Testimonials from Last Gift Study Participants

“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

“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.”Blake, partner of the first Last Gift study participant Tony Bennett

“My death will not [be] in vain. It will allow me to leave a positive legacy and inspire others to give back.” Last Gift Participant

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to do something that is, that will make all this [HIV and terminal illness] meaningful.” – Last Gift Participant

“At the age of 89, I still have something worthwhile to give back, because I’ve had a good life, and being diagnosed with HIV didn’t ruin my life in any way.” – Last Gift Participant

“Wanting to give back something before my life ends. Just wanting to know that I have been grateful for all that has happened with me in terms of HIV, and those that went before me and I wanna be able to possibly do something that will benefit those that will come after me, since I benefited [from] those who gave before me.” – Last Gift Participant

“I believed in this study from the first time I heard about it… I feel privileged to be a part of it. And I hope that good can come of it.” – Last Gift Participant