In 1967 Gerald Stepner, Sc.D., was rushed to New England Deaconess from Lynn Hospital with serious internal bleeding. He survived day-long surgery with 17 pints of transfused blood and spent the next 68 days in the Boston hospital. "I was going to change my ZIP code," he jokes. Gerald, also known as Jerry, returned to the Deaconess in 1982 when his late wife, Ty, underwent triple bypass surgery. "They were so wonderful to her that we decided that we had to show our gratitude somehow so that other people could benefit from the facilities," Jerry says.
This fall Jerry and his new wife, Clara Duplessis-Stepner, bequeathed $1 million from their estate to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for diabetes research. Estate gifts, also known as bequests, are made by will and are one of BIDMC's most enduring sources of individual support. In memory of Jerry's parents, Samuel and Rose, and their late spouses, Ty and Bill, a plaque that recognizes their gift adorns the information desk in the lobby of the Farr building, where Jerry received his care. "It just seemed the right thing to do," says the former co-owner of three community pharmacies on the North Shore of his planned gift. "Diabetes affects a wide range of people. I felt that I might be able to reach more people if what I do bears fruit. This is a way to help and give back." Ty and Bill both struggled with the disease, and Bill had both his legs amputated as a result. "You just have to look around," Jerry explains. "You go to the mall. You go anywhere, and you see the extent of obesity. I feel that diabetes is going to be a plague in the future, and I feel that something has to be done."
Bequests allow BIDMC to build new facilities, launch important research projects, sustain innovative clinical programs, and expand departments by adding new staff and equipment-all of which are vital to the success of the medical center. Consider leaving your own legacy at BIDMC.