Texas Round Table put on its sixth annual Pancakes for Parkinson’s fundraiser Wednesday in honor of UT math professor James Vick, who has Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disease of the nervous system which causes tremors, muscle rigidity and imprecise movement. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is a research organization working to find a cure for the disease. All proceeds from the event were donated to the foundation.
“The foundation is one of the main groups doing research on treating the disease, preventing it, understanding it,” Vick said. “They have a remarkable staff of scientists and physicians. So we’re pleased to have the opportunity for students to work with them and maybe get some information [about the illness] back.”
Lanie Nguyen, advertising sophomore and an event volunteer, said this year Texas Round Table, a student outreach organization, made a few improvements to the event, including a pancake-eating contest and selling raffle tickets.
Will Cowan, international relations and global studies senior and a chair of Pancakes for Parkinson’s, said in an email that on average, the organization typically raises $10,000 every year.
Vick said the event is also a good way to keep in contact with the foundation’s research efforts.
“In the past, there have been some opportunities for those on campus to get information about the disease Parkinson’s and about the Michael J. Fox Foundation,” Vick said. “I have talked to a number of students whose parents have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, so it is a way for them to stay connected with something like the Michael J. Fox Foundation.”
Nisha George, speech/language pathology senior and a chair of Pancakes for Parkinson’s, said she’s glad UT is invested in this cause.
“Since UT is one of the top research universities in the world, I think it’s fitting that we raise funds for Parkinson’s research,” George said. “Since most of our attendees are students who don’t have Parkinson’s themselves, our two main initiatives are raising funds and raising awareness.”
Vick said he is pleased with the event and how it’s grown over the years.
“I’m really grateful to the students and to the staff who have done so much work in putting this together every year,” Vick said. “The donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation are substantial, and we’re not all billionaires, but we can do something. And we have a lot of students, so that turns into significant support.”