony is one of the main reasons I decided to attend WVSOM.” While other medical schools also offer this same option, she found the attention to detail at WVSOM to be compassionate and and respectful above others she visited.

If you or your loved one is interested in learning more about the Human Gift Registry, visit their website.

WVSOM is located in Lewisburg, WV, and is the nation’s leading provider of rural primary care physicians.

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