The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Organizers of 19th Annual Pancakes for Parkinson’s aim to raise $75,000 for Michael J. Fox Foundation

The event’s organizers were pleased to serve free pancakes for over 1,000 attendees at the South Lawn

<p>Before the event on Saturday, the organizers had been connecting with local businesses and families for sponsorships.</p>

Before the event on Saturday, the organizers had been connecting with local businesses and families for sponsorships.

Approximately 150 volunteers and 1,000 attendees filled South Lawn to flip and enjoy pancakes at the 19th annual Pancakes for Parkinson’s. Held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., student organizers of the event raised money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation to research Parkinson’s disease and raise awareness.

Pancakes for Parkinson’s event is a yearly pancake breakfast run by students. In addition to complimentary pancakes, there was a silent auction and raffle with prizes as well as a variety of musical performances by many a capella groups on Grounds, including The Virginia Gentlemen, the Hullabahoos, The Virginia Belles, No Tones, The Silhouettes and The Flying V’s.

Before the event Saturday, the organizers connected with local businesses and families for sponsorships. In an email statement to The Cavalier Daily, Anna Ward and Parker Kreiser, Pancakes for Parkinson’s co-chairs and fourth-year College students, said this year they aim to raise $75,000 — compared to $50,000 last year — for the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

“We are already more than halfway there, so we are hoping the event brings in a lot of donations,” Ward said. 

As donations are still being made to the organization, Kreiser said that the total would be released in the next few weeks on their website, Facebook and Instagram page.

The event organizers also said that donations have come from families, U.Va. Parents Program, Student Affairs and local businesses such as Curtis&Co and Grit Coffee. Additionally, Ward and Kreiser said that they are thankful to the people and organizations who have helped them put on a successful event that serves not only the University but also the Charlottesville community.

“The Parkinson’s community has taught us so much about the disease and helped us improve our awareness efforts,” Ward said. “University staff are always willing to offer a helping hand or advice. We are so thankful for everyone’s hard work and generosity.”

Many attendees partook in the event for intimate and emotional reasons, having seen members of their families battle Parkinson’s disease. Participants who did not have a personal experience with Parkinson’s thought the fundraiser to be a remarkable occasion that united the community together to support a crucial cause. 

Second-year College student Christina Cucolo said she found the event to be of great benefit educationally. 

“I think that having this event in such a central location really brings a lot of people together to educate people on the disease, and it's a great way to raise money and fundraise as well,” Cucolo said. “You also start to learn about a lot of people's stories or how it's impacted them and their families, which is just sort of kind of like a bonding and uniting experience for people who have had a family member go through the difficulties with this disease.”

Jim Ferguson, father of fourth-year College student Meggie Ferguson, said he thinks the event is a wonderful initiative.

“There's so much going on in the world that can distract you for many different reasons,” Ferguson said. “When there's an event like this, that sort of draws your attention to an important cause, that's a good thing. Students wouldn't otherwise be thinking about an issue like this. And this gives them an opportunity to think about.”

Ira Kelker, Pancakes for Parkinson’s member and first-year College student, enjoyed volunteering at Saturday’s event. Kelker said she believes it is a great occasion to bring students together for volunteering. 

Kelker, whose grandmother has Parkinson’s, said the disease has been difficult for both her and her family. 

“She lives overseas, so we don't get to see her very often, and when we do get to see her it's really hard to see how she's been dealing with it,” Kelker said. 

Ward and Kreiser said the Pancake for Parkinson’s event has attracted many different communities to come together for a greater good — from people with Parkinson’s disease and their family members to students and pancake enthusiasts. 

“It is amazing to see such a diverse group of people sharing the common goal of finding a cure for Parkinson's disease,” Ward said.


Latest Podcast

Today, we sit down with both the president and treasurer of the Virginia women's club basketball team to discuss everything from making free throws to recent increased viewership in women's basketball.