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Transcript: FOX 2 Detroit’s exclusive sit-down interview with Dan Gilbert

By November 5, 2015December 5th, 2023CTF in the News

On November 4, 2015, Fox2 Detroit aired part 1 of Huel Perkins’ exclusive sit-down interview with Dan Gilbert. Click here to view the segment; keep reading for a transcript:

Huel Perkins: It was just five years ago that Dan Gilbert moved the headquarters of Quicken Loans from the suburbs to the heart of the city. It was the start of even bigger things to come.

What began as a staff of 1,400 employees has now grown into a team of 14,000. Nearly 80 buildings and more than 100 companies. It’s a $1.8 billion commitment, that has helped to change the landscape, the tone and the vibe of the city.

Dan Gilbert: While Detroit’s been good to us, just as much as we’ve been good to Detroit.

Huel: But away from the spotlight of his business empire, Dan Gilbert has also been working for years on something that might even change the world – a cure for his son.

Announcer from NBA draft clip: Hey, Nick Gilbert back again trying to do what he did in 2011.

Huel: Many of us first met Nick Gilbert at the NBA Draft. Yeah, Dad owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it was Nick that got to pick the NBA draft pick. It was also when we learned that Nick had been fighting since he was born, a genetic nerve disorder called Neurofibromatosis, a disease that almost killed him.

Dan: Throughout the years he’s had some big challenges. He had brain surgery at ten years old to save his life. He’s been on and off chemotherapy for twelve, fifteen years. So what happens is they have these tumors that grow anywhere on your body.

Huel: These tumors caused by Neurofibromatosis, commonly called NF, can grow anywhere, at any time. In some cases, causing deformities of the face and body. In other cases, growing inward, causing pain, even attacking a child’s brain. Nick Gilbert survived his battle, but the damage was done.

Dan: He only sees out of one quarter of one eye, so he’s seven-eighths blind, if you will. Thank God we have great doctors that have treated him, and you know, he’s the happiest kid I know.

Huel: It was at Nick’s bedside nine years ago that Dan and Jennifer Gilbert decided that they would try and give that same chance of happiness and hope to thousands of other young people that cope with NF. Among them, Victor Chukwueke, an NF survivor, who is now working to save other patients.

Victor Chukwueke: You have to accept who you are and try to find a way to move forward and enjoy life.

Dan: He was in the middle of Nigeria, and nuns took him in Nigeria, and then figured out somehow to get him to the United States for treatment and this kid was so smart he learned the language, and I think he came over at fourteen years old. And he became a medical doctor.

Huel: That’s why for the third straight year, Gilbert is hosting a huge fundraiser for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. It’s a funny and fun way to help patients and their families conquer the physical, emotional and financial strains of NF. And best of all, a cure is even closer than ever before.

Dan: There is always a percentage of kids of all people who are subjected to serious medical challenges at a young age, and it’s happening all the time. You think, what would happen if these hospitals weren’t around, and these good people who dedicate their lives to this stuff. So, it’s a pretty humbling experience, Huel, to go through.