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Honest Questions with Jon Huntsman
Aired December 7, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GLENN BECK, HOST: I spend a lot of time on this program talking about American values or, unfortunately, in many cases, the lack of them. We get so caught up in our own lives and what we see on television and all around us that sometimes we forget the meaning of compassion, of generosity, of kindness. How do you do business, how do you raise kids in today`s world?
I`m going to introduce you tonight to somebody I believe truly exemplifies all of these qualities and answers these questions. I have never before in my life met a man that I thought to myself, this is the man I want to be. Until about two months ago, when I met our next guest.
BECK (voice-over): Hard to imagine that there was a time when Jon Huntsman lived in a home held up by cardboard walls. Resting comfortably now on the list of "Forbes`" 400 wealthiest Americans, the self-made billionaire is now spending his cash on one thing -- curing cancer.
JON HUNTSMAN, SELF-MADE BILLIONAIRE: The entire object of what we`re doing here is to prevent cancer or detect it early and to take wonderful care of the patient if we do detect it early and eventually allow them to live a normal life with comforts and pain-free. We`re doing everything we can to accommodate that goal.
BECK: It may sound like a lofty goal, but with Huntsman`s dedication and unmatched generosity, he makes the impossible possible. Above all, Huntsman puts the patients first.
HUNTSMAN: It`s interesting to note that when we built this facility eight years ago, we wanted to build a facility that was unique in America. We wanted to find the type of pathway to progress and hope that would give cancer patients a feeling that the very, very finest quality was put forth for their care and comfort.
BECK: America, you are about to meet my hero, a man that embodies the true meaning of goodness. He is an inspiration that has my aspiration.
Spend the next amazing hour with me and Jon Huntsman. I promise, you will be better off than you were 60 minutes prior.
BECK: America, I want to introduce you to a man I`m honored to be with, Jon Huntsman.
HUNTSMAN: Thank you, Glenn. Nice to be with you.
BECK: I have to tell you, and I told my dad this, and I said, "Dad, it`s only because you haven`t written a book." This book is how old? A couple years?
HUNTSMAN: About two years.
BECK: About two years. I met you when I took a tour of your cancer center, and then I read your book, "Winners Never Cheat," and I called my father, and I said, "Only because you haven`t written a book, Dad." I`ve never, ever read anything like it. It is truly -- I`ve given it to everybody I know saying, my gosh, this is who I want to be.
And if we all understood these principles or lived by them -- we all do understand them -- what a different world we`d live in.
Tell me about -- everybody would say that we`re living in a dog-eat- dog world. You`ve got -- you`ve got to slit their throat. You`ve got to take it while you can. You`ve got -- everybody`s doing it. Why -- why don`t do you that in business?
HUNTSMAN: Well, I think, Glenn, there`s an old expression that we all know. It said -- it goes as follows -- life isn`t fair, but that doesn`t mean that we shouldn`t be fair. And as we go through life, I think we have to take an accountability of ourself and see, you know, who are we? What are our real values? What do we believe in?
I`d like if I can just mention this early on here -- I`d like to talk to people about what will be said at their funeral. Have you ever planned a eulogy?
When you talk to 21-year-olds, you talk to college students, you talk to young executives on Wall Street or on Fleet Street in London, Montgomery Street in San Francisco, or somewhere in Russia or China, particularly at Beijing University in China, where I was recently, and you ask them, "Have you ever planned your eulogy? What are they going to say about you? What is the character of the man or woman involved?"
And so I would just say that, you know, that`s kind of the key to life, is to ask ourself, when we`re peeking at our funeral, how are we going to be?
BECK: It`s really easy to say that and want to strive for it, but when you`re in the thick of things -- I mean, you worked in the 1970s in the Nixon White House.
HUNTSMAN: Nixon White House, that`s right.
BECK: Tell me the story about working in the Nixon White House and the phone call you were asked to make and what happened.
HUNTSMAN: Well, you`ve been reading my book, I can see.
HUNTSMAN: No, I did work in the Nixon White House, and it was a great honor, I might add. It was during Nixon`s first term, and I`d been in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. I was asked by Bob Hall to shift into the White House as White House staff secretary and special assistant to the president.
