Evelyn Stoeckert beamed with pride as she watched her grandson, Jacob Sambursky, take a step closer to becoming one of those healers who gave her a second chance at life.
Last year, 95 year-old Stoeckert suffered a heart attack that caused her heart to stop beating for 30 minutes. Doctors managed to save her and when she revived, she made a promise to her grandson: “I’m not going anywhere yet, I’ll be here to see you graduate.”
On March 22, she looked on from her wheelchair as Sambursky opened his envelope at UCF’s Match Day ceremony, which revealed he was accepted into a neurology residency at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“It’s just a happy day,” says Stoeckert, who made the trip from Jacksonville to attend the event. “And to be here today is just wonderful. Many years ago we used to come down to Disney and I used be wheeling him around in his stroller. Well last night we were at the boardwalk and he was the one wheeling me around, so we’ve come full circle.”
After they learn their match results, UCF students go to a podium on the Tavistock Green and announce where they will spend their next three to seven years of graduate medical training. Sambursky, who received his undergraduate degree from the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, fought back tears as he dedicated his residency to his grandmother.
“She’s really made me the emotional, spiritual and ethical person that I am today.” — Jacob Sambursky speaking about his grandmother
“She’s really made me the emotional, spiritual and ethical person that I am today,” he says later, crying about almost losing her. “So it was super-important that she was here to celebrate that with me today. The College of Medicine did a great job, but she was at the very center of it.”
Medicine, Sambursky says, uniquely combines his love of science and people. And he said neurology became his specialty of choice after his clerkship in the subject during his third year of medical school.
“Neurological symptoms are usually ones that are with someone for life,” he says, “and I really want to be there and become like a part of the family for all my patients, to know that I can be there and be the person that they can call when they are in need. It’s a very sacred relationship — that physician-patient relationship, and I knew that I would get that in neurology.”