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October 13, 2017

#BeforeIDie 2017: A chance to talk about dying before it is too late

Popular social media poster and pathologists' assistant Nicole Angemi among the presenters

Death End of Life
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The #BeforeIDie community gathering is set for Sunday, October 29.

#BeforeIDie isn’t a typical community event, though there will be food, drink and music at the arts center.

No, the Sunday, October 29 event is all about dying.

And, more specifically, it's to promote free discussion of end-of-life decisions, explained Carol Paprocki, director of communications for South Jersey's Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice.

“This initiative encourages people to engage in conversations with their family members and healthcare professionals about their wishes at the end of life should they become unable to speak for themselves,” she explained.

RELATED STORY: S.J. pathologists' assistant shares life (and death) on Instagram

The event, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Perkins Center for the Arts in Collingswood, is free and open to families and individuals.

The schedule is here and includes some adults-only presentations, including one by pathologists' assistant Nicole Angemi, who maintains an insanely popular social media account, with 1.3 million followers on Instagram.

Thom Carroll, File/PhillyVoice

Pathologists' assistant Nicole Angemi will lead a 'somewhat grotesque' presentation on what the dead can teach the living.

PhillyVoice readers met Angemi two years ago in this profile and picture gallery, which explained her quirky appeal:

“Her Instagram account has an eclectic mix of images, family photos, diseased organs, and damaged body parts — or as she sums up, ❤Wife ❤Mother🔪Human Dissector.”

Angemi’s account has standing features, including explainers on news events, #forensicfriday with seldom-discussed topics and #mysterydiagnosis, where she posts something about a diseased organ, then reveals the answer the following day.

Angemi was out of town and could not be reached, but Samaritan said her presentation is “about what the dead teach the living” and her talk is “interesting, somewhat grotesque, and very informative!”

RELATED READ: 'Holding space for death': an excerpt

There also will be presentations by storyteller Queen Nur, muralist and blogger Alison Dilworth and Benita Cooper, who promotes intergenerational engagement.

Displays include presentations by funeral homes, a local official helping with living wills, death couture, mourning mementos and mortuary collectibles as well as registries for donating organs and bodies.

The event is co-sponsored by the Courier-Post newspaper and Perkins as a means of shifting “the narrative about mortality, and we wanted to find a creative, arts-driven way to do that in South Jersey,” according to engagement editor Tammy Paolino.