Valuable contributions made to medical research
Wang Fengyi, 93, and his wife Cao Guoying show their organ donation certificates in Hefei, Anhui province, in April. (ZHANG DUAN/XINHUA)
Late last month, a Dutch man in his early 80s visited Hubei University of Medicine in Shiyan, Hubei province.
Johannes Emanuel Monfils was not visiting the institution to attend a lecture or to see a doctor. He was there to sign a body donation agreement.
Monfils, who is in good health for his age, was planning ahead, as he wants to contribute to medical research at the university after his death.
"Most people choose cremation or burial after death, but why not donate your body to medical students for research?" he said.
"There are still many diseases for which there is no good treatment, and many medical problems can be solved by studying human remains."
The silver-haired Monfils, who smiled frequently as he completed the donation agreement, said, "It was not a big deal — I just needed to fill in the form and sign my name."
As a chemical engineer in the Netherlands, Monfils was assigned by his company to work in many areas of China, including Hong Kong, Shanghai and Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. He met his future wife, who comes from Shiyan, when she was working in Shanghai. The couple married in 2005.
Speaking about the years he has spent in China, Monfils said: "Chinese people are very nice to me. I love China, its culture and the food."
After retiring in 2012, Monfils traveled to Shiyan to join his wife, who wanted their daughter to start school in the city. "Shiyan is a very beautiful city. I like everything here," he said.
Monfils, who has long embraced the idea of organ donations, has lived a simple and self-disciplined life. He likes to read and enjoys soccer and table tennis.
"Every year in my home country of the Netherlands, millions of people decide to donate their organs and bodies, which can save many lives," he said.
He decided to donate his body for medical research after reading news reports of such contributions.
"I figured I should do a little something for China. My wife is very understanding and supports my decision," Monfils said.
He is the first foreign resident in Shiyan to donate his body for medical research, according to Li Yong, deputy director of the morphology laboratory at Hubei University of Medicine.
The local authorities printed an English-language copy of the donation agreement for Monfils. The agreement was provided by the Red Cross Society of China's Shiyan branch.
Li said, "When he filled out the donation form, he wrote very carefully, and his handwriting was nearly as neat as printing."