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A case for donating bodies for medical research

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-10 07:11
JIN DING/CHINA DAILY

Chen Weiwei should have been writing her national college entrance examination, or gaokao, and planning her future career now. But destiny had other plans. Last August, the 18-year-old was diagnosed with advanced stage Burkitt's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. She underwent chemotherapy but despite all efforts to treat her, she passed away on May 14.

Before she breathed her last, Chen decided to donate her body for medical research. According to reports, she said cancer was a complicated disease and she hoped her body would help researchers in their fight against the disease so that other people don't have to undergo her ordeal.

Without doubt, Chen is no less than a hero in the fight against the disease. She was determined to live even after being diagnosed with the disease, underwent painful chemotherapy four times despite knowing that the chances of her survival were low. She made a contribution to the fight against the disease by donating her body.

If medical science defeats Burkitt's lymphoma in the future, the contribution of Chen, and thousands of others who have donated their bodies for research, should not be forgotten.

Since ancient times, anatomical studies have aided medical science and progress, which would otherwise have been impossible. Even in the fight against the novel coronavirus pneumonia, anatomical studies on bodies in February helped doctors better understand how the virus attacks human lungs and how to cope with it.

For these reasons, donors are treated with respect in every country. In China, medical students address them as "my teacher".

More people in China are now willing to donate their bodies for research, from 0.03 percent in 2010 to 3.72 percent in 2017. Chen's case should create greater awareness about the need, and lead to an increase in such donations.

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