Gift Body Memorial

Thursday, May 19, 2022 at noon

The KCU campus communities held a heartfelt ceremony as we memorialized those who bequeathed their bodies to science and our medical program. Their gift as a body donor made a profound statement attesting to their generosity and desire to teach our students how to become caring, competent physicians.

We hope this meaningful memorial service provides insights into the tremendous impact of their loved ones’ gift on the healing of humankind.

Honoring Your Loved One

My experience in the anatomy lab is one that will continue to mold my training as a physician for years to come. I am remarkably grateful for the amazing men and women who provided one final selfless act of service by donating their body to medical education. The hours of hands-on training that was provided in the anatomy laboratory has significantly increased my medical knowledge and understanding of the human body. This same knowledge that was learned through the anatomical study of the donor’s body will be used to extend the lives of my future patients. I am indebted to the sacrifice of the incredible donors. Thank you for your selflessness and generosity.

– Donald Keating

As a student doctor, I could receive no greater gift than that of your loved one for my training. I am grateful and want to extend my gratitude to you as their family. Your loved one has provided many future providers, including myself, a wonderful opportunity to learn. This has been an opportunity to begin experiencing what it means to care for and respect another being. I was impressed with the level of respect maintained as we worked through the year. Thank you for the gift of learning and the opportunity to take part in your loved one continuing to serve humanity even after passing.


 - Josiah Glise

Anatomy lab is an experience that I loved and will always cherish. It is an incredible privilege to learn from the donors and I cannot thank the donors and their families enough. Anatomy lab is a special place where I have been able to challenge myself and truly learn more than I could have ever imagined. It is a unique experience being able to bond with the donor and appreciate the art of anatomy. It has made me a better student and will ultimately make me a better physician in the future. The generosity of the donors and their families is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

– Klea Agollari

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to learn from the donors in anatomy lab this year. In today's world, so much of our learning is done over the computer, but I truly believe nothing can compare to learning in person from real people, especially when it comes to anatomy. I personally have a hard time simply imaging all the different parts of the body and how they work together, and so I did not really feel like I understood the material until I was able to see it all in person. This is not an honor I take lightly, especially as many students were not given this chance because of the pandemic and many shifts to virtual learning. I enjoyed my time in anatomy lab so much that I plan to serve as a tutor next year, so I can help the next class of students with their understanding of the human body. 

Thank you,

– Stephanie Cox

Thank you for trusting our class with your loved ones. I cherished every moment I spent in the lab learning from our donors. The gift of their bodies is truly priceless. I am forever grateful to have had the privilege of learning the intricacies of the human body thanks to their help, and I will pay their gift forward in every patient I treat.

– Austin Skinner

I want to thank our donors and their loving families for the gift they gave us this year. Due to your generosity, the legacy of your loved ones will continue for many years and touch hundreds to thousands of lives through the students they taught. This experience is something I cherish and will use as I continue my journey to becoming a physician. I cannot say this with enough sincerity or gratefulness to convey how honored I am. Thank you for everything your families have done for the Class of 2025.

– Tressa Asbury

Thank you. Thank you for being our first patients and trusting us with such a powerful and selfless gift. Your generosity has helped shape me into a better future physician and has taught me so much more than I could ever thank you for. Starting off in the anatomy lab was intimidating, but the amount of growth and knowledge I gained throughout this past year because of your contribution has been truly invaluable. To your friends and family, thank you for sharing your loved one with us. You all have my deepest gratitude. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


– Andrea Nguyen

Dear family and friends of our donors, I thoroughly appreciate your loved ones' decision to donate their bodies. Their selfless donation is highly beneficial to our learning process, and significantly deepened our understanding of human bodies. I will graciously remember them.

Best regards,

– Hanyu Liu

I am forever grateful to the donor who has given me a learning experience of immeasurable value. Though I may never be able to repay them for their selfless sacrifice, I can ensure that their memory lives on through the compassionate care I deliver to my future patients. I am forever grateful and humbled.


