Content here represents the voice of SIGNATURE SUNSETS, an informational initiative designed to broaden and brighten horizons in the funerary domain.

The material is an outgrowth of a pre-planning reference book, Pondering Leaves: Composing and Conveying Your Life Story's Epilogue, written by the author of this blog.


Thursday, June 20, 2013


JOURNEY JOURNAL... Hanover, Maryland


The Anatomy Gifts Registry relates to a passage, but not a wedding or new baby milestone that we ordinarily associate with gift registries.  This one has more far-reaching benefaction, beyond the confines of a group of family and friends.  It requires no expenditure on the part of the giver.  It has nothing to do with products.  Rather, it pertains to utility and repurposing of an incalculable treasure, the human body.   

Think of the gamut of people whose work requires knowledge of at least some aspect of anatomy and physiology.  A tissue bank such as this one provides physicians, nurses, EMTs, forensic pathologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, students, and related practitioners with hands-on opportunities to learn and practice.  Whether they acquire new skills or new insights, clinicians, researchers, educators, and others in bodily oriented fields are able to reap advancement and enlightenment from donated physical material.  Development of surgical instrumentation and finessing of new techniques, research and treatment of injuries and pathological conditions, and exploration of diseased or normal organs and tissues are among the processes that can be implemented through this resource. 

Tissues surgically retrieved from donated bodies are made available according to stringent regulations for distribution nationally and worldwide.  Or they may be employed on site in the training laboratory that practitioners, educators, or organizations can rent. 

If you were to take a closer look through the front door, you would see a 650-square-foot conference/classroom suite with a series of tables on both sides of the room and two chairs at each.  Large screens for viewing of training videos or surgical proceedings taking place in the adjacent lab are situated on the wall behind the front desk.  Videoconferencing allows for inclusion of widespread audiences in remote locations.  When a lab is underway, you’d probably see surgically garbed participants.  Beyond this room is the modern 4000- square-foot surgical skills training center, an operating room type of milieu with state-of-the-art instruments and cameras.   

Individuals in many states around the country can choose to donate their bodies to this non-profit corporation that is the largest whole-body donation registry.  It is conveniently located close to three international airports.  Advance registration enables a swift and smooth transition once death has occurred.  Instead of contacting a funeral home, a family member connects by phone with an AGR representative who sets the wheels in motion and arranges for transport of the body to their facility.  Additionally, the death will be registered in the appropriate state’s department of records.  
AGR utilizes its own two-unit crematory, located next door to its lab.  Cremated remains are returned to the family within four to six weeks and consist of portions of the body not used for study or practice purposes.  Folks may choose to conduct a memorial service once the remains have been received.  

At some point during the ensuing months, a donor’s family is sent a letter that identifies the particular medical and research applications that were employed. 

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