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Meadows Turkey Bowl in Medina raises $263,000 to help kids with cancer

Posted at 2:45 PM, Nov 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-23 14:50:37-05

Thanksgiving means family, a feast and football, but in Medina, a final course of fundraising is also mixed into the holiday.

The Meadows Turkey Bowl set a record by raising $263,000. In its 12 years as a backyard football fundraiser, the event has collected about $1.5 million.

"These guys aren't just turkey bowlers. They're brothers and for them to take time out of their lives to give back to our community, it's priceless," said Mike Meadows, who hosts the annual games at his home on Hood Road.

More than 40 friends battled it out on two fields. The games included referees, a play-by-play announcer, a band and bundled-up fans.

The money raised goes to the St. Vincent de Paul Society to help those in need, but this year, 30 percent of the money is earmarked towards families of kids who have cancer at Akron Children's Hospital.

The players wore the names of some of those children on their jerseys, including six-year-old Katelynn Baker from Brunswick, who was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago.

Her mother, Andrea Wilson, was touched by the generosity of the men.

"The fact that they take their time on Thanksgiving for a cause that's so great, it's humbling. It shows you what kind of gentlemen we have coming into this world," Wilson said.

Two weeks ago, the players met some of the kids who are battling cancer and it left a lasting impression, according to Meadows.

"I would say it was probably the most emotional event we've ever had in the history of the game," he said.

Wilson said Katelynn has been doing extremely well and will finish her chemotherapy treatments in March of 2018.

Wilson added the experience has been a roller coaster of emotions, but she is thankful that her daughter will be cured, and for the off-the-field generosity of the turkey bowlers.

"I am still processing this. This is absolutely amazing," she said.