Man drives tractor from Washington to Minnesota to raise money for Parkinson’s research

By John Lauritsen

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HIBBING, Minnesota (WCCO) — Imagine driving across the country, 1,800 miles, in a tractor. A man from Washington state just did it for an important cause.

It all started as a joke. Mike Adkinson’s brother-in-law always talked about needing a tractor.

So Mike would sarcastically offer to drive his tractor from Bellingham, Washington to Perch Lake, Minnesota. Then, one day, it was no longer a joke.

“Well, I thought, you know, at 76, I could use a challenge like that, so I’ll do it,” Adkinson said.

Before leaving for the 1,800 mile trip, Adkinson had another reason to leave. Her brother Dan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“It really hit our family hard, and of course there’s not much you can do to help. So I just thought you know what? I think I can collect donations by doing this,” he said. Adkinson said.

So he did. He drove through snow, sleet and, at times, unforgiving sunshine. The tractor’s right wheels were still a foot from the ditch. And every time a truck passed, it got muddy. Adkinson’s John Deere tops out at around 15 miles per hour, which is a big reason it took him six weeks to travel from Washington to Minnesota.

The miles pass slowly, but the donations add up quickly. By the time he reached Minnesota, Adkinson had raised over $50,000 for Parkinson’s disease research. He spent his nights in motels and during the day people gave him gifts and treats.

“A guy stopped me and he had beef jerky, and another couple stopped and they had chocolate brownies,” Adkinson said. “I really like meeting people.”

And they enjoyed meeting the tractor guy and his 15-mile-per-hour mission to help others.

“He’s the most caring, genuine and passionate person I know, and it’s for such a good cause that we all support him and we’re just grateful he got here in one piece,” said his niece Kendra Raich. “It takes a special person, but it’s Uncle Mike.”

Adkinson has now officially raised over $52,000 for Parkinson’s disease.

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