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How one mother’s devotion inspired her son to become a physician

Randy Lesh, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine class of 2022, was in high school when his grandmother Ann Coolbaugh was diagnosed with colon cancer. He watched his mother, Robin Lesh, leave a job she loved as a supervisor in a Geisinger clinic. She moved into a work-from-home position in the Care Gaps Department at Geisinger so she could care for her ailing mother.

The experience brought with it a lesson in the power of selflessness — one that would inspire Randy to pursue a career in medicine.

“When my grandma had cancer, I watched her doctors take care of her, but I also watched my mom,” Randy said.

A perfect match

And when Randy matched to Geisinger’s otolaryngology head and neck surgery residency on March 18, his grandmother and mother were at his side cheering him on.

For Robin, the moment was one of supreme joy. 

“It wasn’t feasible for me to go to college, so I always urged Randy,” she said. “I wanted him to do something that would make him happy. I always hoped it would be medicine.”

As for Ann, nothing could top his acceptance to Geisinger Commonwealth four years earlier. “She cried for about an hour,” Robin said. “You would have sworn we won the lottery.”

Support like no other

Randy was elated to match at Geisinger. He felt supported by his preceptors as a Geisinger Commonwealth student, especially surgeon Tim Farrell, MD. 

“I had some early experiences in the operating room with Dr. Farrell,” Randy said. “He took me under his wing and introduced me to surgery, sparking my interest in ENT.”

Randy also mentions the support he received throughout his training. “I felt at home at Geisinger. My mentors were invested in me and my education, and emphasized the importance of putting the patient first. I know I’ll get exceptional training here.”

A bright future ahead

Looking to the future, Robin is positive of one thing. 

“Randy will be an excellent physician,” she said. “I would be honored if he stayed here as a Geisinger doctor.”

She notes it’s the commitment to patients that sets Geisinger apart. “I would never stay employed at an organization for 30 years unless I knew they did great things for our community,” Robin said. 
an image of Randy Lesh