2001

Shades of Zarathustra: The New York Times maps dying woman whose brain may live on

Shades of Zarathustra: The New York Times maps dying woman whose brain may live on

Last weekend, a giant New York Times story came out that combined elements of "The Matrix" and “That Hideous Strength” (the C.S. Lewis classic) with a dollop of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old Oregon woman who ended her life last year rather than suffer the final months of a brain cancer known as a glioblastoma. GetReligion covered the media circus about this last November, which involved Brittany's media campaign to serve as a poster child for euthanasia.

This time, we have a story again about a 20-something woman with the same kind of brain cancer who chose to preserve her brain. She died in early 2013.

Only now is the Times revealing how it followed this woman about in her final months as she explored the use of her brain for a futurist fantasy where even science fiction writers rarely tread. Although the science involved spans the next few centuries, what the woman wanted is as old as Adam and Eve: To live forever.

In the moments just before Kim Suozzi died of cancer at age 23, it fell to her boyfriend, Josh Schisler, to follow through with the plan to freeze her brain.
As her pulse monitor sounded its alarm and her breath grew ragged, he fumbled for his phone. Fighting the emotion that threatened to paralyze him, he alerted the cryonics team waiting nearby and called the hospice nurses to come pronounce her dead. Any delay would jeopardize the chance to maybe, someday, resurrect her mind.
It was impossible to know on that cloudless Arizona morning in January 2013 which fragments of Kim’s identity might survive, if any.

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My cellphone chimed at me earlier this afternoon with a news bulletin from CNN that actress Lisa Robin Kelly had died. Millions of Americans would want to know this breaking news, I imagine, because of her work with the television comedy “That ’70s Show.”

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