And when I was there, Bob Haldeman, of course, was my -- was my mentor and boss. And Bob came in one day and he said, "Jon, we want you to make a phone call to one of your plants out in California, your manufacturing plants, because we`re looking at somebody who we`re going to appoint to a senior position."
And -- and so I made the phone call. And then he came in a little later and he said, "Now we have the opposition. The other party`s candidate is going to put someone up for an office, and we`re looking to clear their candidate. And we want to get all the dirty material we can on this person. Your plant is located near them out in Southern California. Will you call your manager and check out all the negative information you can on this person?"
And my instincts told me immediately, do what your boss tells you to do. Go forward and do whatever it is to move up the organization ladder. In this case it was the White House staff. It could be the corporate staff. It could be a small business, could be anything, Glenn.
And so I immediately went to the phone. That`s our visceral reaction, I think, as human beings, to go immediately and do what we`re asked to do. And so I made the phone call, and right during the phone call, the thought occurred to me -- I think my moral compass kicked in, because we each have a moral compass. We`re given it by God. We have it at birth. Every human being, irrespective of their religion, their background, their nationality, they have this great moral compass that kicks in and they know what`s right and what`s wrong. They may not think they have it, but they have it.
And I thought to myself, what am I doing? I`m asking my civilian associates to go look at -- find some dirt on some people in the opposing political party.
And so I said immediately, "Jim, forget I ever called. Don`t do what I asked you to do. This is wrong. Forget it. I`m sorry I called."
I think it was the moral compass kicking in.
BECK: You were one of the only people that wasn`t called in front of Congress during the Watergate scandal, because everybody knew you wouldn`t have been involved in anything like this, correct?
HUNTSMAN: Well, I was not called in. I don`t know that everybody knew that I wouldn`t have done it, but there were two of us who were not called.
BECK: Right. And again, just to lay the foundation here on how hard it is to do these things, I want you to lay out one other story, 1986.
You negotiate a deal for somebody to buy 40 percent of your business, and it`s $54 million. And you negotiate a deal, and you look the guy in the eye and you shake hands.
Then, six months goes by. Your attorneys -- or his attorneys can`t get everything together. It doesn`t happen. What happens?
HUNTSMAN: Well, Glenn, again, thank you for reading the book, because I don`t mean to be personal; but this means a great deal to shaping one`s character, and it meant a great deal to me.
In 1986 our company was in serious financial trouble, and I sold 40 percent of our business for a fixed amount of money. It happened to be $54 million. And I shook the man`s hand. And we went through negotiations, and I shook one of our -- the people who are in our industry, the chemical industry. I shook Emerson`s hand and said, "It`s a deal. $54 million."
Well, as usual, people are late getting attorneys to the party sometimes. They think maybe the price will go down. They think it will alter. But unfortunately, in this case margins went up, profits went up, sales actually went up. And the value of the business went up dramatically, to the point where 40 percent of our business in six months was worth $250 million.
And so he didn`t know what to do. He came to me at that six-month period of time. And he said, you know, "Six months have gone by. Why don`t we split the difference? I agreed at 54 million with you, Jon. We haven`t moved fast enough. Our attorneys haven`t done the contracts. We haven`t had federal regulatory clearance, all these other excuses and reasons. But I`ll split the difference. I`ll give you $125 million for the business," wondering if, you know, I would take that low of a price.
I said, "Just a minute, Emerson. I shook your hand at $54 million. That`s what`s meaningful to me. I don`t want any attorneys to get in the way. You`re going to buy this business for $54 million." And we closed the negotiation at $54 million.
BECK: Nobody does that.
HUNTSMAN: But I lost $200 million. But I`ll tell you, Glenn, the integrity, the value of one`s character. He had me speak at his funeral. He only had Governor Bey (ph) of Indiana and me as his two speakers. I was so honored, because he remembered our situation. And when he passed away he had put in his will, put in his last testament, that I was to -- I was worth $200 million.
BECK: But do you know how unique this is? Do you know how unique this is? When I read this story, I thought, OK, there`s going to be -- oh, but yes, "but later I made all this money, et cetera."
You took the value -- you lost $200 million, and you took the value as you were honored to speak at the man`s funeral. Do you know how rare that is?
