Gary and Sandy Sojka

Gary and Sandy Sojka

Before Gary Sojka, PhD, accepted the position of president at Bucknell University, he and his wife, Sandy, needed to find highly specialized care for their 15-year-old son, Dirk. Geisinger filled that need, and for over 18 years, the physicians and staff gave Dirk the specialized care he needed with a compassionate, human touch.

When the Sojkas arrived in Pennsylvania, Geisinger stepped in to provide the specialized treatment and skilled care Dirk's complicated medical and neurological conditions required. Over nearly two decades, until he passed away at age 33 in 2002, Dirk's cardiology and pediatric specialists at Geisinger helped him through the challenges of multiple procedures and hospitalizations with sensitivity and skill.

"The staff would do very special things for Dirk," says Sandy. "For example, whenever it was possible, they would try to give him a room where he could watch the helicopter take off and land. It would make his day."

This blend of state-of-the-art care and the art of caring led the Sojkas to establish an endowment fund in Dirk's honor. The fund supports pediatric cardiology. The Sojkas have also included Geisinger in their planned giving by establishing a charitable gift annuity for Geisinger's general fund.

"Even though Dirk is no longer with us, we continue to celebrate his life—and it is fitting that we do so with Geisinger," says Dr. Sojka.

Recently, Gary and Sandy have taken a leadership role in supporting joint initiatives undertaken by Bucknell University and Geisinger. Among the current initiatives are the Bucknell Geisinger Research Initiative and the Bucknell-Geisinger Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute. "We are proud to support the important work being done as a result of the Bucknell-Geisinger partnership, two nationally-recognized institutions working together to advance healthcare delivery, education, and research," explain Sandy and Gary.