Live On. Give On.

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 with a $20,000 grant given to their designated charity.

The 2013 Honorees

Hear their Inspirational Stories

The honorees for the 2013 Bakken Invitation represent what it means to Live On. Give On. These 10 people exemplify making a difference with their extra life. Each story demonstrates the will of the human spirit to overcome adversity, commit to giving back, and have a positive impact on other people’s lives.

  • Tracy O’Connor

    Tracy O’Connor

    Chandler, Arizona

    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 intractable pain, she is a national voice for disability awareness and has worked with Think First to warn thousands of kids on the dangers of risky behavior.

  • Jean-Paul Iyamuremye

    Jean-Paul Iyamuremye

    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

    Bruce Harper

    Closter, New Jersey

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

  • George Dove

    George Dove

    Nottinghamshire, UK

    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, and travels the globe to raise money for diabetes research through JDRF.

  • Jennifer Jones

    Jennifer Jones

    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 9 years in refugee camps on the Thailand/Burma border, providing food, medicine and educational opportunities.

  • Sara Meslow

    Sara Meslow

    Lake Elmo, Minnesota

    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 safe summer camp for kids with heart defects.

  • Claudia Tecglen

    Claudia Tecglen

    Madrid, Spain

    Diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was two, Claudia considers herself lucky for the opportunities she received growing up, and for the pump that gives her independence from her body’s limitations. She created Convives con Espasticidad to connect and support other young people.

  • Alison Smith-Conway

    Allison Smith-Conway

    Laguna Niguel, California

    Allison was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease when she was 32. Deep brain stimulation helps her manage the symptoms, but she found few resources available for people experiencing young onset Parkinson's. She addressed that by founding 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

    Edward Levien

    Bethesda, Maryland

    After losing 12 years of his life to intolerable pain, Ed found relief through neurostimulation. He has since dedicated his life helping others suffering in pain. And through the Hero Dogs program, he trains and donates assistance dogs to disabled veterans.

  • Arthur Ammann

    Arthur Ammann

    San Rafael, California

    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 to meet prevention and care needs in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and Liberia.

Bakken Event Group

Inaugural Awards Celebration in Hawaii

In November 2013, the inaugural class of 10 Bakken Invitation Honorees were recognized at a celebration on the Big Island of Hawaii where they met Medtronic founder and program inspiration, Earl Bakken.

More about the event »

The Bakken Invitation

What it’s all about

While medical technology improves the life of one person at a time, it also creates a social impact that reaches far beyond one patient. The Bakken Invitation is designed to celebrate and reward those who have given back with their extra life.

About the Bakken Invitation »

Medtronic Co-Founder Earl Bakken

The Inspiration

Earl Bakken’s Legacy of Giving

“What Are You Going To Do With Your Extra Life?”

Earl Bakken co-founded Medtronic, Inc. in 1949, helping countless people Live On through medical technology, including himself. But outside of Earl's work with Medtronic lies a lifetime of philanthropy and involvement within education, healthcare and community.

Earl often asked patients what they planned to do with their gift of extra life. His question is the inspiration behind this extraordinary program, and now he invites you to share your stories as a way to inspire other medical devices recipients to Give On with their extra life.

Learn About Earl Bakken »


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