Benefactor Stories > The Habiger Family

The Habiger Family

By Colin Fly Photograph by Paul Flessland

IN 2011, BILL HABIGER had recurring blood clots in his lungs that slowed him down. He wasn’t getting much of an answer from his primary care physician in Joliet, Illinois. So his wife, Diane, prodded him to find an expert.

That led the Habigers to a local pulmonologist and a startling diagnosis — pulmonary arterial hypertension, a rare condition in which high blood pressure affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart.

“The pressure can cause you to die of heart failure,” Bill says. “If the condition stabilizes, you’re lucky. Most people get worse.”

The pulmonologist couldn’t do anything else for him but offered him a referral to Mayo Clinic, where Bill says his physicians used the latest techniques in the field. With Mayo’s care, his condition improved.

“Mayo Clinic was all of what I expected — very professional, well organized, provided good personal care and very little waiting between tests,” Bill says.

In the years since, the Habigers wanted to do something for Mayo Clinic despite most of their assets being tied up in real estate holdings. They worked with Mayo Clinic’s Office of Gift Planning to establish an estate planning tool known as a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT).

“It worked out great to give Mayo Clinic a property through a CRUT that gives us income, plus Mayo gets the benefit when we’re gone,” Bill says. “Mayo is a great place. I believe they prolonged my life for a number of years, and we wanted to do something for them.”

For their generosity, Mayo Clinic recognizes Bill and Diane Habiger as Distinguished Benefactors and members of The Mayo Legacy, a recognition program for benefactors who have included Mayo Clinic in their estate plans.