HUNTSMAN: Well, maybe I don`t know how rare it is. But I know that our business, Glenn, has grown and developed. We`ve been on the cliff at different times ready to fall off.
BECK: You were -- in 2001 you were on the cliff...
BECK: You were on the cliff, and you were headed towards bankruptcy, and you said bankruptcy is...
HUNTSMAN: Not an option.
BECK: Is not an option.
HUNTSMAN: Never an option.
HUNTSMAN: It`s never -- because our name is on the door, No. 1.
No. 2, because in bankruptcy somebody gets hurt. Your creditors, your suppliers, your customers. Maybe some of your -- of your employees are released. If somebody gets hurt because of you, what kind of a man or woman are you?
BECK: OK. So he won`t take out bankruptcy -- I`ve got to go into a break. He wouldn`t take out bankruptcy, so he takes out a loan. He sells his -- he sells some of his personal stuff. He takes out a loan so he can meet the commitments of his charity.
An amazing guy and a guy who made all of his money on a product that I guarantee every American has had in his hands.
We`ll continue with Jon Huntsman just in a second.
GRAPHIC: What is the survival rate for childhood leukemia? A, 60 percent; B, 40 percent; C, 70 percent; D, 85 percent.
GRAPHIC: What is the survival rate for childhood leukemia? D, 85 percent. In the past two decades, the survival rate has gone up from 50 percent to 85 percent.
BECK: Welcome back. I`m with Jon Huntsman for a full hour.
It is very popular in our society to eat the rich and blame them for absolutely everything. If we`re going to eat this guy, it`s going to be good eating. He is one of the wealthiest men in America. You have had one of his products in your hand, I guarantee it. You won`t believe what -- what he is -- what he`s responsible for. I`ll tell you about that in a second.
But what you also won`t believe is you grew up in a house where you lived with eight families, and the house was divided by cardboard walls. You grew up dirt poor.
HUNTSMAN: Dirt poor. Well, I was born in a small two-room house in rural Idaho. And we had outside plumbing.
But after that, when my father went back to college and I was a teenager, that`s when we lived in student housing, which were World War II Quonset huts. And they divided them, actually, Glenn, into 16 units, and each unit was 600 square feet. So we had nothing, really.
BECK: And you fished not for sport, you hunted not for sport, but you hunted and fished because that was food.
HUNTSMAN: Well, that was food, but not only for our family. I think that was a way -- way of life in rural America, particularly in western rural America, where people -- you know, it wasn`t a sport like it may be today. We had to survive. We survived from hunting deer. We survived from shooting ducks. We survived from getting fish.
We`d go to a Union Ice locker, we couldn`t afford home storage lockers, and we would freeze the food for the winter. And that was survival. Either that or, you know, a lot of casseroles.
BECK: So at what age were you not poor? Financially. At what point did you -- what was your first turning point?
HUNTSMAN: I think my first turning point was probably in my early 30s, when I`d taken out money from all four banks that I knew and started Huntsman Container Corporation. We made the first plastics Big Mac containers. We made the first plastics -- plastic bowl dishes, takeout food containers, meat trays. And they were just ideas...
BECK: Egg cartons.
HUNTSMAN: Egg cartons, egg cartons. And people said it will never fly, these should be made out of compressed paper. These should be made out of some form or another of cardboard.
And I said, no. The trend is coming toward disposable plastics, more sanitary plastics, food that can be -- where you can have some type of insulation so they can keep food fresher longer.
And so I went through a huge loss, financial loss, inventing these products with a few other wonderful young men and women. But we were able to get our break when McDonald`s came out in 1973 with the first Big Mac containers, and then all the other fast food chains followed.
BECK: Is it true that you -- when you heard that it was environmentally unsound, that it was bad, that you said, "OK," and just closed it down?
HUNTSMAN: No, it wasn`t quite that fast, but we moved out of that business totally by 1980.
And part of the problem was -- is that we actually were moving into more sophisticated chemical products instead of packaging, but also, you know, there was a part of us that said, you know, if the public feels that this isn`t the right product for them, then that`s fine, too. I`m not going to keep producing something that`s that controversial.
