Personal experience leads to passion, advocacy for DMC

Brian Smidt, Blog Author
Brian Smidt, Blog Author

When I moved to Rochester in April of 2005 to start my career at Mayo Clinic as the Assistant Director of Facilities, most of my college friends were pursuing professions in metropolitan mainstays like Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Not surprisingly, my decision to relocate to a comparatively small city was met with a few raised eyebrows.

The reasons I had in favor of moving to Rochester, however, were supported by nearly two decades’ worth of personal experience.

My first encounter with the Med City was on Thanksgiving Day in 1989 when my mother announced she had cancer and had been referred to Mayo Clinic for treatment. On my 9th birthday just a few months later, my father called with news that mother had been diagnosed with neurofibrosarcoma (a rare form of cancer that affects only 0.16% of cancer patients) and I was whisked away to Rochester to be with her.

My mother spent five years being treated at Mayo Clinic – sometimes staying for several months at a time – and during those years, it wasn’t unusual for my visits to Rochester to span several weeks. Between dozens of clinic appointments and inpatient stays, Mayo staff grew to know me just as well as they knew my mother. Because members of her care team included notes in her medical record about my hobbies and interests, staff asked thoughtful questions about my dog, and some even helped me with homework problems.

The kindness and compassion shown to me as a child resonates with me to this day.

My mother survived and was the first radial nerve neurofibrosarcoma patient to not undergo an amputation.  Thanks to Mayo Clinic and its staff, I not only have my mother, but also a passion for delivering the best possible care to every patient and family member, every day!  My personal experience with Mayo Clinic – both past and present – is the reason why I am passionate about the Destination Medical Center initiative.  I want to do my part to ensure Mayo Clinic continues to deliver top quality care and Rochester continues to provide hospitality to every patient, every day.