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Stepping Up to Meet COVID-19 

Stepping Up to Meet COVID-19 

In the months since the onset of COVID-19, thousands of individuals and groups from across the country have made financial donations to support Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 response. Here are just a few of their stories. 

Just 1 Percent Makes a Difference 

In April, Melissa Engdahl and her family received a check through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and decided to give some of that money back to the Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology. 

“When I researched and found out that they were taking donations specifically to understand the biology behind COVID-19 and how to treat people who currently have it, I said, ‘yes, this is what I need to give to,’” recalls Engdahl, whose family resides in Charleston, South Carolina.  

In a video that has garnered thousands of views, Engdahl encourages others to join her in donating 1 percent or more of their stimulus checks to Johns Hopkins or any other organization involved in COVID-19 response efforts. “In my mind,” she says, “if everyone gives just a little, it adds up to a lot.” 

‘I Have to Do My Part’ 

Temporarily unable to return home to Turkey for a long-awaited family visit in the spring, Dorukhan Doruk monitored the news from Montana State University, where he is a master’s student in civil engineering.  

He decided to donate to a health care organization heavily involved in COVID-19 response and research to speed the end of the pandemic — and found Johns Hopkins the right place to support. 

“I thought, if I cannot do anything but sit at home, I have to do something. I have to do my part,” Doruk says. “Johns Hopkins is one of the oldest medical institutions in the United States, and I think you’ve got a good head start in this work.” 

Fourth Graders Join the Fight 

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, fourth-grade teacher Susan Thomas and her fiance, Eric Lind, found a large jar of coins in their home and created Four for Fourth, a program through which students in four classes at Trumansburg Elementary, in New York, would discuss the importance of philanthropy, then each decide where to make a donation. Thomas’ class chose COVID-19 research at Johns Hopkins as the recipient of its $100 donation. 

In July, she and some students joined a Zoom call with Johns Hopkins pulmonologist Panagis Galiatsatos, who talked about the coronavirus and how researchers are working to find treatments and a vaccine.  

He emphasized that the students themselves could play a big role in helping bring COVID-19 under control. “The more you guys stay informed, stay active, stay advocating, the more you’ll save lives,” said Galiatsatos, who has led efforts at Johns Hopkins Medicine to create a new coronavirus curriculum designed for school-aged children. 

Power in Proactivity 

Erick Vargas Bromberg began a new job as a chef du cuisine in New York’s vaunted Charlie Palmer restaurant group just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down America’s largest city and devastated its restaurant industry. 

Vargas Bromberg, one of a handful to remain employed by the company, is working daily to cook meals for frontline workers at New York’s hard-hit hospitals. “As much as I’m able, I’m donating to those who are providing for the needy and the first responders, and toward research,” he says.  

That includes a donation to support Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 response efforts. “Instead of spending my money on an absurd amount of toilet paper or flour, I’d rather give to something that matters,” says Vargas Bromberg.  

To make a gift to support the COVID- effort at Johns Hopkins Medicine, call Adrienne Rose, senior associate director of development, at 646-808-4056 (cell) or visit:

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