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HomeEvent CoverageMichigan Parkinson Foundation Fun Run Celebrates Third Year With Record-Setting Fundraising

Michigan Parkinson Foundation Fun Run Celebrates Third Year With Record-Setting Fundraising

Conceived by a trio of friends during a round of golf, the third annual Michigan Parkinson Foundation Fun Run on Lake St. Clair has grown and topped its fundraising efforts each year. In 2021, the 45-boat event brought in approximately $80,000 for the nonprofit organization. The following year, the run reached 60 boats and exceeded the $100,000 mark.

Just three years old, the Michigan Parkinson Foundation Fun Run has brought in more money for the organization each year. Photos by Bobby Boyd copyright Scrapyard Media.

This time around—as in two days ago—the event had 62 boats in the multi-stop mix and raised “just shy of $139,000” for the foundation according to Matt Floore, who founded the event with his buddies, Randal Pagel and Danny Lichocki.

Though the event is open to cruisers, such as Floore’s Formula Boats 310 SS and Pagel’s Formula 350 SS, go-fast boats from the likes of Cigarette Racing Team, Donzi Marine, Skater Powerboats, Sunsation Powerboats and more comprise most of the fleet each year. This year’s event started with breakfast at the Old Club on Harsens Island before stopping at Cabana Blue in Clay Township, Browns on Harsens Island, the North Channel Yacht Club and finally to the Port ’O Call restaurant in the Algonac Harbor Club.

A locally built center console brand, Sunsation Powerboats had solid representation in the run.

The event was born out of personal experience with Parkinson’s disease. Floore’s mother, who is still alive, was diagnosed with it in 2015. That led to what started as a casual discussion among the three friends and finished as an event plan.

“We were on the golf course one day and we were talking about what we could do to help make things better,” Floore recalled. “That was how we started. And we decided to do a fun run to raise money.”

Several MTI center consoles and catamarans were in the mix.

Floore reached out to the Michigan Parkinson’s Foundation. The next thing he and his friends knew, they had the green-light for an event—and a fundraising target. They wanted to launch the run in 2020 but had to wait out the pandemic and start in 2021.

“The Foundation set a goal of $100,000,” he recalled, then chuckled. “And we were like, ‘How are we going to raise that much money?”

What they hadn’t necessarily expected was the outrageous generosity of the performance-boating community.

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Enjoy more images from the third annual Michigan Parkinson’s Foundation Fun Run.

As noted above, they still managed to raise $80,000 in their inaugural event. The next year, they broke the $100,000 mark in part through a $20,000 donation from former Major League Baseball star and Detroit Tiger Kirk Gibson, who attended the event on behalf of the foundation. This week’s total of almost $140,000 left the trio of friends even more inspired to set a new record next year.

And they have added motivation. Earlier this year, Pagel’s father—Floore’s godfather—was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Still, shy of each participant donating even more generously, fundraising growth will be challenging given that most of the venues for stops during the run have limited dock space.

“Growing would be great, but most places we stop are limited to 60 boats,” Floore explained. “We are hoping to arrange things so that we can have 70 to 80 boats in the future.”

Among those who enjoyed the run were Michigan’s Burton and Yvette Kirsten in their MTI 390XR catamaran Turbo.

“The event was very well organized,” Yvette Kirsten said. “We had an amazing breakfast and a lot of good stops with a wonderful group of people. We’re looking forward to doing it again next year.”

From left: Randal Pagel, Randy Pagel, Dave Floore, Matt Floore and Danny Lichocki.

Scrapyard Media founder Brad DiMaggio has been to all three Michigan Parkinson Foundation Fun Runs. He is currently producing a video on the latest event.

“One of the most unusual things about this charity run is they do almost all of their fundraising in the morning during the drivers meeting,” DiMaggio said. “It’s a great event and I’m planning to do it again next year.”

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