Jan 18, 2018

Bakken Invitation Award Recipients Honored

Program celebrates 5th year and recognizes people who are “giving on” after overcoming health challenges with the help of medical technology.

Hawaii – January 15, 2018 – Medtronic founder Earl Bakken has much to be proud of going into 2018. 

On January 10, he celebrated his 94th birthday at his home in Hawaii, surrounded by family and friends.

Another highlight of the week, he says, was a visit by strangers from around the globe, gathered together to celebrate their “extra life."

They are the 2017 Bakken Invitation honorees, and are no longer strangers to Earl, but friends. 

Backed by the Medtronic Foundation, the award program – inspired by Bakken – is in its fifth year of honoring people who have overcome health challenges with the help of medical technology and are giving back to their communities through charitable service and volunteerism.

This year’s recipients span 10 countries and represent six medical conditions. They each nominate a charity to receive a Medtronic Foundation grant (Learn more about all of the 2017 recipients).

Mridula Kapil travelled to the event from India, and credits her parents for instilling in her a purpose-driven mentality following a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. 

“Giving back to the community is actually like I am helping my parents when they didn’t have much help and awareness about diabetes.'

-- Mridula Kapil

“They used to say, ‘there is some purpose behind you having diabetes. God wants you to understand it thoroughly and then help others in need,” she explains.

Today, Mridula lives with an insulin pump, and is founder of the REVORD Initiative, focusing on patient empowerment, disease self-management, and addressing social issues faced by patients living with diabetes. She coordinates the organization’s team members, all of whom are “type 1 diabetes champions.”

To date, thousands have been counseled thanks to Mridula’s efforts. “Giving back to the community is actually like I am helping my parents when they didn’t have much help and awareness about diabetes,” she explains. “I think this gives me inner strength and motivates me more towards public health.”

Since its inception in 2013, the Bakken Invitation has honored nearly 60 individuals and invested approximately $1 million to support their work across the globe.

“We recognize that healthcare can only change when the powerful insight, influence, skills and voice of patients, providers and caregivers are actively involved in driving policy and societal change,” said Medtronic Foundation President Jacob Gayle. “Through the Bakken Invitation we recognize the work of outstanding patient volunteers, build their capabilities so that they can affect social change, transform healthcare and inspire others to take similar action.”

About the Bakken Invitation: The Bakken Invitation furthers the community-minded vision of Medtronic co-founder Earl Bakken. Bakken has a pacemaker, insulin pump and several heart stents, which he says have given him years of “extra life” to continue his community involvement. He regularly asks medical technology recipients he meets, “What are you doing with your extra life?”

During the five-day event, honorees participate in community service projects and learn how to inspire others to “live on, give on.” See highlights of their journey on Facebook and Twitter.