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Mesothelioma Lawyer - Article - Best Buy founder gives Mayo $48.9 million

Posted on Dec 03, 2005 | Pioneer Press

Best Buy founder gives Mayo $48.9 million

BY JIM McCARTNEY

Four years ago, Best Buy founder Dick Schulze's first wife, Sandra, died of mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs.

On Friday, Schulze's family foundation gave the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic $48.9 million - an amount among its largest contributions - to fight mesothelioma and other cancers that do not receive the attention and research funding of better-known cancers. Schulze, in announcing the award, said there is genuine hope for progress in the fight against cancer.

"The prospect of improved treatment and potential eradication of some cancers is closer than some would believe," Schulze, reportedly the richest man in Minnesota , said in a statement.

The contribution will set up the Mayo Clinic Schulze Center for Novel Therapeutics at the medical center's Rochester , Minn. , complex.

Besides mesothelioma, re-searchers will target: breast, ovarian and uterine cancers; kidney cancer; glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer; blood cancers, such as chronic myeloid leukemia; liver cancer and cancer of liver bile ducts.

The goal is to discover and develop effective therapies that don't cause the harsh side effects of many of today's cancer treatments, said Lee Aase, a Mayo Clinic spokesman.

"The therapies will likely be genomics based and fit the overall focus on personalized medicine," Aase said.

Schulze, who has since remarried, has said the death of Sandra, his wife of 39 years, was one reason he decided three years ago to step down as chief executive of Best Buy, the Richfield-based consumer electronics giant.

"I came to realize the fragility of life, how short (it is) and how fast it can change," said Schulze in talking about his decision to retire. According to the most recent Forbes magazine listing of the 400 richest Americans, the 64-year-old Schulze is worth an estimated $3.7 billion.

Friday's gift nearly matches the $50 million he gave five years ago to the University of St. Thomas , where Schulze recently agreed to be a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship. About half of that donation went to the law school, and the other half funded the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship which recently opened as part of the downtown Minneapolis campus of St. Thomas .

The Schulze Center for Novel Therapeutics will occupy the 19th floor of the Gonda Building on the downtown Rochester campus of the Mayo Clinic. The gift also will support the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and endow two cancer research-related professorships - the Sandra J. Schulze Professor and the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Professor.

Finally, Mayo Clinic will establish an annual symposium on Novel Cancer Therapeutics, which will be organized in collaboration with other leading academic institutions engaged in cancer therapy-related research.

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The most common Mesothelioma symptoms are the following:

Recent onset of shortness of breath (31%)
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Chest pain (43%)
 
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