What I`d like to do is produce something that can always be utilized and can always grow and not be controversial. But you know, Glenn, it started the framework. It started the base for us to move into thousands of products today.
BECK: And you`ve been doing billions of dollars. And then in 2001 you hit another rocky place.
HUNTSMAN: Hit another rocky spot.
BECK: We just talked about it a minute ago. Possible bankruptcy. That`s what your financial people were saying: just declare bankruptcy and just get out. And you said absolutely not.
And you had commitments to charity. I have never heard of anyone, when they are facing bankruptcy, say -- go to a bank and say, "I need to sell my stuff so I can meet my commitments to charity." What did you do?
HUNTSMAN: Well, Glenn, this is -- I mean, this is the character of the man or woman. When you make -- when one makes commitments to charity, it`s very, very important that they maintain those commitments, because you have -- in our case we have cancer institutes. We have centers for abused women and children. We have scholarships, 5,000 scholarships to underprivileged children. We have programs for the homeless.
If all of a sudden we withdrew our money, our commitments, and these commitments are made over three, four, five, six, seven years, if we withdrew those commitments, thousands of people, millions of people would either go homeless, would not have scholarships. So those become vital parts of our link to integrity and honesty and keeping our word.
And so when the business was ready to go off the cliff, and I had to go without a salary and our people went without bonuses, and we had a terrible time during 2001 and 2002. Energy prices went up. There was overcapacity. There was a recession, a perfect storm.
The bottom line is I went to the bank, and I told Bill Harrison at HAP Morgan Chase and my friends at Citibank and my other friends in the banking business, "I have to take out a loan. I have to put up my home for collateral. I have to put up what`s left of my company for collateral."
And they said, "Well, Jon, your business, it looks like it might make it. It looks like it might make it."
I said, "No, it isn`t for the business; this is for charity."
BECK: What did they say?
HUNTSMAN: They said, "You`re crazy. We`ve never made a loan to anybody for $50 million, for $75 million, for $100 million so you can turn around and give it to charity."
I said, "Well, you have to." If people make a commitment to something as critical as charitable interests, are you going to take away these scholarships from kids? Are you going to deprive cancer victims and cancer patients from not having research and proper clinical treatment? I said, "Whatever it takes. Take my business, take my house, but I need the money for charity. That`s a critical point."
And so we got through it, and I paid them all back. And you know, but it was -- I`m going to tell you, Glenn, it`s not easy. Bankers are tough to deal with. These guys are -- you know, they never cut you any slack.
BECK: Yes, how many are going to give you $100 million just so you can give it away? I will. The battle of cancer changed your life. And we`re going to go there.
And then I`m going to share in the next few minutes some things that I saw firsthand of what you have built that just is phenomenal.
You have never met a man like Jon Huntsman. His incredible journey continues in just a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTSMAN: Too many people are dying in our family of cancer. If I could ever make a difference or be part of a team that makes a difference or be partners to some of the great oncologists and great scientists and great investigators and epidemiologists and pathologists and people that work on this disease, I would dedicate my life to this cause.
Huntsman Cancer is all about family. Everything about family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I want to talk about your pivot point. Here you`ve got -- here you are, a guy who grew up in a house with cardboard walls with eight families, dirt poor. You became a billionaire.
You said something that took my breath away as we were in an elevator, and you said it just offhandedly. And I don`t mean to stick you out, because I know you`re a shy man, believe it or not, on stuff like this. You said, "You`ve got to care about everything."
Sorry. You have to care about everything: not just cancer, not just abuse or whatever, but everything. And you`re giving away almost $2 billion in the next 18 months.
What was your pivot point? What was it that said, "I now -- I have all this money, and I want to give it all away"? Was there a pivot point?
HUNTSMAN: Well, I think there was, Glenn. I think, first of all, you know, when people come from humble backgrounds and don`t have much to start with, I think that, you know, you have to -- you have to give back to society that which you`ve been fortunate enough to receive.
My mother had cancer at a very young age, and I used to go give her shots to help her pain. And she was in her 50s, and she died, and I was holding her in my arms when she died.
And I thought, you know, at that time I`d never made anything in my life: $400, $500 a month was the maximum. I thought, "Oh, if I could ever make anything in life for my mother. She`s the sweetest woman. She`s never said anything negative about anyone, and she dies for no reason at all right in my arms." I said, you know, "We`re going to get rid of this disease. We are going to get rid of this disease, no matter what it takes."
