“Which One’s More Important?”

August 7, 2020

From the moment Gregory von York first rode a friend’s electric dirt bike last year, he was hooked. For months, the nine-year-old from Richmond, Va., saved all of his allowance and gift money to get one for himself.

A young boy wearing a black, yellow, and white baseball cap stands on the sideline of a baseball field, resting his chin on the top of a fence.
Gregory von York donated to Johns Hopkins researchers in the hopes they can help bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic — and a return to his normal activities, like baseball.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Von York’s school closed. His travel baseball team shut down. And he came to his parents with a surprising question. Instead of buying the bike, could he donate his savings?

“I mean, if you think about it, which one’s more important – trying to help save people’s lives or just doing something for myself?” von York says of his decision.

“It humbled us to our core as parents and made us unimaginably proud,” says Kadie von York, Gregory’s mom.

The family sat together to determine where Gregory would make his donation. He wanted to help fill several of the voids created by COVID-19, so the family settled on three recipients: a local food bank, a charity supporting Richmond’s homeless, and Johns Hopkins’ pandemic response funds.

“We’d checked the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website for information when it was really hard to find information about COVID earlier this year, so we thought that supporting their workers and researchers would be a good place to start,” Kadie says of the decision.

“I hope they can help people find a cure, and maybe a vaccination,” Gregory adds. “I just hope it can help save some people’s lives.”

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Topics: Friends of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Promote and Protect Health