Pennsylvania woman with rare bone disease donates skeleton to Philadelphia museum
Carol Orzel knew she wanted her skeleton to be displayed in a museum back in 1995.
She had seen the skeleton of Harry Eastlack on loan from Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum, where Eastlack had been displayed since 1979.
Eastlack and Orzel, from Pennsylvania, both suffered from the same rare bone disease called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, or FOP — “one of the rarest diseases in the world,” the museum explained in an Instagram post. The disorder causes muscle tissue and connective tissue to be turned into bone outside of the skeleton.
The museum lent Eastlack’s bones to a gathering for families of people with FOP, which Orzel attended. It was then that she told her doctor, Frederick Kaplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, that she wanted to “hang next to Harry,” WHYY.org reported.
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Orzel’s dying wish came true when the Mütter debuted the exhibit of her reported 4-foot-7-inch skeleton — along with her costume jewelry collection — on Thursday. She died last February at the age of 58 from heart and lung problems, which usually affect people who suffer from FOP.
“We are honored that we could make this happen with the hard work and collaborative efforts of so many,” the Mütter Museum said in an online statement.
Orzel, who lived about 10 years longer than most people with FOP, was passionate about art and fashion, Philly.com reported. She was rightfully dubbed the “Queen of Bling” by the museum.