– Ian Jasso

Having a Catholic background, I prayed to God to give me the opportunity to be his hands in healing his people. The generous donors who allowed us to receive such an invaluable and humbling experience, I cannot thank each and every family for being a part of our journey to become healers. The mystical part about being in lab was that I felt each of my donors trying to reach out and guide us to discover the best representation of structures in their bodies. I am very grateful to have been able to experience this and I cannot express my gratitude fully but will pay it forward to my future patients by providing them the best care throughout their lives.

Thank you again for your family member’s generosity and choosing to enhance our learning at KCU.

– Thomas No’eau Parpana

I am so deeply grateful to you and your loved one for their extremely generous donation. I truly considered my time in anatomy lab as my first patient encounter as a medical student. The knowledge I gained from working in lab is truly invaluable and I know will make me a better doctor. Furthermore, physically learning through these donors enabled me to remember that no matter what I may encounter in my future practice, there is a person and a family that needs to always be my first priority. Words cannot truly articulate my gratitude so although I thank you and your loved one profusely I will always remember your generous donation to my education and work to the best possible physician I can be. 

– Rachel Black

The opportunity that KCU provided us to work with real human anatomy is one that I will be grateful for the rest of my career. I have enjoyed anatomy and learning how the body works since I was younger, but getting to be in the lab every week only confirmed how important this is to our education, as well as renewed my enthusiasm for medicine. I am ever grateful for these individuals that graciously donated their bodies so that we may continue to learn and grow. Seeing my donor still have their nails painted was moving as it lets you remember how these people were loved and cared for in their lives, and I felt a sense of duty to care for them in the same manner in the lab. My experiences impacted me so much that I will be continuing during my second year to assist in the lab so that I can help share this experience with the next class of incoming student doctors.

Thank you,

– Abigail Nardi

As a first-year medical student, I took anatomy for the first-time this year. I was worried about the sheer amount of information we had to learn. I was also nervous to work with real bodies for the very first time. I remember very clearly our first day in the lab; I do not think I will ever forget that day. Before we started doing anything, our professors asked us to have a moment of silence for the donors who gave us their bodies to learn from. Those couple of minutes of silence were greater and louder than anything I experienced this entire year. Even though we did not get to know their names or identities, they were individuals with lives, stories, and families. I gave both the donors I worked with names – Grandpa Joe and Grandma Mary. As we worked with the bodies, I did not want to forget what they have done for students who were complete strangers to them. It is not enough, but with full heartedness I say I am grateful for the individuals who gave us the opportunity to learn so much. I also want to say thank you to the families. It must have been a difficult decision, so thank you for enabling us to become good physicians one day.  

Thank you,

–  Doopashika Welikala

To the donors and their loved ones – thank you. This year spent in the lab with our donor could not have been a more eye-opening, fulfilling, and educational experience that I feel has tremendously prepared me for my future as a physician. I am truly grateful for the time I have had in lab, made possible by you.

Thank you!

–  Jennifer Nguyen

The donors offered us an experience of a lifetime. Thanks to them we were able to learn about the human body in an unparalleled, hands-on approach. Through their generous donation we will be able to aid generations to come. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we will be forever grateful for the knowledge that they helped impart onto us.

–  Nathan Salts

This program is essential in preparing us to be capable, caring, and passionate physicians. We got to work together each week and were able to put what we were learning in the classroom to use in the lab. It was invaluable to be able to see the human body in that way, and I cannot thank the Anatomical Gift Body Program enough for allowing us to further our education that will undoubtedly help so many people in the future. I feel more confident in my knowledge of medicine, and it is because of this program. I want to sincerely thank the families of the donors for entrusting us with their family members and for seeing the value of this remarkable program. 

