Kevin Kawamoto
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

When World War II veteran Bernard S. Akamine died of pancreatic cancer on April 2, 2012, at the age of 89, there was no question what he wanted to happen to his body. For years prior to his death, Akamine, a 100th Infantry Battalion, Company B veteran, had made it clear that he wished to donate his body to the University of Hawai‘i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine, commonly referred to as JABSOM, to be used for medical education and research as part of the Willed Body Program. The program allows Hawai‘i residents to donate their bodies to help medical students, resident physicians and others learn about human anatomy and health.

“Back in 1988, a good family friend passed away, and he had donated his body (to the Willed Body Program),” explained Akamine’s daughter, Drusilla Tanaka. “And so Dad was very curious about this.” Akamine decided that he, too, wanted to donate his body to this program, so Tanaka helped him fill out the necessary forms to get the process started.

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