Mayo receives its largest donation ever - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

By Anna Haile-Selassie

Mayo receives its largest donation ever

Rochester, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Mayo Clinic received a gift unlike any other. This one was worth $100 million. It's the largest outright donation by a living person in the institution's history.

Last November, Mayo announced it would create the largest Cancer Therapy program in the United by investing $370 million in state-of-the-art Proton Beam technology. Now, thanks to a very wealthy and generous philanthropist, the therapy program just got a little less expensive.

It takes a special kind of gift to get a hearty gratitude from the highest officials of Mayo Clinic. Some doctors have seen scientific breakthroughs and seen miracles behind these walls. And because of work and care of these doctors, Richard Jacobson showed them $100 million.

"Well this donation is the largest outright gift to Mayo Clinic in Mayo Clinic's history," says Dr. Michael Camilleri, Mayo's director of development.

"I've worked very hard and I've been very fortunate, I've made a lot of money," explains Jacobson. "And I have no family, and I've always wanted to do something for Mayo Clinic."

Mayo's latest endeavor was it. The $100 million will go to fund a proton beam therapy program in Rochester and Scottsdale, Arizona.

"I said that's it, I want to do that."

And the money will be used now, unlike many other benefactors who donate estate gifts after they've passed on.

The therapy program will use a pencil-thin beam of radiation to precisely target a tumor, causing less harm to the healthy surrounding tissue.

"It can help, unfortunately, millions of people. And I hope we can find some kind of a cure that this process will be obsolete in a few years," exclaims Jacobson.

Mayo relies heavily on benefactors like Jacobson, who provide a large part of the funding for many of Mayo's developmental achievements. Of the two Proton Beam campuses, the Rochester one will take Richard Jacobson's name. Construction on the buildings should start sometime this summer.

Richard Jacobson is from Belmond, Iowa, but his parents grew up in Harmony, Minnesota. He is the founder of Jacobson Companies in Des Moines, one of the largest, privately-owned warehouse companies in the U.S.

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