–  Megan Unrath

Thank you to the donors who taught me the wonders of the human body. I will never forget the experience of anatomy lab thanks to the selfless donation that lasted beyond their lifetime. It was an honor to learn from their hands that worked diligently to help others, feet that carried them down many paths, and minds that were full of memories. They gave me the opportunity to learn everything about them so that I can treat others. Their gift is one I honor, respect, and will remember long after this moment. Thank you for allowing me the honor of getting to know you. 


–  Olivia Morley

I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn anatomy through hands-on experiences, and this would not be possible without this program. Learning anatomy is a crucial aspect of medical education and I think it is most effective and beneficial when this is done in an in-person lab. My favorite aspect of our curriculum has been learning anatomy and I know it has provided me with invaluable training. I am very thankful for all the donors who graciously donated to this program, and who have provided the ability for students to learn skills and knowledge that will be used to treat future patients. This program contributes to the learning and understanding of so many individuals, and I am very appreciative of all the donors. Thank you.

 - Larissa Vollin

My time spent with the donors has been invaluable to my education. Learning from them was quite a humbling experience. I received a greater understanding of and appreciation for the human body than I ever could have from text and images alone. I am incredibly grateful for the generosity of both the donors and their families.


 - Kaedon Buchmiller

Getting to study in the anatomy lab has been a tremendous learning experience. Studying anatomical structures from a textbook is one thing, but physically seeing those structures in real life is another – no resource will ever be able to truly compare to that. However, none of this would have been possible without the selfless, invaluable gift that each of our donors willingly gave to us. I am truly grateful to every one of them for allowing us to have the opportunity to learn more about the human body. I will not soon forget the experience that I was able to have because of them.

 - Ethan Hayes

I would like to thank you for the precious gift of your family member’s body donation. I cannot properly convey the importance and invaluable learning opportunity this provided for our medical class of two thousand and twenty-five. I will take this knowledge and use it to help others in their pursuit of health. Our classed strived to treat your family member with the utmost respect and reverence. I hope to offer you some closure knowing that even after death your family member is helping many others by training the next generation of physicians.


 - Brad Parker

Dear Families,

Thank you for the ultimate gift to help me to further my education. Compared to the class before me who did not have access to anatomy labs, I can tell that I have a better understanding of the human system than they do. I will be able to use your gift to influence other people's lives, as I am going into surgery. I don't think any words can do my gratitude justice, but thank you.


 - Johnson Poon

I don't know who you were.
I don't know how many hands have held yours.
I don't know how many hugs you have given.
Or how many times you've made someone smile.
But I do know that someone loved you enough to make sure your fingernails were painted your favorite color.
And that's all I need to know.

 - Whitney Gilmore

It's hard to put into words the invaluable contribution each of these individuals made to dedicate their body to medicine. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities they have provided us: their sacrifice has allowed us to grow as students, as researchers, and most importantly, as human beings. I truly believe each of us has learned to become more thoughtful and empathetic medical students, able to take the same caring nature to our own patients in a few years. They have taught us how to work alongside one another as a team, to collaborate and communicate effectively with one another. They have allowed us to gain a profound sense of understanding of the human body, to solve future health problems. Thank you for allowing us to honor them today. 

 - Rachel Steffes

The anatomy lab provided me with a learning experience unlike any other. Textbooks and anatomy drawings can only provide so much detail, but having the opportunity to be hands-on cemented so many concepts for me. Being in the anatomy lab also made me realize truly how precious life is.  I am forever grateful for the donors and their families; if not for them, I would not have the grasp on anatomy that I do nor would I be so conscious that every decision I make impacts my mind and body. I cannot say thank you enough for the donations, they truly made first year remarkable.