I don`t know, Glenn. It just seems like those who are blessed with money have an obligation -- no, no, they have a duty. They have a solemn duty in life to give that money back to a better and higher use, and that better and higher use is helping our fellow man and woman.
BECK: We live in a society where our government is telling us we should take it from you. We should take -- you owe us the money that you have made. And I have -- and you see -- you don`t see an example like you very often, that is so glaring, but it is not the government`s responsibility to take it. It is your responsibility.
BECK: ... to give it.
HUNTSMAN: Absolutely. And the government will take it and waste it. The ideal situation is let private industry, private Americans establish what we did. People said you can`t establish a cancer institute, you`re just one individual. What do you mean you can establish a cancer institute? What do you mean you can build hospitals? What do you mean you can do large research projects? You know, and you just say, "Watch it."
BECK: Out west there is a hospital, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, right next to another billionaire that you have heard of. It is an institute founded by Howard Hughes. Wait until I introduce you to the doctors working to find a cure for cancer, in just a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are using zebra fish to study blood development in normal individuals and also in mutants.
HUNTSMAN: So zebra fish and humans are very similar in that sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are very similar in many senses, actually. So they serve as a very good vertebrate model for our diseases. And we try to imitate those diseases in the zebra fish so we can study the effects of drugs or the effects of mutated genes on blood development.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: You are in for a treat. Two of the finest medical minds at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Dr. Randall Burt. He is the senior director for prevention and outreach. And Dr. Mary Beckerle, she is the institute`s executive director.
First, let`s start with the fish. Tell me about the fish.
DR. MARY BECKERLE, HUNTSMAN CANCER INSTITUTE: These are not my pets.
BECKERLE: These are actually a really important model system that allows us to understand cancer mechanisms that apply to humans, because fish are actually very similar to humans. We have incredible expertise in genetics and, of course, we understand that cancer is a genetic disease.
We can`t study all of the aspects of cancer in humans. But we can use the fish to understand cancer mechanisms, to develop better strategies for treating human cancer.
BECK: When we went around last time, you took me around, let me just make sure I understand this right, because I saw floor after floor after floor of labs and these fish. A patient comes in, has cancer. You`re assigned not only a doctor but geneticist. And they take the cancer out of you. Is this for each patient? And they put it in the fish? And they try to find the right meds for you? How does it work exactly?
DR. RANDALL C. BURT, HUNTSMAN CANCER INSTITUTE: Well, there are certain things about cancer that one can know from its DNA profile that contribute to the cancer treatment. We even start one step further back from that. We do a blood test on them to see.
BECK: On the fish or the people?
BURT: The people.
BURT: To see what kind of cancers they`re predisposed to. And there are several major cancers where a large fraction of people that have them have a genetic predisposition, colon, breast, melanoma, as examples.
BECK: Even like lung cancer is really not caused by smoking per se, it just turns a switch on in some people, right?
BURT: Well, all cancer is genetic. You either inherit mutations or they`re acquired through carcinogens or other functions.
BECK: OK. OK. So when somebody comes in, this is -- I`m taking it, this is new thinking that it is not just you get this round of medicine and that`s what -- it`s not one size fit all, this is trying to help find what`s exactly right for that patient.
BECKERLE: Yes. So there are two main points you that just made. One is that it`s not one size fits all. I think in the early days of cancer research we were hopeful that there was going to be a single cause.
BECK: Just take a pill for it.
BECKERLE: Yes, you take a pill and it would affect all cancers. But now we understand that it`s a much more complex problem. And so what we`re really trying to do is tailor the treatment to the individual tumor. And also what we want to do is to have treatments that kill the tumor but don`t kill our normal cells. And that`s a place where the zebra fish will really help us a lot.
BECK: You know, I really didn`t understand cancer until I read -- I can`t remember the last book that Carl Sagan wrote. And there was that last chapter about him dying of cancer, and I don`t think he even knew what it was and the treatment, and he said, when they walked in with the chemotherapy and they had the skull and crossbones, he said, I knew it was a race, can they kill the disease before they kill me?
