Woman will have her corpse dissected on television in 'world first' tonight
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WARNING: This article contains material that some might find distressing.
A poignant documentary set to air tonight will show a woman having her corpse dissected in a 'world first'.
Channel 4's My Dead Body centres on Toni Crews, the brave young mum who donated her body to science before she passed away. You can watch a video in which the case is explained below:
Crews died in August 2020 aged 30 after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her tear gland in 2016, which led to her losing an eye.
Throughout her treatment, she kept her followers updated on her progress on Instagram while also expressing her positive and spiritual attitude towards life and death.
During this time, Crews also donated her body in order to help researchers develop a deeper understanding of her illness and improve the lives of others.
And now her body will be dissected on TV, something Channel 4 describes as a 'world first'.
Per the network: "Toni was the first person in the UK to elect to donate her body for public display.
"This film shows the dissection of Toni’s body during a series of educational workshops - the first time a dissection has been captured on TV of a named donor - which is intended to educate viewers on the science of cancer and its journey through the human body."
It's safe to say that for Toni's parents, Jo and Jason Crews, it's been a rollercoaster of emotions.
Speaking to the Guardian, Jason said: "Both in life and death, Toni put others first.
"It was easier to watch than I expected. And it didn’t look like Toni, so I could mentally distance myself from it."
Jo added: "It’s the more personal side that gets me: the minute’s silence where the students say thank you to Toni; where one of the medical team cries her eyes out.
"The fact that Toni made this journey, yet touched so many people regardless.
"It’s what she wanted - to be a force for good. And soon, she’ll do that for millions of others."
Professor Claire Smith, head of anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said: "We have been so privileged to explore the journey of cancer through the incredible donation made by Toni.
"As part of this documentary, we were able to invite more than 1,000 students, including nurses, paramedics and neuroscientists, who wouldn’t normally get to learn about this one in a million cancer.
"Toni’s gift of body donation doesn’t end with this documentary either; her body will be used to educate our medical students and doctors for years to come."
As well as giving a unique insight into the disease, the documentary utilised AI technology and processed Toni's diary entries, letters and social media posts to replicate her voice.
By doing so, Channel 4 commissioning editor Anna Miralis said this will ensure the film is 'filled with all the warmth and generosity that characterised Toni’s inspiring life'.
My Dead Body airs tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677