Ten thousand pancakes.
That’s how many flapjacks UVA students cooked up this year during the annual Pancakes for Parkinson’s breakfast, held every year during Homecomings Weekend to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The event is the largest student-run fundraising event at the University. Students begin planning for the event in the spring, and start holding organizational meetings once school starts in the fall. In between, UVA students mount a massive letter-writing campaign to find sponsors. They also design t-shirts and rustle up the griddles and other supplies needed to serve the more than 6,000 people who come out.
UVA student Mary McNaught (Col ’06), fulfilling a promise she made in her admission essay—to start a pancake-based fundraising event if she was accepted—launched Pancake for Parkinson's in 2004. Three years later, the Fox foundation’s community fundraising program adopted “Pancakes” as one of its signature events. Since then, successful pancake events have been started on dozens of college campuses and in communities around the country. The UVA event has raised more than $340,000 since it began.