Medtronic Announces Ten Bakken Invitation Honorees

Primary tabs

Medtronic Announces Ten Bakken Invitation Honorees

Global Program Honors People Who Have Overcome Health Challenges with the Help of Medical Technology and Are Now Giving Back to Their Communities
tweet me:
Medtronic honors 10 who overcame health challenges w/help of med tech & now give back to communities #liveongiveon
Monday, October 14, 2013 - 10:10am

CAMPAIGN: LiveOnGiveOn: The Bakken Invitation

CONTENT: Press Release

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 14, 2013 /3BL Media/ – Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE: MDT) today announced the selection of the first 10 Bakken Invitation Honorees,  people who with the help of medical technology have overcome health challenges and are now making significant contributions in their communities.   

The Bakken Invitation is a global call to all people benefitting from extra years of quality life because of medical technology, asking them to make a difference in their communities.   It culminates in the celebration of 10 Bakken Invitation Honorees, who are recognized for their outstanding contributions.   A $20,000 grant from Medtronic Philanthropy will be given to each honoree’s designated charity.  The program, which launched in May 2013, embraces the legacy of Medtronic co-founder and humanitarian Earl Bakken.

“Hearing stories of how patients are giving back reminds me of the potential we have to help the world, in big or small ways,” Earl Bakken said. “It is my hope that all patients consider the good they can do with their extra life, recognizing we all have an ability to create a social impact that goes beyond the health and vitality of one person.”

 Bakken himself has benefitted from various medical technologies. He says his pacemaker, coronary stents and insulin pump have given him “extra life,” which he has used to give back through substantial community involvement.

“Earl Bakken defines the Medtronic values and his spirit continues to be at the core of our company’s Mission,” Omar Ishrak, Medtronic chairman and CEO, said. “The inaugural class of Bakken Invitation honorees are an inspiring representation of the millions of patients, many of whom decide to give back after overcoming health challenges.  We want to recognize those efforts, and inspire millions of others to join the movement.”

For more details about the program and each of this year’s honorees, please visit

The 2013 Bakken Invitation honorees are:

Tracy O’Connor, 42, Chandler, Ariz., United States

As the sole survivor of a multi-car accident, Tracy was left paralyzed but determined to make a difference.  With a drug pump helping manage chronic pain, she is a national voice for disability awareness and works with ThinkFirst to warn thousands of kids on the dangers of risky behavior.

Jean-Paul Iyamuremye, 36, Kigali, Rwanda

Slowly dying from rheumatic heart disease, Jean-Paul says he was blessed to receive the first heart valve replacement in Rwanda.  Immediately following recovery, he began helping others get the care they need by organizing and managing the Rwanda Patient Care Network through Team Heart.

Bruce Harper, 58, Closter, N.J., United States

Having experienced sudden cardiac arrest four times, Bruce realizes the life-saving power of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).  This former New York Jets football player now mentors students of all ages through Heroes and Cool Kids, which he founded after his cardiac events.

George Dove, 15, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

Only 15, George has dedicated his life to helping others with Type 1 Diabetes.  He says his life changed when he received an insulin pump, and he tirelessly advocates for improved access to pump therapy, traveling the globe to raise money for diabetes research through JDRF.

Jennifer Jones, 31, Roselands, Australia

Jennifer lives to help people in some of the world’s most remote and impoverished regions.  With an insulin pump helping her manage Type 1 Diabetes, Jennifer co-founded the

Room to Grow Foundation and has spent the past nine years in refugee camps on the Thailand/Burma border, providing food, medicine and educational opportunities to children.

Sara Meslow, 42, Lake Elmo, Minn., United States

Sara was first diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat at 13, and received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) when she was 29 to protect her from cardiac arrest.  Her love for kids and the outdoors inspired her to open Camp Odayin, a camp for kids with heart defects. 

Claudia Tecglen, 25, Madrid, Spain

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was two, Claudia considers herself lucky for the opportunities she received growing up, and for the implantable intrathecal baclofen (ITB) drug pump  that gives her independence from her body’s limitations.  She created Convives con Espasticidad to connect and support other young people with spasticity, a disabling tightness of muscles.

Allison Smith-Conway, 35, Laguna Niguel, Calif., United States

Allison was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease when she was 32.  Deep brain stimulation therapy helps her manage the symptoms, but she found few resources available for people experiencing young on-set Parkinson’s. She founded Parkinson’s in Balance through the Foundation for Neurosciences, Stroke and Recovery, which offers fitness classes and support groups in her community, and connects with thousands of others through her “Perky Parkie” blog.  

Edward Levien, 64, Bethesda, Md., United States

After losing 12 years of his life to intolerable pain, Ed found relief through neurostimulation. He has since dedicated his life to helping others suffering in pain.  Through the Hero Dogs program, he trains and then donates service dogs to wounded veterans, providing soldiers with increased independence and improved quality of life.

Arthur Ammann, 76, San Rafael, Calif., United States.

Just days after surviving sudden cardiac arrest and receiving his first pacemaker, Arthur reflected on his life and career and decided he would use his “extra time” to help improve health conditions in impoverished regions.  He founded Global Strategies for HIV to meet prevention and care needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Liberia. 

About Medtronic Philanthropy

Medtronic Philanthropy focuses on expanding access to quality chronic disease care among underserved populations worldwide, in addition to supporting health initiatives in communities where Medtronic employees live and give.

About Medtronic

Medtronic, Inc. (, headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology—alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world.


Rich Fischer
+1 (763) 505-2975
Medtronic Philanthropy
Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Bakken Invitation | Earl Bakken | Health | Medtronic | community | medical technology | philanthropy

CAMPAIGN: LiveOnGiveOn: The Bakken Invitation

CONTENT: Press Release