A student dressed as a pancake caught people’s attention on the Gregory Gym Plaza on Wednesday and attracted people to the Pancakes for Parkinson’s fundraiser.
The fundraiser, which was hosted by Texas Round Table and held in honor of Professor Jim Vick, benefited the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s research on Parkinson’s disease. The disease is a central nervous system disorder that affects the daily lives of about one million people across the United States with symptoms such as muscle stiffness, fatigue and tremors. There is currently no cure for it.
Business freshman Ethan Escudero said he thought Pancakes for Parkinson’s was for an exemplary cause such as other events and organizations on campus, but stood out because it was personal. Texas Round Table set a goal of raising $5,000.
“Pancakes for Parkinson’s seems more personal compared to others because it affects people, their parents and their grandparents,” Escudero said.
Jim Vick, UT mathematics professor since 1970 and former vice president for student affairs, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 10 years ago.
“About six months after I was diagnosed, my family worked with students to start Pancakes for Parkinson’s at UT,” Vick said.
Vick said he has worked with many people, had a lot of fun raising to support the Michael J. Fox Foundation, named after the famous actor who has Parkinson’s and would love to see a cure found.
“It’s great for students to reach out to those who have a need,” Vick said. “The students have done a really great job; I’m very proud of them.”
Sociology senior Divine Ntomchukwu has been volunteering with Pancakes for Parkinson’s since his freshman year.
“At first, it was just the idea of having a normal event every year, but then the University found out Dr. Vick had Parkinson’s,” Ntomchukwu said. “The president at the time wanted to have an event in Dr. Vick’s honor.”
Ntomchukwu said Vick was an incredibly humble professor whom every student loves because he was able to smile and brush off the challenges of his disease.
“I think it’s so cool they were able to dedicate an event to Dr. Vick as well as everyone fighting Parkinson’s disease,” Ntomchukwu said. “Whatever physical issue you may have does not dictate your self worth or who you are. That is what’s important about Pancakes for Parkinson’s. It’s brought awareness in the best way possible.”