“I’ve also decided to participate in UCSD’s Last Gift Project. It is my wish that immediately upon my passing a quick autopsy be done, as there can be so much more information gleaned in those precious hours following death. There is an understandable debate surrounding the medical ethics of asking terminally ill patients to commit to donating their bodies to science and even perhaps enduring some suffering in the process (regular blood draws, urine samples, lumbar puncture etc). The big question is if you have a limited amount of time left, how much of that time would you give back to advance medical research and science? And is it fair to ask the most vulnerable among us to make these decisions? For me the answer is clear. My decision is based in the fact that I do not fear death, but rather I fear incapacitation and a feeling of helplessness when, in fact I can be quite helpful.”

-Michael Danielson, a Last Gift participant

Read more from Michael Danielson at his blog on CaringBridge.org.  A renowned movie publicist, he worked on numerous films including his latest titled I’ll Push You. Watch a moving interview about the film and his work here

 

“Thank you for being there. You all made such a difference in Tony’s life – your projects let him pass at ease, knowing that he had done something so worthwhile with his life and being able to contribute to your studies. It meant so much to him. Thank YOU for all that you have done and the research that you are doing.”

-An excerpt of a note from Blake, partner of Tony Bennett (our first Last Gift participant), after Tony’s memorial service