Forty-three candles were lit this weekend at PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in honor of the individuals who unselfishly donated their bodies to science.
The 2019 Donor Memorial Service, a lovely and dignified tradition held annually on
Mother’s Day weekend, included a breakfast, words of gratitude from students and faculty
members, a prepared video and the gifting of yellow roses and framed poems. The cremains
of the donors were presented to family members as a candle was lit in their honor
and music played softly.
“Candles represent enlightenment, encouragement, spiritual clarity and reassurance.
These candles symbolize the memory of your loved ones and the lives that they so graciously
shared with us,” Doctor of Osteopathic (DO) Medicine Council President Phi Tran said.
“Although we present you with their physical cremains, let these flames be a lingering
reminder of their impact that continues on within each one of us.”
Chief Campus Officer Bryan Ginn said, “We honor your loved ones for their singular contributions to the body of knowledge
our students have gained. These students will one day impact the world with their
intellect, their compassion and their helpful hearts and hands.”
Christian Pruitt (DO ’22), chair of the DO class of 2022, spoke to the more than 150
family members who attended the service.
He said, “Our gratitude must be represented by a career spent in the service of others,
by days, months and years spent walking alongside our patients through their most
difficult and vulnerable moments. Then, maybe we will come close to doing justice
to your loved one’s gift.”
He continued, “From an anatomy textbook, you can learn the names of muscles, memorize
the locations of arteries, make a list of nerves. But you don’t get a sense of how
they fit together without seeing them for yourself.”
“You then realize that the human body is amazingly intricate.”
Planned by medical, physician assistant and physical therapy students, the service
also provided a time for family members to eulogize their loved ones.
Joseph Dennis of Atlanta, the son of donor Carolyn Geter of Macon, said, “This weekend
is emotional for me. It gives me solace that my mother is leaving a lasting legacy.
This was what she wanted. I’m grieving for her, honoring her and extremely proud of
her that she could leave such a gift.”
Pruitt said, “Our donors showed us that being human is more than being a sum of all
the anatomical parts; there is a real and tangible spiritual component that gives
us life. Your loved ones were our first patients, but we never could ask them, “What
brings you in today?” What makes your pain worse?”, or even “What’s your favorite
“Seeing all of you here today lets us know that they were well loved and that their
story is so much greater than I could have ever imagined in our brief time together.”
Noting that it’s important to combine an empathetic touch with modern medicine, Tran
said, “This service is a good way to remind everyone that there’s a human component
to everything we’ve learned.”
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
For more information, contact: Barbara Myers Senior Public Relations Manager Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: