Kim Suozzi was a neurolinguistics student who died from cancer at age 23. When she passed, she left the world with hope that resuscitation was possible.
Suozzi chose to use cryonics to preserve her brain with the belief that science could bring her back to life. Her story, recorded by the New York Times, shows the world that aspects of science fiction are on track to become modern science.
Suozzi suffered from a type of terminal brain cancer known as glioblastoma multiforme. Her dying wish was to have her brain cryopreserved.
Three years ago, she reached out to the Reddit community to raise money for the preservation procedure. The Society for Venturism, along with anonymous online donors, made her dream come true.
Suozzi’s boyfriend, Josh Schisler, froze her brain moments before she passed. She died on Jan. 17, 2013.
A Future For Cryonics
Suozzi showed serious faith in neuroscience when she made the decision to freeze her brain. The experimental process includes gently and carefully lowering the temperature of the body and placing the frozen portions in a pod. The technology to revive the patient has not yet been created.
“First, I want to make it clear that I’m not betting my life on cryopreservation. I am aware of the problems with the current state of cryonics, but I have the hope that technology might come up with a solution in the future. No one knows what technology will be available in 50 years. Yes, it takes “faith” in technology, but it takes faith to assume that technology won’t be sufficient to reverse these problems someday,” Suozzi wrote.
Alcor, founded in the 1970s, is the world’s leading cryonics organization. The nonprofit is best known for storing the head of baseball legend Ted Williams, in addition to 140 others who hoped to one day be revived.
According to Alcor, there are three important unknown facts about cryopreservation:
1) Life can be stopped and restarted if its basic structure is preserved.
2) Vitrification (not freezing) can preserve biological structure very well.
3) Methods for repairing structure at the molecular level can now be foreseen.
About 1,000 others have made arrangements for cryopreservation upon death. The organization charges about $80,000 to preserve the brain and up to $200,000 for the entire body. The technology is available only to high-income individuals, but perhaps one day it will become a common option for the afterlife.
“Because cryonics patients are legally deceased, Alcor can use methods that are not yet approved for conventional medical use,” according to Alcor’s website.
Suozzi didn’t want to be cremated or decompose in the ground. She was Alcor’s 114th patient.
“Any advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” Suozzi said.
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