Karl Potach was a typical little boy who loved Legos, car, trucks, and playing in the sandbox. He had a nice golf swing for a 4-year-old and enjoyed his tennis lessons. He loved hanging out with his sisters, family and his best friend Jacob.
Karl was 2 years old when he was first diagnosed with a rare tumor called Wilms, a pediatric cancer which typically presents on the kidney in toddler-aged children. Karl's first tumor was found on his right kidney. Everything about Karl's cancer pointed to a cure; it was very small upon detection, it was easily removed, and he was in overall good health. Karl went through the standard protocol of treatment. Eighteen months later a second tumor was found on his right lung. Again, the doctors were more than hopeful he would be cured. The course of treatment was more intense this time, requiring both chemotherapy and radiation. After a year of treatment, a CT scan was taken to be used as a baseline for follow-up appointments. The scan showed Karl's third tumor. Six weeks later at the age of 5, Karl lost his battle with cancer.
A fund named for Karl was established within Mayo Clinic Health System-Austin Foundation with the philanthropic goal for expansion, remodeling and naming of a pediatric clinic, and in April of 2014, the Karl R. Potach Pediatric Clinic was opened on the third floor of the Austin campus of Mayo Clinic Health System - Albert Lea and Austin. The dream of the clinic is to see:
- The name and story in the clinic of a courageous and faithful little boy
- Inspiration to hundreds of parents and children who will visit the clinic each year
- Awareness of the work of the Karl Potach Foundation for cancer research
- An inspired and dedicated pediatric care team
- A community of well and healthy children
Gifts made to the Karl Potach Pediatric Fund will provide on-going support for children's care and programs at the medical center.