People have a variety of reasons for wanting to donate their body to medical science. Many people do so because they value education. Often they are educators themselves. They appreciate the education they received when they were younger, and their commitment to “paying it forward” becomes their legacy.

Others donate their bodies to medicine because they value medical care they personally received. For many, it was a treatment that worked, confirmation that medicine is evolving and that we’re helping more people now than ever before. For others, it was a treatment that failed, a signal that we need to learn more, work harder. In either case, the value is in the medical breakthroughs that result when education, research and innovative thinking converge.

Some are repaying a gift they received years before, having learned their way around the human body through the generosity of another.

The human body is marvelous and, yes, mysterious. We may never learn everything there is to know about our bodies or how to treat every ailment that plagues us, but by advancing medical science and through the selfless generosity of donors, knowledge grows.