UNM’s medical school honors cadaver donors

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman’s parents decided to donate their bodies to medical research, changing the course of her life, too.

“It was kinda like, oh my gosh, no, I don’t think I want that to happen,” said Gail Green.

Green was shocked to learn her parents, Daniel and Ruth Cella, had made a big decision.

“About 20 years ago, Mom and Dad told me that they had been to a health fair and donated their bodies to medical research,” said Green.

Their bodies ended up being used at UNM’s School of Medicine. At first, the thought unnerved Green.

“Just in the thought process of what that all involved and what was gonna happen to them in the future. I sorta was not in favor of it.”

Before Green’s father died in 2003, he had told her he wanted something good to come out of his battle with Lewybody Disease and his death.

Green said, “If by donating my body they can find something to help someone else later, he said, then I did good and my mom lived her life that way too.”

That’s why when it was Ruth’s time last May she followed in her husband’s footsteps.

“She was a very generous person throughout her life and in donating her body it’s a continuing extension of her and of her thoughts and how she wants to help people,” said Green.

She was just one of 52 people honored Saturday at UNM’s Medical School for donating their bodies.

A donation the medical students say is a gift that will stick with them.

“Every time now that I do a physical exam on a patient, when I listen to a heart, I see that donor’s heart, when I listen to a donor’s lungs I see that donor’s lungs,” said UNM Medical Student Molly Whitt.

Green found the impact so meaningful, that she went from hating the idea, to signing up herself and her husband.

“The only thing we have in life is to help each other, Mom and Dad instilled that in me, obviously by their actions. If a little part of me can help someone else, somewhere down the line, then that’s what I choose to do as well,” said Green.

Between 60 and 80 bodies are used each year by UNM’s medical school. Click here to learn more about the Anatomical Donation program, or call 272-5555.

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