Woman praised for the legacy she has left after being dissected live on TV
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Featured Image Credit: @blingkofaneye_/Instagram / Channel 4
Warning: This article contains material that some may find distressing
Mum Toni Crews is the subject of the new documentary My Dead Body after she passed away in 2020 due to a rare form of cancer in her tear gland. She made the brave and selfless decision to donate her body to science.
Toni was first diagnosed with cancer in 2016, which eventually led to her losing an eye.
Over the four years she was in treatment, Toni documented her health journey on Instagram, always maintaining an optimistic outlook about life and what lay ahead for her.
Before her passing, Toni agreed to donate her body for public display to help researchers understand her rare condition and, hopefully, go on to improve other people's lives as a result.
According to Channel 4, Toni the first person in the UK to make a donation like this.
In the 'world first' documentary, which aired last night (5 December), Toni's body was dissected with the intention of educating viewers on the science of cancer and its journey through the human body.
At the same time, the mum was remembered for her kind nature and generous spirit, with teams using AI technology and Toni's old diary entries, letters, and social media posts to give viewers an insight into who she was.
While fascinating and inspiring, the documentary was a heartbreaking watch, and after tuning in, impressed viewers flocked to Twitter to discuss Toni's selfless final act.
"Just watched My Dead Body on @channel4 which was a little bit of a sad story, but very interesting to see what happens with a dissection", wrote one user. "It's nice to think that her body will help with medical science and the research into cancer."
A second tweeted: "Channel 4 - My Dead Body. What an amazing and truly inspirational woman! To leave such a legacy and go on to help so many people in the future by donating her body to science!may she rest in peace."
And a third commented: "I just watched My Dead Body on Channel 4. What an amazing young woman Toni was. What a gift she left for medical teaching, a legacy for the future understanding of cancer. A brave and selfless mother to her children. She will never be forgotten."
Professor Claire Smith, head of anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, also commented on Toni's inspiring donation before the documentary aired, starting: "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."
My Dead Body is still available to watch now on All 4.
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