In British first, a mum of two who battled a very rare cancer and died in 2020 was publicly dissected on Channel 4’s British show “My Dead Body” after donating her body to raise awareness. The programme is set to air next month.
The young UK woman from Deal, Kent, lost her battle with adenocarcinoma in 2020, four years after she was diagnosed with the disease in 2016, following blurry vision.
Toni Crews was “shocked” to learn that the rare eye cancer was going to claim her life. She had her right eye removed after a tumour developed in her tear gland, and cancer had spread across her face, but unfortunately, the cancer returned in 2018.
She documented her journey on the Instagram page blingkofaneye_ where she shared pictures of her battle with adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that begins in the lining of the glands inside an organ.
In August 2020 shortly before her death, she wrote, “It’s so nice to be home from the hospital. I have so much help, care, and support here both from friends and family, the hospice team and from nurses too.”
In the documentary, Toni reveals the journey behind making her decision of gifting her body to science to help with research for the disease and what it meant to her.
She is reported to have said, “This gives me peace for the future.”
During the documentary, she will be heard narrating her own story from diary entries and the letters she wrote through voice-replicating technology, The Sun informs.
Anna Miralis, Channel 4 commissioning editor states that the film tells “one of the most intimate stories of all, how a young mum bravely fought for her life against a rare form of cancer.”
She adds, “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 characterised Toni’s inspiring life.”
The broadcaster reportedly said that Toni is the first public display cadaver in the UK since records began 180 years ago.
Also, according to the Express and Star, it is the first British cadaver to be observed being dissected in such a manner for almost 200 years.
Professor Claire Smith, head of anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School will be leading the research done on Toni’s body which will be shared with students.
According to Prof Smith, the chance to educate others is a phenomenal opportunity.
She is quoted as saying, “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.”
At the start of the documentary film, Toni admits her terminal diagnosis came as a huge shock as she was only 30 but she wanted to be remembered as a positive person, laughing with her friends, and enjoying ice cream.