Niagara Gazette

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January 27, 2014

A TEACHER'S LAST GIFT: Niagara Falls resident has donated her body to Body Worlds

Niagara Gazette — Patti Zygmont hopes to be teaching and inspiring students into eternity.

She just might be able to do that since she donated her body — upon her death — to a German Company that plasticizes human body parts, best known by their traveling exhibits called Body Worlds.

Zygmont, a chemistry teacher at an area high school, which she requested not be named, is passionate about inspiring students and believes that by donating her body so it can be used to teach students and amaze exhibit attendees, she will be contributing to the planet long after her death.

It was actually her love for science that inspired her decision to sign up with the Institute for Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany. 

“I love the excitement in kids’ faces when they’re working in the lab and the enlightenment in their eyes,” she said. “When I went to the Body Worlds exhibit, that’s what I saw in the eyes of the people viewing the exhibit.”

The Body Worlds traveling exhibit opened at the Buffalo Museum of Science in 2009, which is when Zygmont and her son, Thomas, then a freshman in high school, saw the sculpted bodies for the first time. 

“I was surprised at the amount of people that attended,” she said. “I didn’t think people would be as fascinated by the exhibit as they were.”

Zygmont recalled her first impression of the bodies, which were plasticized and positioned to highlight the movement of their muscles, veins and arteries. 

“They were perfect, life-like works of art. They reminded me of Leonardo DaVinci. That’s how he started his art career, by drawing the human body,” she said.

Another part of the exhibit showed in detailed manner how the body works under stress, with examples including a heart damaged by high blood pressure. The teacher was inspired to change her life. 

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