Dr. Andrew Gresko has found inspiration in family, friends, and patients during his life. He credits his mother as his inspiration to go into the healthcare field. Throughout his childhood in the Cleveland, Ohio area, he saw her deal with major seizures from epilepsy. He wanted to help, and that drive to help others continues today.
As a child, Dr. Gresko was into sports. He played basketball, baseball, football, but really found a home playing soccer. He was on the High School Select team from Northeast Ohio and even traveled to Europe to play. He said fans there rooted for them, even chanting “USA! USA!” from the stands at a championship game in Germany. They won all the tournaments they played. He says those friendships made in childhood and his family are where it all started. He fondly recalls family holidays with the traditional meals of his Czechoslovakian grandparents.
He was the first in his family to go to college. He graduated from the University of South Carolina and went on to pharmacy school there. While in pharmacy school he met a fellow student, Patty, who would later become his wife. He said after graduation, she encouraged him to go on to medical school and into cardiology. “Cardiology had everything, both the ability to help people and make a difference with preventative medicine, as well as fascinating technology. The things we do are just fun. To look at an echocardiogram or ultrasound of the heart, how impressive is that?” Today, even though the technology is still an important part of his job, his focus for his patients has shifted to secondary prevention. He wants his patients to live a healthier lifestyle and do the simple things in life that can make a big difference. “If you walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week, you live 25% longer. You feel better mentally and physically. You can decrease Alzheimer’s disease, have better skin, and increase your metabolism. If I had a pill that did all that, we wouldn’t be talking right now about this, I’d be the richest person in the world,” he said with a laugh.
Much of his inspiration today comes from his family – his son Drew who is working on his master’s degree, his daughter Rachel Ann who is about to graduate from college, and especially his wife Patty. For more than 20 years, she’s volunteered as a pharmacist at The Friendship Clinic and is now the director there. She’s also helped to lead community events and fundraisers. She inspires him to give back. Even his latest hobby is about giving back. For the last five years or so, he’s been a beekeeper. At any given time, they have 15 to 30 beehives. “It takes me away from the rest of the world and is totally engaging when you’re doing it.” They harvest and sell the honey with the proceeds going to The Friendship Clinic.
While talking about his career in cardiology, Dr. Gresko says he loves hearing his patients’ stories. “I’ve had the privilege of people opening up and sharing with me some of the toughest challenges or the happiest of the moments. They share that with you, if you just stop for a moment and listen,” which he says inspires him in his own life.