A student landlord from Sheffield has revealed he helped prepare the body of a 14-year-old girl for cryonic preservation.
Tim Gibson, aged 45, runs the Cryonics UK team, which is believed to be the only organisation outside America to provide an emergency service for people who want their remains to be preserved after their death.
The group has been criticised by the teenager’s hospital for being ‘under-equipped and disorganised’ for helping prepare the girl’s body for transportation to the storage facility in America where it was to be kept.
The teenager was terminally ill and had wanted her remains to be frozen in the hope that she could be brought back to life.
The girl, who lived in the London area with her mother and had a rare form of cancer, had taken legal action to allow the process to happen before she died in October.
Mr Gibson said his team of volunteers had given the 14-year-old the best chance of success.
He said: “The little girl who has just been preserved wouldn’t have been preserved without us. It was too difficult.
“Without us, the best she could have hoped for would be relying on a funeral director to pack her in dry ice and send her to America.”
Mr Gibson has himself has signed up to be cryogenically preserved.
He said: “I kind of identified the idea that dying seems to be a really rubbish idea.
“We have one option available, I don’t see any alternative.
“I’m perfectly willing to take the risk with almost a zero possibility chance of success because it’s a better chance than being buried.”
Mr Gibson has looked after Cryonics UK’s equipment and ambulance since 2009.
The team, which is not medically trained, has up to 20 volunteers on call to travel to members’ homes or hospitals to prepare their bodies for cryonic preservation in the US or Russia.
Members, who can pay up to £28,000 for the standby service, are asked to give the team notice so it can arrive 12 to 24 hours before they are legally pronounced dead.
The volunteers will then begin the process of cryonic preservation, which includes cooling the body and replacing the blood with cryo-protectant before shipping it to the chosen cryonics storage provider.
Mr Gibson, who was trained by the Alcor cryonics preservation service in the US, said medical training is not necessary but volunteers need a certain amount of knowledge.
He said: “Initially, I was trained by Alcor in the US, the rest of it just came from practical experience.
“You end up teaching parts of it to newcomers, that really hones your knowledge, you realise what you’re missing from your skill-set, you just pick stuff up.”
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