Relationships that became unexpectedly meaningful.
Despite back surgeries in his 40’s and a heart attack in his 50’s, Cory feels lucky. He feels blessed to be able to live in sunny Encinitas, volunteer on a number of community-building projects, and take time for simple pleasures like riding horses or just relaxing in the sun while his daughter takes lessons.
“I have three fantastic daughters and a wonderful wife and a great life, really,” he says. “I’m healthier now and more grateful than I’ve ever been, and Scripps is a big reason why.”
His care during a series of back surgeries moved Cory to make financial donations to Scripps many years ago. Since that time, this jovial, civic-minded man has developed strong relationships with the many people who share his goals for the hospital.
Those relationships became unexpectedly and deeply meaningful to him in February of last year.
The power of a cardboard sign
“I woke up at 7 a.m. with very bad chest pain, and we headed to Scripps,” he recalls. “I know the people there. I trust them.”
Though an EKG (test of the heart) did not reveal an obvious problem, the emergency room doctor knew Cory was in danger. He ordered another, more specific test to diagnose one artery that was 100 percent blocked. Scripps’ cardiology experts immediately used a catheter and stent to open the artery.
“I was only 53, and I was having a heart attack. But I went from really hurting to ‘fixed,’ in 10 minutes,” he laughs. “If they had let me go home to eat breakfast, I would have. I felt so good so quickly.”
During a check-up a few months later, his cardiologist shared a small cardboard sign on which he’d written,“Heart Attack 2012.”
“Then he flipped the sign over, and I saw he’d written, ‘Survives and thrives, February 24, 2013,” Cory recalls with a broad smile. “‘Survives and thrives.’ He’d remembered my telling him about a church healing service, where people used signs like that for prayer and inspiration. That was his way—a very powerful way—of telling me that I was going to be all right.”
The power of trust
Like Cory, his father found the same quiet competence and compassion in the people at Scripps. This became especially clear when he became very ill.
“The last time Dad came to Scripps, he was dying of cancer,” Cory recalls. “During that stay, his doctor came into the room, looked at my dad and his records, then took me immediately to a private room. He told me how serious Dad was—and told me I probably shouldn’t leave the hospital.”
Cory’s father died that day.
“Because he cared about my dad and about me, I had the opportunity to have my dad die in my arms. I was there for him, to comfort him. And because of that exceptional doctor, I was there to learn one last lesson from Dad: how to die with dignity.”
Cory credits his father and his mother for many other lessons and many blessings, as well, which is why his father’s last hours at Scripps were so important to him. Adopted into their loving but modest home in the 1960s, he remained close to his father, a barber by trade, and his mother, a schoolteacher, throughout their lives.
A trade school education lead to his first electrician’s job, where he was eventually entrusted to open up a branch of the company in San Diego. He later ventured out to build his own successful company, a high tech builder for a broad range of industry leaders, such as the U.S. Department of Defense, Intel and Disney.
Taking opportunities to “give back”
“I’m so grateful for having been placed in such an environment and in the right places all throughout my life,” he says. “I was very lucky and very blessed to be given the chances I had. So for me and my family, ‘giving back’ to important organizations like Scripps is really in our DNA. My support for the hospital might give someone else chances like my family and I have had.”
In Cory’s first project for Scripps, he helped raise $38 million, one donation at a time.
“The bottom line is, Scripps is the place to go, and I want to do my part to make it as good as it can be—for me, my family and our community.”
By sharing his story, Cory continues his support of Scripps. He hopes to inspire others to give, too.
For information about how to give to Scripps, go to www.scripps.org/giving, call 800-326-3776 or send an e-mail to [email address].
Thank you for joining Cory to make Scripps as good as it can be—for you, your loved ones and your neighbors.