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Memorial Service Honors Those Who Gave Their Bodies to Science

Andrea Smardon
Mikela Bourne and Eljin Potter at the University of Utah Body Donor Program Grave Site

This weekend, many people will be visiting graves and remembering those who died in military service. But at the Salt Lake City Cemetery Friday, there was a ceremony for those who offered a different kind of service. This memorial was for people who gave their bodies for science at the University of Utah.

Hundreds of people gathered at the body donor program grave site to honor family and friends. Eljin Potter was there to remember someone she just calls Nana.

“The first time that she told me she wanted to be a cadaver, I said Nana you’re crazy, and she said if it helps one person not have to go through the pain and the suffering that I have to go through, it’s exactly what she wanted,” Potter says.  

The bodies are used to help educate future health-care professionals at the University of Utah Medical School. They’re also used by researchers to develop new technologies and surgical procedures. Jessica Montgomery is a doctoral student in the physical therapy program, who just had her first experience in anatomy lab.

“I realized this woman is going to teach me more than any professor than any professor I’m going to have at the U… far more, and that’s saying lot,” Montgomery says.  

She says she and her classmates are deeply grateful for those who have donated their bodies. There were more than 240 donations at the University last year.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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