ONLY ON TV5: Cryonics facility accepts 14-year-old girl - WNEM TV 5

ONLY ON TV5: Cryonics facility accepts 14-year-old girl

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It's a procedure offering the hope of life after death.

It's called cryonics.

Last month, a British teenager dying of cancer obtained a court order allowing her body to be frozen. Her body is now stored in Macomb County's Clinton Township at one of three cryonics facilities in the world.

Some call it the home of eternal optimism.

The Cryonics Institute, founded 40 years ago by Robert Ettinger, who dreamed that science might give him life after death.

Among the 145 patients suspended in liquid nitrogen are Ettinger, his mother, his wife, a cat named Riley, and a dog named Thor.

"This is the profusion room.  This is where the patients are brought as soon as they die,” Facility Manager Andy Zawacki said.

Zawacki is one of just two paid employees at the institute. It's a non-profit, owned by the members and run by a board of directors.

All are believers that death isn't final.

"We don't tell people it's going to work or it's not going to work.  We just ask them to look at the science and if it's for them, then they should do it, and if not then don't,” Zawacki said.

That is precisely why a 14-year-old girl, known as J.S., petitioned London's high court as she was dying of a rare cancer for a chance at a full life someday.

"She passed away in a hospital October 17.  Eight days later, she was placed in this cryostat,” Zawacki said.

The girl’s grandparents paid the $28,000 lifetime membership fee. Most people just sign over all or part of their life insurance policies.

"We've had people who've left [$200,000-$500,000] to us as a bequest.

History suggests that J.S. will never leave the institute, but history is only about the past.

After all, four decades of futility are just a blink compared to infinity.

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