Toni Crews: Mom-of-two who donated her body before dying from eye cancer to be publicly dissected on TV
DEAL, KENT: A mother-of-two who died from a rare eye cancer at the age of 30 donated her body to science to help fight the war against the disease. Toni Crews has allowed her body to be dissected in Channel 4's program 'My Dead Body', which will broadcast in Britain next month as it hopes to educate people and keep her memory alive.
The brave mother from Kent documented her fight with the tear gland cancer that claimed her life on her Instagram account to raise awareness. While her social media account already provides an inspiring look at her battle, she can also be heard narrating her own story in the upcoming program on TV. This was made possible thanks to voice-replicating technology that would unfold her diary entries and letters she wrote to her family and close ones. "This gives me peace for the future," says Toni as she explains the reason behind donating her body for study before her death in August 2022.
Toni was diagnosed with the tumor in 2016 and was forced to remove her right eye. However, the disease soon came back in 2018, which was when she started raising awareness about it through her social media. According to The Mirror, Toni's parents Jo and Jason Crews have promised to carry out their daughter's wishes after her death as she wanted it to be her legacy.
The program will reportedly find a room filled with students watching Professor Claire Smith, the head of anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, lead a series of workshops in which different parts of Toni’s body are examined. It will also include interviews with parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends.
Professor Smith was admittedly "nervous," as she claims to have never performed a dissection like Toni's before. "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," she told The Mirror.
The documentary aims to teach students the science of cancer and how it enters the body. Channel 4's editor Anna Miralis calls the film "one of the most intimate stories of all" that it will tell "how a young mom bravely fought for her life against a rare form of cancer."
"By donating her body to public display, the first of its kind in the UK, Toni Crews has given us an extraordinary and unique look into the journey of the disease. While the presence of her voice in the form of diary entries and letters and social media posts ensures the film is filled with all the warmth and generosity that characterized Toni’s inspiring life," Miralis concluded.