The Mayo Clinic is the world’s leader in the areas of clinical and basic transplant research. The American hospital has conducted more transplants than any other medical center on the globe. In 2011, a $10 million gift made to the Clinic by Tarek Obaid, founder of the Essam and Dalal Obaid Foundation (EDOF), created the Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery, a place that gives a second chance to those who had lost hope.
The Gift of Compassion
Tarek Obaid, founder of EDOF, former patient of the Mayo Clinic, and lifelong friend of one of its most prominent facial reconstructive surgeons, Samir Mardini M.D., decided to contribute to the hospital because he knew it was a place working to transform lives, and that it was making great strides in advancing the field of transplant surgery.
“With severe facial deformity, people can live, but not be alive” said Dr. Mardini. “This gift changes that by helping people gain or regain their quality of life.”
Mr. Obaid’s donation came from a place of great compassion and interest: he witnessed the suffering his father experienced while battling cancer and has always been interested in emerging trends in medicine.
“Traumatic injury changes the way people live their lives,” Mr. Obaid explained. “If people have a disability that everyone sees when they go outside, eventually they stop wanting to leave their home. And that’s horrible. I wanted to do what I could to help these people in despair.”
The Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Tranplant Surgery
The Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery is the result of Mr. Obaid’s philanthropic partnership with the Mayo Clinic.
The Center focuses on two areas of reconstructive transplants: hand transplantation and face transplantation. The funding from EDOF has contributed to research in the areas of screening, medications (including immunosuppressive and regenerative), microsurgery, and the addition of multidisciplinary teams.
Tarek Obaid’s donation also opened up new possibilities for the Mayo Clinic to expand their reconstructive transplant surgery to include face transplantations. These types of transplants improve life for patients suffering from “complex deformities of the face caused by congenital issues, trauma and illness.”
Tarek Obaid’s Family Values
Mr. Obaid’s mother, Dalal, responded to her son’s generosity by saying, “We’re so proud of this gift. As a mother, it sickens me to read in the papers about the sons and daughters disfigured by tragic accidents and injuries. But now, seeing my son has done this, it’s a blessing and I feel I extend this blessing to other mothers.”
As Tarek Obaid has said himself, “My family considers hope the most powerful emotion. It’s hope that provides the fortitude to persevere, and it’s hope that gives people strength.” For the patients receiving reconstructive transplants at the Mayo Clinic, hope now springs eternal.
Visit EDOF’s website: www.edof.org
Visit Mayo Clinic’s website: www.mayoclinic.org