Medical school students make a pledge at the Body Donation Day ceremony in Fushouyuan Cemetery, Qingpu District.(Ti Gong)
Families of people who donated their bodies or organs last year from four districts of Shanghai yesterday visited the memorial stone tablet inscribed with the donors' names in Fushouyuan Cemetery in Qingpu District, the Red Cross Society of China's local branch said.
Yesterday was the 16th Shanghai Body Donation Day. Local Red Cross Society branches in other districts will organize tomb-sweeping events for the body or organ donors' families from today to Wednesday.
By the end of last year, 47,737 residents in the city have signed up for body or cornea donation and 10,467 bodies have been donated, according to Zhang Haoliang, standing vice president of the Red Cross Society of China's Shanghai branch.
Meanwhile, nearly 9,000 people filled out forms to donate their organs and the donations of 462 of them brought hope to more than 1,300 patients, the Red Cross Society said.
Zhang Li, an official with the Yangpu District's Red Cross Society, said that the number of people registering to donate their bodies is increasing.
"Various factors influence the trend: the shortage of land resources, the high price of tomb, the parents' unwillingness to add burden to the children after death," Zhang said, adding that "most important is love and a heart for contribution."
He also said that "people are more open to body or organ donation and they are more willing to do this."
Lu Hongying, 49, a representative of the donors' families in Jiading District, said she also registered to donate her body in December last year following her parents' donation.
"My father Lu Kaibin passed away in July last year at the age of 92. He was a retired cadre who made contribution on protecting the state property before liberation," said Lu. "After he retired, he also served as the community's Party branch secretary and a lecturer to schools on revolutionary education." Lu said her father always told them that his life was given by the Party and hoped to donate it to the country.
"I respect my parents' decision and my son respects mine," Lu told Shanghai Daily.
Yu Chong, a 33-year-old lady whose parents made up their mind to donate the body, also showed respect to her parents' decision. "They think it's a great thing (to donate their body) and I think it's good as well. Maybe I'll follow them in the future."
Many of those who signed up to donate their bodies, like Li Mei, 74, were influenced by big-hearted people around them.
"My female cousin and her husband have registered for body donation," Li, who signed up to donate her body last year, told Shanghai Daily. "And the wife of one of my friends, who suffered stomach cancer at 60 and passed away in half a year, decided to donate her body before she died."
She thought the body donation is a way that benefits society and the family. "It can contribute to our country's medical development and research. It also reduces the burden of our children."
The decision to donate a body could also be heartbreaking for the donor's family. A 69-year-old ex-soldier surnamed Li and his wife lost their only 42-year-old son who died of a brain stem hemorrhage. They hope their son's life can continue in others via a body donation.
"We struggled when making this decision," a teary-eyed Li said. "But we believe that's a good thing our boy made to society."