Paul Wilson runs a marathon every winter to show gratitude that his son has lived one more year.
The cause he started now has a national donor.
Realtor Magazine named Wilson, a Realtor with Re/Max Unlimited, a winner of its 2014 Good Neighbor Award. The award honors five Realtors nationally who have strengthened their communities through causes that better the lives of their neighbors.
Each recipient receives a $10,000 grant for their charity.
Five years ago Wilson established a 55-mile ultra-marathon event to benefit Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Wilson’s son, Luke, was born with spina bifida and received difficult surgery at the hospital within hours of his birth.
During the many treatments that followed, Wilson often paced the halls
at the hospital.
On the wall there was a timeline of the hospital’s progress and behind that, a list of donors.
“I thought I could just run a little bit and raise some money to give back,” he said.
He decided to run a mile for every year Wolfson had been helping children.
He originally thought Wolfson was 30 years old, but soon discovered it was 55. The event became a 55-mile “ultra” marathon.
Wilson thought he’d maybe raise $5,000 for the hospital. In five years, he’s raised more than $2 million.
Wilson recently saw an inspirational saying: “The wealthiest place on the planet is the graveyard. Because it’s where you’ll find inventions we never were exposed to, ideas and dreams that never became a reality, hopes and aspirations that we never acted upon.”
“If any of you out there have anything that’s just tugging at your heartstrings, that you feel passionate about, just act on it. Look what happens,” Wilson said at a recent Northeast Florida Association of Realtors meeting.
Wilson will receive his award Nov. 8 at the 2014 Realtor Conference & Expo in New Orleans. He also will be profiled in the November/December issue of Realtor Magazine.
In addition to Wilson, two other Florida Realtors received Good Neighbor recognition.
Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt of Beach Properties of Florida in Santa Rosa Beach won $10,000 for her Children’s Volunteer Health Network, which provides free medical, dental, vision and mental-health care to needy children.
Gail Doxie of Re/Max Realty Group in Fort Myers was a finalist for her Miles of Smiles Foundation, which offers equine-assisted therapy for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
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