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Cancer patient shows his appreciation for Mayo Clinic on a billboard thank-you card

Paul Olson commissioned a billboard in downtown Rochester to thank his doctors at Mayo Clinic for saving his life twice. (Emily Cutts /

Paul Olson wants everyone to know that he's thankful that Mayo Clinic saved his life ... twice.

That's why he purchased a high-profile billboard on South Broadway proclaiming that "I Beat Cancer Twice!" in big gold letters and thanking his doctors Larson, Kwon and Beahrs.

Actually, it's the second such billboard he put up in Rochester. The first was in 1997 , five years after his first bout with prostate cancer.

"I have a perfect life thanks to Mayo. I would have been dead before I turned 50," said the retired 75-year-old Olson. "I think doctors need to get feedback from their patients. ... Everybody hears the gripes. Nobody hears the applause."

His story started in 1992, when he was referred to Mayo Clinic at age 47 and doctors discovered an advanced case of prostate cancer. 


"A diagnosis like that is like looking at the end of a gun barrel," said Olson. "But the first thing they give you at Mayo is hope."

A treatment of surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy took care of the cancer. Olson, who was president of the Grand Rapids, Minn.-based Blandin Foundation, got on with his life. That meant travelling with his wife, running marathons, playing golf and eventually retiring.

Then in 2017, he ended up back at Mayo Clinic.

"I knew I had something funny going on," Olson said.

A special medical scanner unique to Mayo Clinic that he calls "magical" detected six tumors growing throughout his body. The prostate cancer had returned 25 years later.

Once again, his doctors at Mayo Clinic treated the cancer until no trace of the cancer was detectable in 2018.

"I just wanted to thank my doctors and Mayo for their extraordinary assistance ... for saving my life... again," he said.

Related Topics: MAYO CLINIC
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