I mean, it is brutal, brutal stuff. Do you see a time where we don`t -- the cures aren`t that way? How close do you think we are to knocking some of these big diseases out?
BURT: This will come step by step because cancer is really several hundred diseases, not a single disease. But as we discover the genes that cause it and the genes that are mutated to give rise to the cancer, specific therapies which are directed against those mutations or the cell mechanisms involved with those mutations will make cancer therapy much more effective and much less problematic.
BECK: OK. Now, Howard Hughes built a big institute right next to the Huntsman Cancer Center. When was that, in the `70s?
HUNTSMAN: That was in the `70s.
BECK: In the `70s. And the reason why he dropped it there in Utah is because he said, hey, this whole DNA gene-mapping thing might be a wave of the future. And so he dropped it in Utah, where you dropped yours, why?
BECKERLE: Why? Because we have the most amazing resource for genetic research in the world at Huntsman Cancer Institute. We have a population database that allows us to follow the inheritance of cancer-causing genes and identify the genes which are defective in patients that will acquire cancer during their lifetimes.
And this has been an incredibly powerful resource that has allowed our scientists to discover the genes that cause melanoma, colon cancer, breast cancer.
BECK: Right. But there is something about -- because Mormons -- and full disclosure here, I`m a Mormon. But Mormons are told, keep genealogy records. They`re also told, keep meticulous journals. So you can actually not only track the whole family but you can actually go back in some of these journals 100 years and say, I bet you that one was cancer, right?
BURT: Absolutely. But that`s only the beginning. By implication we can go back many, many generations. We have families from five to 20,000 people large. And these aren`t just Mormon families, these families spread all over the country and all over the world. We can determine where the genetic mutation started.
For instance, one large family that we`re studying came to the United States in 1640 and has a mutation that gives one a 70 to 80 percent risk of colon cancer. And so many people have come down from that original family that it probably represents up to 1 percent of all colon cancers in the country, a single mutation.
BECK: Does this mean if we could map everything, will you be able, then, to say to a baby, you probably are going to have this and you can prevent or treat it young?
BECKERLE: Having that information -- yes. I mean, having that information about the susceptibility definitely allows us to detect early and prevent a lot of different types of cancer.
BECK: OK. So, Jon, then let me ask you as a businessman. As a businessman you`re running a company where everybody in the country is talking about universal health care, which makes blood shoot out of my eyes. But how do you as a businessman then say you`re going to be able insure people? Because what the genetic information will say is this kid probably has a very good chance of getting cancer someplace in their life. How do you insure? How do you pay for?
As you know, cancer is lose-lose situation when it comes to finances. You can`t pay for cancer treatment.
HUNTSMAN: No, no, we`re spending right now over $50 million a year for cancer. And that`s why I take these loans out of the bank that we talked about earlier for cancer research. But we have to get insurance companies to understand that if we can identify early that you or that somebody else has a proclivity, that has a predisposed gene, that is somebody who is going definitely to get cancer, and we can insure that person, the insurance company is money ahead, rather than waiting until they`re 30 or 40 or 50 and then spending 30 or 40 years of taking care of health costs for them.
The insurance companies have to buy on that somewhere along the line if we can help people with a happier life, a healthier life, a better life, and less costs in the long run, it`s better for society. And I think that`s what we`re trying to do. And we have these incredible roles.
We have to realize, Glenn, that one out of two men and one out of three women in the United States and in Western Europe, most of the world, will get cancer in their lifetime, 550,000 people die a year of cancer, the highest disease for under age 85 people in the United States. So we have to focus on learning early detection and to get the insurance companies to come on board.
BECK: When we come back, I want to take you on a tour of this hospital, the Huntsman Cancer Institute. You will not believe what this place is like. Stick around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you walk in the doors of this building, there is this immediate feeling that is different than you get anywhere else. And the only word that I can equate it to is a feeling of hope. And I have no idea where it comes from. But it`s almost instantaneous when you walk in this building. It`s kind of humbling to be able to shake hands with and sit down and talk with the person who basically saved your life.
You know, what he did was indirectly -- no, I guess it really was direct. You know, he wasn`t at the controls with all of my treatment, but he and Karen (ph) made this amazing donation. So to shake hands.
