Longtime patient Dick Buell gives to Mayo ‘to help as many people as I can’

Dick Buell’s goal is simple and selfless: “To help as many people as I can.”

His parents instilled in him the values of faith, country and family as he grew up in a small town in southern Indiana. They never left him as he found success in the professional world.

Dick sees the impact Mayo Clinic makes on its patients, too. He credits the organization with helping him avoid a kidney transplant after a rare disease diagnosis more than 30 years ago.

Dick first came to Mayo Clinic in 1989, after his local care provider diagnosed him with membranous glomerulonephritis, inflammation of the tiny filters in the kidneys that can lead to complications such as kidney failure.

A young healthy marketing executive at the time, Dick had been surprised to learn that something was off at his annual physical — the protein count in his kidneys was skyrocketing above the normal range. His doctor prescribed a heavy dose of steroids and eventually referred him to Mayo Clinic. There, Dick was taken off the steroid and put on a new treatment plan that included medication.

Since that first visit, Dick has traveled back to Mayo’s campus in Minnesota from his homes in Illinois and Florida more than 40 times. His kidneys are back to functioning normally.

Dick attributes his good health to the Mayo model of care and having a consistent care team over the years.

“They provided an important element of my life that leaves me healthy today,” he says.

Over the next several decades, Dick’s business career took him to more than 40 countries. He served in roles in executive management, strategic development and marketing and ultimately became CEO of four different corporations. 

Dick made a $5 million planned gift in the form of an endowed fund to Mayo Clinic, in honor of his long-time physician, Thomas R. Schwab, M.D. His generosity will further transplant research, which will impact patients like him for generations to come. Mayo Clinic recognizes Dick as a member of The Mayo Legacy. This program honors people who include Mayo Clinic in their estate plans or make another type of future gift. 

“Mayo is the best place in the world for investment,” Dick says. “It will impact economics, human lives and happiness. And the rest of the world will benefit, not just the United States. It’s perfect for what I want to affect — a lot of people in a meaningful step forward.”

Mayo Clinic is solving the world’s most serious or complex medical challenges — one patient at a time.

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Eds Note: The individual featured in images was following social distancing guidelines, and in compliance with Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 safety guidelines while unmasked.


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