Ok, almost always, strong stories move me. It’s sort of my thing. I was given a great start to life, with strong parents and a wonderful older sister, but many dreams of mine were shattered when my father passed away suddenly one night, right before my fourth birthday. Stories like that change you. I could have crumpled, and honestly, I have many times, but I have also grown up to be inspired to be and do more. And now that I have kids. I want so much for them. I want so much for me.
What is the Bakken Invitation? It’s a global program that Medtronic Foundation launched in 2013, with the purpose of connecting and celebrating people who have overcome health challenges with the help of medical technology. Not only that, but these survivors are now selflessly giving back to their communities. The award is given annually to patients from the Bakken Invitation Community and recognizes extraordinary accomplishment. This program is named after Earl Bakken, the Medtronic co-founder. Medtronic Foundation believes that everyone should be able to receive quality, affordable healthcare.
Medtronic Foundation is sharing patient success stories through programs like the Bakken Invitation – to help educate and inspire other patients to manage their health conditions. This program inspires others to give back and promotes access to healthcare.
Each patient from the Bakken Invitation Community provided a lesson or a piece of advice that encourages everyone to do what they can to give back. I was struck by Lisa Visser’s story of surviving and thriving after sudden cardiac arrest at age 26.
At the age of 26, Lisa suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, and was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) – a congential heart defect. Grateful for the “extra” life she has received, from an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), Lisa has volunteered time helping various organizations for the homeless in Minnesota. People with ARVD often have abnormal heart rhythms and that can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, or even lead to death. Lisa was only 26, but was hospitalized and provided with her ICD. This was a life-changing experience, in many ways.
When Lisa was so blown away by how many people contributed to saving her life, she accepted her own challenge to give back to those who need help. Now she uses her extra life to advocate for the homeless people in Minnseota. In her own words:
“I have use my extra life to advocate for the Minneapolis homeless community. That includes organizing the “United to End Homelessness” event . In 2013, the Minnesota Legislature allocated approximately $60 million in funding for homeless initiatives. In 2014, that dollar figure increased to more than $100 million. Funding in bothyears was influenced by the Unite to End Homelessness event, which provides an opportunity for the community to work toward improving advocacy skills to push for policy change.”
I’d like to believe it was what my father would have done, had he received an extra life. He was only 36 when he passed away, which was so very young. I will be 36 at my next birthday, and I will consider it a blessing and an inspiration.
This part is big, because I will choose a winner!
Visit the Bakken Honoree page, link HERE, and read the beautiful stories. Find the one that most inspires YOU, and come back to comment about which story it is, and why it inspires you. Tell me how you would make a positive difference with your extra life. Just tell me something good. I love short stories. I will choose a winner Thursday, March 17th and notify by email.