Alcor member Kim Suozzi (A-2643) was pronounced legally deceased on January 17, 2013. A neurocryopreservation, Kim became Alcor’s 114th patient.
In every single case, involuntary clinical death (by today’s standards) is a terrible thing to happen. Kim Suozzi’s situation was especially unfortunate in that she was cryopreserved at the age of 23, following a less-than-two-year battle with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme, a highly aggressive brain cancer. This is the most common and most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans, invariably fatal, and with a median survival time of approximately 12-14 months.
Born in June of 1989, by all accounts Kim was a very bright young woman graduating from Truman State University with degrees in Psychology, Linguistics, and a minor in Cognitive Science. Kim’s desire to study neuroscience in graduate school sparked her interest in cryonics early in college, but, naturally enough, she felt no sense of urgency to make arrangements. That changed after being diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme in March 2011. After undergoing several treatments, including two clinical trials at Dana-Farber beginning in June 2012, her prognosis remained very poor. In August 2012, Kim was told that she probably had only three to six months to live. At that point, she wrote about her situation on her blog on the popular internet forum, Reddit. In part, she wrote:
“I had always planned on establishing cryopreservation plans through life insurance, I was caught off guard when I was suddenly diagnosed during my last month and a half of college.”
“Many of you know that I’m agnostic; I don’t have any clue what happens when you die, but have no reason to think that my consciousness will continue on after death. The only thing that I can think to make me feel a little more at ease with my death is to secure cryopreservation plans on the off-chance that they figure out how to revive people in the future. The way I see it, it’s a better bet than decomposing or getting cremated.”
Kim started a fundraiser, eventually generating almost $7,000. The Society for Venturism took over fundraising efforts, Alcor put up a donations page, and another appeal was made at the Alcor-40 conference in October 2012. Altogether, around 200 people contributed to the funding for Kim’s cryopreservation. Alcor was able to make a special arrangement for Kim — in part based on her agreement to move to the Scottsdale area — that made it possible to take her case.
With the inevitable end in sight — and with the cancer continuing to spread throughout her brain — Kim made the brave choice to refuse food and fluids. Even so, it took around 11 days before her body stopped functioning. Around 6:00 am on Thursday January 17, 2013, Alcor was alerted that Kim had stopped breathing. Because Kim’s steadfast boyfriend and family had located Kim just a few minutes away from Alcor, Medical Response Director Aaron Drake arrived almost immediately, followed minutes later by Max More, then two well-trained Alcor volunteers. As soon as a hospice nurse had pronounced clinical death, we began our standard procedures. Stabilization, transport, surgery, and perfusion all went smoothly. A full case report will be forthcoming.
Speaking through an official announcement, Kim’s boyfriend said:
“Our hope is that technology will continue to progress to the point that Kim may have a real chance of living again in the future. Unfortunately, the development of the requisite technologies could be decades or centuries away. Since Kim is no longer with us to explore and innovate in the field of neuroscience, she is counting on all of us to push for the innovations she had hoped to see in her lifetime.
Until (or unless) the day comes that Kim can be brought back, remember her, celebrate her, and emulate her resilience, so we can create the future of her dreams.
Nobody is too young to make cryopreservation arrangements.
Anyone interested in cryonics or inspired by Kim’s story should contact Alcor for more information on the process.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations to Alcor be made in Kim’s name.”