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Kirk Gibson and friends raise $1.2 million for Parkinson's research

September 25, 2017
Former MSU football player Kirk Gibson speaks during a press conference on Sept. 23, 2017 at the Kellogg Center. The event was to discuss the successful fundraising efforts to support Parkinson's disease.
Former MSU football player Kirk Gibson speaks during a press conference on Sept. 23, 2017 at the Kellogg Center. The event was to discuss the successful fundraising efforts to support Parkinson's disease. —
Photo by Carly Geraci | The State News

Before the highly anticipated MSU vs. Notre Dame game and before Spartan, Tiger and Dodger legend, Kirk Gibson, took his place among the "Ring of Honor" at Spartan Stadium, "Gibby and Friends vs. Parky" announced on Saturday afternoon they raised $1.2 million to fund research through MSU's College of Human Medicine into Parkinson’s disease.

However, Gibson wanted to make sure he isn’t the only person that’s recognized.

“This isn’t about me, let’s make sure everybody understands that,” Gibson said. “This is about us coming together and attacking a cause and giving back. I don’t want to minimize anybody else’s contributions of what’s going on here today.”

Even with Gibson’s humble approach, former Tigers teammate and friend of Gibson for almost 40 years, Alan Trammell, said “he wouldn’t expect anything less” from Gibson in the terms of raising money for Parkinson’s research.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less (from Gibson),” Trammell said. “When he gets into something, he gets after it. He’s one of a kind, there’s no doubt about it.”

President Lou Anna K. Simon said this is  “a confluence of events” and “a once in a lifetime experience,” with Gibson getting inducted into the Spartan Ring of Honor and raising $1.2 million for Parkinson’s research, along with the opening and finishing of the new MSU Grand Rapids Research Center.

“The fact the Kirk has come out so publicly in his fight against Parkinson’s, it’s inspired all of us to fight Parky in our own way,” Simon said. “All of these things just came together for the celebration of president’s weekend and we’re really pleased that this special opportunity is a part of (Kirk’s) experience and all of our Spartan experience this weekend.”

Gibson has had Parkinson’s or “Parky” as he calls it, since 2008 but wasn’t diagnosed with the disease until 2015.

“I almost went through a point of denial,” Gibson said. “I knew something was different.”

But what Gibson said he’s trying to do, is make people more aware of the signs of Parkinson’s and to make sure people aren’t scared to fight the disease.

“Once you learn what you’re dealing with and how you can deal with it, because of people who put a lot of time into understanding the disease, it’s doable,” Gibson said. “Who knows, in five years or ten years, we hopefully will have a cure or a way to slow it down.”

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