It seems like the stuff of science fiction, a dying young woman decides she wants to be frozen after her death until a cure is found for brain cancer.
But for the family of Kim Suozzi, 23, it's not fiction.
"I worked real hard on reconciling it with my personal faith and trying to be okay with it, and I am okay with it," said Jane Suozzi, Kim's mother, who lives in Ballwin.
For the final two years of her life, Kim knew she was dying of an aggressive brain cancer called Glioblastoma multiforme. But even before the diagnosis, she considered the idea of being cryopreserved someday. She was fascinated by matters of the brain and intended to earn a doctorate in neuroscience.
Kim's decision to be frozen after death is based on the hope science will someday find a way to bring her back to life after finding a cure for cancer.
At first, the more Kim’s mother learned of her daughter’s plan, the more difficult it became to accept, especially when she heard all that would be frozen was Kim’s head.
"It was explained to me that the cyropreservation was more successful if it was just the head. I can't tell you why, I just know what they are really after is the brain," she said.
To be cryopreserved is both controversial and expensive.
Kim was not bothered by the controversy, but the cost was a problem, so she posted pleas for money on the Internet and soon others did the same.
"One of her friends on her website said please help me freeze my friend."
Kim raised about $7000 on her own, and received donations of more than $60,000 from a cryo-advocacy group, The Society for Venturism.
Kim spent the final two weeks of her life at a hospice in Scottsdale, Arizona, so she could die in the same city as Alcor Life Extension, the cryopreservation facility she chose.
She passed away peacefully on January 17.