Paul Thompson is likely one of the best known Johns Hopkins medical campus groundskeepers, with his slight build and glasses, his ear-to-ear smile and infectious positive attitude. “Have a GREAT day!” can be heard far and wide probably hundreds of times a day. Paul has been a university employee for almost twelve years and has been keeping the buildings and grounds of the medical area well tended for all of those years.
But Paul has another claim to fame. He has been the biggest individual fund raiser at Johns Hopkins every year for the last five years in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Annual Fundraising Campaign, “Walk for a Cure.” He has raised thousands of dollars each year, earning himself two “Golden Sneaker” trophies, awarded to those who raise over $1000 per event. This year, he collected pledges in excess of $5200, with a matching corporate pledge of $3000 that put his contribution over the $8000 mark. Additionally, Paul seems to completely throw himself into the preparations for the event, making sure to be one of the first on site and volunteering to hand out t-shirts to those who have raised over $100 in pledges.
His accomplishment has brought him recognition within his department as well as by the larger Hopkins community, being taken on a congratulatory lunch by his supervisor, Jack McVeigh, and being featured in several of Hopkins’ publications. This year, to honor Paul’s outstanding contribution, Hopkins is sponsoring a weekend stay and providing a gift certificate for dinner in Little Italy for Paul and his wife Bonnie at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
“Paul shows an enthusiasm in his fund raising efforts for the juvenile diabetes foundation that is contagious,” says McVeigh, director of maintenance and operations for the JHU medical campus. “Each year his goal is to surpass his previous year’s total, and this year he eclipsed last year’s total by nearly tripling the amount raised. I am very proud of Paul and his involvement in such a worthwhile cause.”
When asked why he dedicates himself to this cause with such fervor, Paul’s face breaks into a broad grin and he quips, “‘Cause I love it!” He also talks about the people he’s met while raising money who have the disease, as well as one of his wife’s cousins who had juvenile onset and now manages his diabetes with the insulin pump, a revolutionary tool in maintaining the proper blood sugar levels so crucial to managing the symptoms. He is also quick to point out the goal of the event, which is to finally find a cure for diabetes.
But most of all, Paul contributes his time and energy with such enthusiasm because, in his words, “It just feels good, it really does…”