At Cooley Dickinson Hospital, we're profoundly grateful to all the community members who support us every day. Some of these special people choose to name Cooley Dickinson in their wills, ensuring our ability to deliver great health care to our community for generations to come. In fact, the hospital was founded 125 years ago because of a gift Caleb Cooley Dickinson left through his will.
Eileen Kirby Wanted to Improve Lives
Making a difference was always important to Eileen. She considered it a "way of life." Whether organizing the Auxiliary's annual fashion show or assisting at one of our blood pressure clinics, she wanted to help others.
She believed in the important work that takes place here, and wanted to be sure she continued to have an impact on the care provided to others long after her lifetime. Using the power of her will, Eileen earmarked 10% of her estate to support Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Although she died in 2009, Eileen's generosity continues to make a difference today for our patients.
When planning a gift through your will, it's sometimes difficult to determine what size donation makes sense. You want to make sure your family is secure before providing for Cooley Dickinson. By following Eileen's example of leaving a percentage of your estate, you ensure that your gift will be an appropriate amount, even if the value of your estate fluctuates over time.
A Husband's Desire to Honor His Wife Leads to a $1,700,000 Bequest in Support of Cancer Care
"Marge always had a soft spot in her heart for Cooley Dickinson," said Ernie Vitkauskas of his wife of fifty-five years.
For Margaret and Ernest Vitkauskas, ties to Cooley Dickinson went back a long, long way. From 1961 to 1981, Marge was the administrative secretary to William T. Lees, Jr., then head of the hospital. She loved her job, and her colleagues and the medical staff were "family."
Ernest and Margaret Vitkauskas
Long after Marge retired, the Vitkauskases kept their eye on CDH. As the hospital steadily strengthened and broadened its facilities and services, their commitment grew. In 2005, they proudly became members of the Caleb Cooley Dickinson Society, which recognizes the generosity of planned giving donors. "We knew we had a winner," said Ernie, "A place where we could really make a difference."
Marge died in 2007, but Ernie was determined to keep on giving to the hospital because of her. The Vitkauskases particularly wanted Cooley Dickinson to have what Ernie called "the best in oncology." Ernie Vitkauskas died in January, 2010, but the couple's legacy lives on. A portion of their bequest has been used to purchase a second linear accelerator for radiation therapy.
Says radiation oncologist Dr. Linda Bornstein, "This amazing machine – the very same model that Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center is purchasing – enables us to deliver ultra complex and precise treatments that target cancer cells, while better sparing the surrounding normal tissue."
Thanks to Marge and Ernie's love of Cooley Dickinson, Northampton, and each other—our oncology program is stronger than ever. Now and into the future, their generosity will have a tremendous impact on literally thousands of lives.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital was started with a planned gift.
Our founder Caleb Cooley Dickinson
When our founder Caleb Cooley Dickinson died in 1882, he left a bequest of $100,000 to establish a hospital where the sick would be "tenderly and kindly provided for." His vision was realized when we opened our doors on January 1, 1886, and we know he would be proud of the care we provide today and pleased to know that so many have benefitted from his gift.
The Caleb Cooley Dickinson Society was formed to recognize community members who follow Mr. Dickinson's generous vision and have designated Cooley Dickinson Hospital in their wills or made another type of planned gift.
What is your legacy?
Think about your needs, those of your loved ones and your commitment to Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Consult with your family, friends and advisers. Thoughtfully executed, planned gifts may provide important personal benefits today as well as a future gift to Cooley Dickinson.
Our staff is available to meet with you to discuss what option is best for you and how you might achieve your goals. Always seek the counsel of your professional advisers on the best estate plan for your individual situation.
Thank you for your interest.