When Donald Freeman died of cancer back in September, his wife Bobbie Sue knew his service on earth wasn't done.
"We loved each other so much," said Freeman.
Before he died, the Freemans both decided to donate their bodies to science. Wednesday the University of Mississippi Medical Center honored folks like Donald Freeman and their surviving family members for an invaluable gift that will leave lasting impacts in medical research and education.
"We are very fortunate that people in Mississippi take this very seriously, "said Dr. James Keeton, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at UMMC.
Keeton says of the hundreds of bodies donated each year, each one plays a role in future healthcare. If not for donations from people like Donald Freeman, Keeton says medical students like Sarah Ali would be without a crucial part of their education.
"We're able to have a hands on experience. It's our first patient. It's the first person that we're able to work on and really learn from and it's a person that we'll remember forever throughout any of the other patients that we interact with," said Ali.
For Freeman, that's worth the sacrifice.
"If we could help them, that's what we wanted to do," said Freeman.
When the Freemans decided to have their bodies donated, Bobbie Sue says it was a simple conversation which medical leaders say more people should have.
"It's a very easy conversation to have because people know how important it is," said Keeton.
"To be able to serve life even in death is probably the greatest gift or contribution anybody can make to humanity," said Ali.
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