Griffith gives thanks for the greatest gift

A special Thanksgiving Service took place last night, Wednesday (October 29), when Griffith University honoured  the 57 people who have bequeathed their bodies to the Body Donation Program over the past 12 months.

The names of these donors will be entered into the Griffith University Book of Remembrance, as a permanent reminder of the gift which will enable vital anatomy teaching and research.

This year has seen the greatest number of donations to the program since it began in 2006, and brings a total of 217 people who have donated their bodies.

The sound of bagpipes was one of the highlights at the sixth annual Griffith University Thanksgiving service as Griffith student Miss Yasu Hamilton plays The March of the King of Laois. Yasu says the occasion is not lost on her. “It is a fantastic privilege to be able to play the pipes at such an important occasion.”

Education benefits

Griffith students have already reaped vital education benefits from the body donation program.

Master of Pharmacy student Adam Parker has the honour of carrying the Book of Remembrance at the ceremony. “Participating in the Thanksgiving Service for the last four years has been a very humbling experience for me,” he says.

“It is a real privilege to be given this opportunity to pay my respects to the individuals who have so generously donated this greatest gift towards the furthering of medical education. The Book of Remembrance contains the names of those who have enhanced our learning through the years, providing future doctors with invaluable experience to assist us in the provision of improved medical care to the community.”

The service began with a procession of students, academics and invited guests, led by Adam as he carried the Book of Remembrance. A minute’s silence followed the reading out of the donors’ names.

Head of the School of Anatomy, Professor Mark Forwood says the program supports the education of health students in disciplines such as medicine, medical science, pharmacy, physiotherapy, exercise science, dentistry and oral health.

“Body donations from the local community are vitally important so our health students can receive practical training in human anatomy,” he says. “The generosity of body donors, our new state-of the-art anatomy facilities, and committed teachers ensure our students receive the very best preparation for their chosen careers.”

The Griffith Health Centre is home to some of the country’s most advanced anatomy facilities and includes an increased student capacity with labs which can cater for up to 300 students at one time; a ten table surgical skills laboratory and a 50 seat Anatomy and Pathology learning centre.

More than 1400 Griffith University first year students use these facilities each year.

“We are very appreciative of the decisions made by these donors and the support shown by their families. This Thanksgiving Service is a public demonstration of that appreciation,” Professor Forwood says.

For more information about Griffith’s Body Donation program, please phone 07 5552 7700 or email [email protected]