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On Dec. 5, second year medical students filled the MBRB auditorium with music as they paid tribute to their cadaver donors in an emotional memorial service. As they sang, performed, and offered reflections, the students often spoke directly to the donors’ families in attendance.

“We are honored to pay tribute to those who have shaped our education,” said Ned Hardison, MS2 co-president and one of the event’s organizers. “Your loved ones were our first patients, our first true interaction with the human body.”

Hardison’s co-president, Ammu Vijay, said the donors and medical students share the “journey of discovery.”

In between these reflections, multiple students performed. The UNC School of Medicine’s a Capella group, the MedUNCedoos, kicked off the ceremony with a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” other students sang, and some performed on piano, cello and saxophone.

This year’s ceremony also included representatives from the Physician’s Assistant program and School of Dentistry, who also work with cadavers in their introductory courses.

In a spoken word reflection, Kunal Patel offered a moving tribute to these “silent teachers.”

“Our goal should be to make them proud to have us as part of their legacy,” he said.

The event concluded with a photo slideshow, a poignant reminder of the full lives of the donors, and the reason their contributions are so worthy of celebration.