So to shake hands with Jon, who is the great facilitator of all of this and enabled all of this, is actually very humbling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: I have to tell you that I had an experience at the Huntsman Cancer Institute that I have never had before. I`ve never met a man like Jon Huntsman. When we went around the Cancer Institute, I met patients. It was impromptu. It wasn`t scripted. It wasn`t planned. I just met patients. Nobody gave a flying crap about shaking my hand. But I saw patients, and I saw parents pour their heart out and thank this man like I`ve never seen before.
It is a different place, I told you about 20 minutes ago when I walked in I was told I was going to have lunch with Mr. Huntsman and I pulled up to the hospital and I went, mmm, yummy hospital food. You put -- I walked in, and I said, this is not a hospital. And you said to me, it`s going to be a Ritz Carlton, everybody thinks I`m joking, but we`re going to cure cancer first, and I`m turning it into a Ritz Carlton.
Then you took me up to the cafeteria. Tell me about the cafeteria and why it`s that way.
HUNTSMAN: Well, Glenn, it`s really important that people who are suffering from cancer, people who have had cancer in their lives and who are taking chemotherapy or radiation or have had surgery, it`s very, very important to them that emotionally they be well served by friends, by relatives, by loved ones and that their food be well prepared.
And so what we did is we want to spoil them with love and we want to spoil them with the right food. So we don`t bring in hospital food anymore. What we try to do -- and I was a patient for 11 days with prostate cancer, and I looked at some of those meals and I thought they were World War II (INAUDIBLE), some of those kits that the soldiers would carry on their belts.
And so what we have at our hospital is a room service. You can call 24 hours a day. We have a pizza oven. We have buffalo steak. We have a chocolate milkshake, whatever they want whenever they want it. That helps in their recovery. And I think that`s a trend of cancer hospitals, especially hospitals, take such wonderful care of the patient that all they`ll want to do is forget their disease and become better.
BECK: I`m not kidding you. It`s the best roast beef I`ve ever had. I`m not kidding you, I`ve eaten at good restaurants. It was unbelievable. And then I went to see the rooms. And the rooms are different.
You know, the concept, as I understand it is, it`s not just one person in the family that`s sick, it affects everyone. So tell me about the rooms. Tell me about the experience the patient has.
BURT: Well, the Huntsman family has allowed us to do this. This isn`t your typical university hospital, cancer hospital, or private hospital. Everything is done to give the patient a pleasant experience. Cancer by itself is so extremely difficult that the family wanted a hospital built that would give confidence, that would give comfort, that could give rest.
And that has rubbed off on our scientists and physicians as well, who are world class themselves, but everyone participates together in this very wonderful setting to provide the absolute best, most comfortable, most positive care that can be given for an incredibly difficult disease.
BECK: It`s really three places in a way. It is an unbelievable world-class research center. I mean, one part of the hospital is just research labs as far as you can see, and I`ve never seen anything like it. Then you go in and it is, you know, hospital but not like any hospital I`ve ever seen.
And then it`s almost like apartment living for the family. There`s an office for the family. So if my son is there, I`ve got to do business. So I`ve got an office there. There`s laundry -- I mean, it`s a kitchen for the family, a living room for the family. It`s amazing.
BURT: Showers for the family.
BECK: What is the impact? Why is that -- medically, why is that important?
BECKERLE: This impact is immeasurable. It`s what gives people hope. It keeps them connected to their loved ones. It keeps them connected for the reason they want to go on living. It keeps them connected to the beauty of the environment. And it keeps them connected to the hope of research, which is going to make a difference in their disease and in others beyond them.
BECK: So what`s next? Because I know you are donating -- you`re giving -- are you giving -- are you going to die a broke man?
HUNTSMAN: I hope so. I hope so. I`ve been broke most of my life, Glenn. Listen, listen, listen it`s such an honor and privilege that of course I`m going to go -- a broke man. My children know that, the grandchildren, but what a privilege. This is the way -- I mean, I came on this earth without a penny, and why not leave that way?
So that`s why i give gratitude to these scientists, to the doctors. I mean, they`re our heroes today. They`re our superheroes today because they`re conquering the world`s most critical disease, Glenn, and I`m just very, very honored, very privileged that we could do this.
