Kokua Line Donors’ bodies’ ‘cremains’ spread at sea in yearly rite By June Watanabe Sept. 16, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Question: If you donate your body to the University of Hawaii medical school, how long before you get the body back? Answer: Bodies donated to the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Willed Body Program are kept for medical education and research an average of two to 18 months. The bodies are then cremated, and most "cremains" are returned to the family, on average, in less than a year, said Steven Labrash, director of the Willed Body Program. Donors or their families also may choose to have the cremains scattered at sea during an annual memorial service held by medical students and staff honoring the "silent teachers." "Because of our gracious donors, we are able to teach not only our future doctors, but also residents and surgeons who are already licensed and practicing," he said. On the program’s website, it’s explained that anatomy, the study of structure and function of the human body, "is one of the most important courses in the education of physicians, therapists and all other health care professions. … Body donation plays a critical role in helping medical and health-related science students to master the complex anatomy of the human body and provides researchers with an essential tool for discoveries to help patients." The program has grown slowly and consistently over the years, Labrash said. In 2004 there were 34 donated bodies to the program; last year there were 142. It changes a little each year, but generally, slightly more male bodies than females are donated, he said. More information about UH’s Willed Body Program can be found online at jabsom.hawaii.edu/jabsom/community/willedbody.php. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 692-1445 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Other Donation Facts » Even if you donate your body to the school, you can still donate internal organs — eyes, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, brain and spinal cord — for transplantation after you die. » A body may not be accepted if the program is not notified within 72 hours after death; has an infections disease, such as hepatitis B or C, HIV, prion diseases (progressive neurodegenerative disorders) or active TB; or because of traumatic death. The final decision is at the discretion of the director. » If a donor dies outside the state, the nearest medical school may accept the body as part of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. » For donors who die on Oahu, the program will cover all fees for transportation of the body to the school and for cremation. For donors who die on a neighbor island, the family or estate is responsible for mortuary preparation and transportation to Honolulu. Once the body arrives at Honolulu Airport, the program will cover transportation fees and cremation. » The program does not provide death certificates, which must be purchased from the state Department of Health. Mahalo Belatedly to a kind woman. I’m handicapped and was waiting to be picked up by the Handi-Van at Kaiser Moanalua one day. I saw a Kaiser worker pushing a young woman in a wheelchair. A car drove up, and a woman who looked like the young woman’s mother got out, helped her into the car and gave the worker a hug. She then opened the back door and brought out a bouquet of flowers for her daughter. She opened the back door again and got two single roses, bringing one over to me, to my surprise. I thanked her and watched as she gave the other rose to another senior citizen. I finally got home, tired and exhausted, and put the rose in a vase. Every time I was tired or concerned about a future medical procedure, I would look at that rose and it would brighten my day. That beautiful rose lasted five days. The rose is gone, but the memory of that kind woman who gave it to me still brightens my day. God bless her for her thoughtfulness. — A Senior Citizen Write to “Kokua Line” at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email email@example.com. Previous Story Drivers just have to cope with badly timed signals Next Story City law calls for taxicabs to be 'reasonably clean'