Richard L. Deming, M.D. Named Outstanding Individual Philanthropist
Richard Deming has made a life-long commitment of giving back to causes near and dear to him. He has devoted years to generating support for the YMCA Partners with Youth, Everybody Wins Iowa, Mercy Children’s Center, the Variety Club, Des Moines Public Library, South Dakota State University, and an endless list of projects committed to cancer survivorship. He supports many organizations including Mercy Cancer Center, American Cancer Society, Livestrong, Hospice of Central Iowa, Komen Race for the Cure, Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, Mercy Hospice, Bras for the Cause, and has played a key role in securing funding and gifts for these causes. Deming also serves as a board member of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, where he has created a Cultivating Compassion Fund to support initiatives that encourage civility and compassion.
On the professional front, Dr. Deming goes above and beyond the basic duties of a physician. He visits his patients in hospice, makes house calls to patients who have chosen to spend their last days at home, and does rounds in the evenings, weekends, and holidays to provide comfort to patients. He attends visitations and funerals and follows up with family members after the passing of their loved ones. He feels that “My gift of time is likely to prove more valuable than any monetary gift I may ever give.” One patient says, “He is genuine with everyone, greeting all patients with warmth, kindness, hugs, and kisses. His giving goes way beyond money, to giving of himself. He is one in ten billion! There could not be a better doctor, or more importantly, a better person."
Dr. Deming sites his Above & Beyond: Cancer Survivors Trek to Everest as the charitable effort of which he is most proud. He took 14 cancer survivors and a team of care-givers to Nepal on a 13 day trek to Everest Base Camp. He recalls a climbing trip to Nepal 10 years prior, noting, “That trip was the fulfillment of a personal dream. This trip felt more like giving birth to 14 dreams. On our journey, we experienced some hardships along the way. However, the adversity we encountered led us to new heights of personal growth. This adventure mirrored and reinforced the journey already completed by cancer survivors. Laughter and tears along the way deepened our understanding of how adversity can enhance our lives. We returned to Iowa with an even greater appreciation for life, our planet, and our fellow human beings. We are certain that our enhanced sense of gratitude and generosity will help change the world we live in for the better.”
Deming sums up his philosophy on philanthropy like this: “A wise man once said, ‘Somebody else’s material needs are my spiritual duties.’ Those of us who are blessed with abundance have a moral obligation to help those in need. The irony of philanthropy is that those who are able to help others derive the most benefit from their act of giving. Our lives are enriched many times over. Ultimately each of us should each live our life in a way that allows us to experience the beauty of the world each and every day. We should each do something nice for someone every day and we should allow someone else to do something nice for us. Philanthropy helps create this wonderful balance and harmony in our world.”