 - Annie Konrad

I am super thankful for the opportunity to learn from your loved one. Because of them, I was able to learn anatomy which will further help me treat my patients in the future. Whenever I was in the anatomy lab, I was excited because I had an opportunity to understand the human body and all its anatomical features. It helped me connect what I was learning in lectures to what I was seeing, and it made learning all the material that much easier. Another part of my anatomy experience revolved around respecting the journey the cadaver I was learning from had been through. From our side, all we saw was basic history on the diseases they may have had and other demographics but in my mind, I always reflected on how they were at once living just like me. Sometimes that concept seemed so difficult to understand but that made me even more thankful to my cadavers for allowing me to learn from them. For that reason, before I would start lab, I would thank my cadaver in my head. I may be done learning anatomy, but I will never forget that the reason I mastered the subject was because of all the cadavers. It is a gift that I will cherish forever. May they Rest in Peace.

 - Anonymous MS Class of 2025

The depth of education I experienced in lab this year will be beneficial beyond measure to the success of my future career, but more importantly, for the health of my future patients. The human body is extremely complex and individually unique. Each donor provided different opportunities for learning for myself and my classmates. The ailments that my donor specifically experienced throughout his life allowed me to visualize these disease processes in ways I will never get to see them in my future patients. Through his gift of donation, he provided me with extensive understanding that I will apply as a practicing physician. The selflessness required to donate one's body to medical education is incredible, and "thank you" will never be enough to express how much it is appreciated. 

 - Natalie Sipes

Learning from the donors was an incredibly humbling experience and I was awestruck daily by the complexities of the human body. What I learned from the body of my donor is invaluable to me, as a training physician, and I am so grateful for the selfless gift they gave me and how much they’ve helped propel my understanding of medicine and the human anatomy.

I will absolutely be a better doctor for my future patients because of their donation. Each donor had a completely different past medical history, body-type, family, and life story, but all made the decision to help educate future healthcare professionals.

I cannot overstate my appreciation for anyone whose family members have donated their bodies to science or who plan to themselves. Thank you for teaching us.

 - Grace Howell

As a first-year medical student, participating in the anatomy lab has been one of the greatest learning tools I have ever experienced. The gift that these donors gave us, their bodies, taught me more than any lecture or video ever could. Over the course of the year, being able to physically engage with human anatomy and feel the structures and spaces of the body solidified my knowledge of the subject. The donors truly changed the way I look at anatomy and they helped me solidify the facts and material I was presented in lecture. Their gift will help me become a much better physician than I could have ever imagined. I could never thank them enough.

Thank you,

 - Olivia Langton

First and foremost, I want to say thank you so much for the extraordinary gift your family member has made to my medical education and career. I have never stepped inside an anatomy lab until this year and am immensely grateful to have the privilege to learn from them. This has been a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity that has heightened my understanding of the intricacies of the human body and my responsibilities as a healthcare provider to heal this complicated, but wonderfully designed structure. I will forever remember them in great admiration as my first teachers.

Thank you,

 - Jennifer Song

My experiences in the anatomy lab this past year have been nothing short of extraordinary. They often say that cadavers are considered our first "teachers" in medical school, and I never quite understood that until I started learning in the lab. Learning the typical anatomy of a body in a lecture/textbook and then going into lab to see how it actually looks on a real human was fascinating to me, as we got to see certain anomalies or size differences that were unique to that person. I feel grateful to have gained so much knowledge from the donors along with my fellow classmates, and I feel honored that these donors allowed us to learn anatomy from their bodies.


 - Sahana Reddy

Often in medical training we don't get the opportunity to just reflect on our learning experience, however for me, the anatomy lab was quite opposite. It is with the utmost sincerity that I thank you for donating to KCU. The tangibility of what seemed so abstract in the lecture halls was undeniably helpful. I could go on for hours about the ability to touch/feel/see disease in front of you, but the best part of growth for me was in respect for the body. I am a very religious person, so I also used the experience to pray over their life, and just simple respect for continuing to impact others. It may seem odd, but being able to respect a cadaver gave me a greater understanding and respect for my future patients. Your kindness in donation will never be lost on me.


 - Diana Mantilla