Thursday, November 21, 2002 Daily Mirror: Planning Life After Death

In a section entitled "Planning Life After Death" various methods of disposal were mentioned, including submitting your body for medical experiments, submitting your body for spare parts, submitting your body for plastination as a work of art, submitting your body for burning and the ashes either converted to diamond, launched into space, used to make an oil painting, or made part of an artifical reef ... or having your body cryopreserved in the hope of reanimation into good health in the future.

Here is the full text of the latter item:

Mark Walker, 40, a systems analyst, lives in Burntwood, Staffordshire, with his girlfriend of nine years, Gillian, 37. He's signed up to have his body frozen when he dies, in the hope that scientists will bring him back to life in the future using a process called cryonics.

"I'm not frightened of dying but there are so many things I want to do, such as learn to play musical instruments and to speak other languages, which I won't have time to do in this lifetime.

By getting frozen, I can come back when diseases such as cancer have been cured and hopefully extend my life by hundreds of years.

I've been interested in cryonics since my 20s, but I thought it was only something that millionaires did. Five years ago I discovered I could pay the $28,000 costs - about 18,000 - by taking out a separate life insurance policy, so I signed up. I pay just 35 a month and when I die the policy will pay out to the Cryonics Institute to cover all the costs. I wear a silver bracelet and necklace with a cryonics phone number on to be called when I die. There's a team on permanent standby to pick up members who die - after 24 hours it may be too late.

Once they arrive they will wrap me in an ice pack and take me to the cryonics unit in London using a purpose-built box trailer, equipped with a special ice bath, which is hitched up to a car.
There my blood will be drained-as blood clots form during the freezing process - and it will be replaced with a human anti-freez-ing agent. Then I'll be shipped to the Cryonics Institute in Michigan, America, where my body gets taken down to minus 195.8 degrees C using liquid nitrogen.

My body's then stored upside down in a chamber with a couple of other frozen bodies. The idea is that if I started to thaw out, it would be my head that defrosted last - which could possibly be used on another body.

My family can have a memorial service once I've passed away if they want. But people can always make the trip to Michigan and see me frozen in the tank.

My parents, think I'm barmy. They're from a different generation and don't really understand the concept of it all. But I'm very open about my plans - the more people that know, the better so that there's a higher chance that my wishes are carried out when I die. My worst nightmare is if I had an autopsy or a violent death which would mean my body would be too damaged to be frozen.

Friends and workmates generally take the Mick. And my girlfriend Gill thinks we should let death happen naturally - but I think that's too negative. If it was up to me I'd have all my loved ones frozen, so we could all come back together. I can see myself working as a living piece of history and teaching future generations what it was like living in the 21st Century.

Sources: DAILY MIRROR 21/11/2002 P35