BECK: OK. So what`s next? Because I know you`re giving all your money away. What`s next? What is the next phase for the hospital? Because you`re doubling in size, are you not?
HUNTMAN: We are. We are doubling in size, and we`ve got to conquer this disease. There are over 200 different types of cancers, and these wonderful people, Dr. Burt, Dr. Beckerle, their colleagues at other cancer institutes and other places around the country are working hard to overcome the world`s most difficult health problem, which is cancer. And what we need more than anything else is money, of course.
We`re giving all we can make. We`re giving all that we have. But we need more. We need people who have had cancer. We need people who may get cancer. We need people who are predisposed for the disease, which include almost everybody, to send in their contributions and to recognize that it doesn`t do a lot of good in life to just make a lot of money.
I have this great plaque behind my desk, Glenn, and it says: "The greatest exercise for the human heart is to reach down and lift another up." Everybody is into exercise programs. The greatest exercise for the human heart is to reach down and lift another up. And that`s what we`re trying to do in cancer.
And so we need the funds, and we`re grateful for those who give them, but we`re going to make a difference in cancer.
BECK: How does somebody get involved? How does somebody donate?
HUNTSMAN: It`s just Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah. And whether it`s research, if they`d like to come out there, we have places, other places around the U.S. We`re putting Huntsman Cancer Hospitals in the...
HUNTSMAN: . out West.
BECK: I have to tell you, there`s a place when you come in, it`s almost like a library, but it`s like a library you`d find at somebody like your house. It`s one of those wood-paneled beautiful libraries. And it`s really for the people who are -- when they`re being told by the doctor you`re in trouble.
BECKERLE: It`s for the patients and for their families to get information because information gives people hope.
BECK: OK. We`ll be back. Final moments with Jon Huntsman and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was the only thing I had control over, the only thing was getting up in the morning, deciding what I`m going to put on my feet and walk into chemo. That`s the only thing I had control over.
There were days when the treatments had just wrecked the body. I`m in a wheelchair, he`s pushing, and I have on heels. Hello. It is all about attitude.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the last six years, we have gone on an annual bike ride. We start in Reno, Nevada, and ride 667 miles across Highway 50 and we do it as a fundraiser for Huntsman Cancer Institute. And I am throwing out a challenge to Glenn to join me on at least one day of this ride. If he wants to be a sick and twisted freak, this is the way, the absolute way to be that sick and twisted freak.
So the challenge is out, Glenn, come ride with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: The American Heart Institute would then have to be involved because 600 miles, I tell you what, I will take that challenge and I will - - it`s a 600-mile ride. I will write a check. If he makes all 600 miles, I will write him a check for $10 a mile.
HUNTSMAN: What a man. Thank you, Glenn.
BECK: Thank you, sir. You bet.
HUNTSMAN: Generous as can be, thank you.
BECK: You bet. You need money for the institute. One man can`t do it alone. You`re in the next 18 months giving away $2 billion of your -- is that right, $2 billion of your 1.8.
HUNTSMAN: Between 1 and 2.
BECK: Yes, between $1 billion and $2 billion. What`s a billion here or there of your own personal fortune? But you are asking for people`s help.
HUNTSMAN: Well, cancer, Glenn, is a hugely expensive undertaking. We have some of the world`s greatest scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute, and other cancer institutes do also, but this takes enormous amounts of money to find ways that we can prevent cancer, ways we can help those who suffer from cancer. And to give a quality of life to people who through no fault of their own, young mothers, young children, they have no reason at all for getting this disease.
And so we have to figure out how to inoculate babies and end this once and for all, how to help young mothers, how to help beautiful ladies of their senior years. And it takes money, because it`s only going to happen through research. And I believe your show showed earlier that childhood leukemia used to be a 50 percent cure rate. Today it`s a 90 percent cure rate. What a wonderful breakthrough.
BECK: America, I would just like to ask you two things. Please read this book. It`s two years old. This guy didn`t care if it makes a dime. I care that you read this book. You will meet a man that you just don`t see very often. And please, help the Huntsman Cancer Institute, a worthwhile cause.
Thank you, sir. A true honor.