A friendship forged between two boys -- one who became a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, the other a patient there -- has resulted in a $10 million gift for the world-renowned hospital based in Rochester, Minn.
Tarek Obaid, 35, of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, made the donation in his family's name to further the work of reconstructive transplantation surgery and to help victims of war and trauma, according to an announcement Wednesday by the Mayo Clinic.
Obaid is cofounder and CEO of PetroSaudi, a privately held oil exploration and production company. He said he was inspired by his experience as a patient and his childhood friendship with Samir Mardini, a facial reconstructive surgeon at Mayo.
"Tarek and the Obaid family are dear to my heart, and knowing them and how much they enjoy helping others in need is a tremendous inspiration," Mardini said in a statement. "Through their gift, we will advance scientific discoveries and provide clinical care to so many, who now will have the chance to live normal lives."
Reconstructive transplantation at Mayo currently includes hand transplantation, but the hospital aims to expand to include face transplantation. That work would complement an existing reconstructive surgery program for complex deformities of the face caused by congenital issues, trauma and illness, Mayo said.
The donation will establish the Essam and Dalal Obaid Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery, named for Obaid's parents. It also includes an honored scholar position named after his grandfather, Ahmad Obaid, an endowed program fund, and an operating fund named after the Obaid family.
Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335