Earl Bakken, co-founder of Medtronic, is but one of countless beneficiaries of today’s remarkable, life-saving medical technology. Having benefited himself from the medical equipment he helped to develop during his career (a pacemaker, insulin pump, and some stents), Earl has always had a strong desire to give back to the community. With this “extra life” given through medical equipment, Earl dreams that anyone like him considers adopting the same mission: to use their extended life to make a difference and improve the lives of others.
Dr. Mark Barone and Medtronic Foundation leaders with Earl Bakken.
Inspired by Earl, Medtronic Foundation started the Bakken Invitation program in 2013. The Bakken Invitation is a global philanthropic effort that annually recognizes and promotes the efforts of inspirational patients who, after receiving “extra life, LiveOn through their advocacy, GiveOn innovating, and DreamOn volunteering and improving the communities where they live. Bakken Invitation Honorees influence positive health outcomes globally, targeting underserved populations through their charitable initiatives and influence. Like Earl, they use their “extra life” to impact communities around the world.
In an effort to spread Earl’s dream, Global Health Leaders (GHL) Fellow in Brazil, Dr. Mark Barone, took up the challenge of partnering with Medtronic Brazil to add a warm, encouraging letter penned by Earl to the first page of the Medtronic pacemaker user’s manual, which is distributed to all recipients of this medical equipment. The letter shares Earl’s vision for dedicating his “extra life” to serving the community. At the letter’s close, he guides the reader to opportunities that help them find ways to serve in their own communities, hoping that the recipient of the equipment will also “LiveOn, GiveOn, and DreamOn”, as he does. The letter also includes the link to a portal of volunteering work opportunities in the country.
Dr. Barone worked hard with Medtronic Brazil to accomplish this pilot goal of Earl’s in the country and emerged successful, opening a precedent to inspire the same initiative in other countries and even other companies. Medtronic Foundation and the GHL Fellows who work with the foundation remain committed to scaling the impact of successes like this one, and continue to elevate whomever wishes to follow Earl’s lead in improving the lives of the people around them.
To learn about more of Earl’s dreams in progress, click here.