MEDINA - It was a record breaking year for the Meadows Turkey Bowl in Medina.
The 27th annual gridiron clash raised a record $245,000 this year, according to organizer Mike Meadows, who sent an email to WKYC Channel 3's Dawn Kendrick on Thursday night.
As Dawn explained in her story earlier this week, the Meadows Turkey Bowl is a Thanksgiving tradition that is nearly 3 decades old.
It started as a pickup Thanksgiving football game in Mike and Connie Meadows backyard.
As of last year, the Meadows Turkey Bowl has raised a million dollars for families up against unthinkable odds.
On Thursday, the good stuff rolled on.
Benefitting more deserving families like The Bigelows, who felt big love from total strangers who brought in thousands for them last year.
This time last year John Bigelow was fighting for his life, after doctors said a cancer diagnosis meant he had weeks to live.
Their five kids rallied around him.
“We say the rosary every day for Daddy to get rid of his cancer,” said Brianna Bigelow, just days before Thanksgiving last year.
All five of the Bigelow kids..adopted from 2 different families.
Good kids who finally found their Mommy and Daddy in Wendy and John Bigelow who couldn't have their own kids.
John died July 24th of this year.
"How can your heart not go out to them?" asks Bill Biegel.
He’s a Medina plumber who pulled in $41,000 dollars himself last year for the Bigelow family when he played the Meadows Turkey Bowl last Thanksgiving.
For Bill and his wife Kelly, it was personal. Kelly has lost a lot of organs to cancer. She’s still on a feeding tube today, but thriving on gratitude.
"With the adopted foster kids, that really hit home with me. We're unable to have kids, me and the wife, so whatever we can do to help out we just feel we have to," said Biegel.
He’s raised more than $41,000 again this year and he’s earmarking it for the Bigelows again, in this, his 8th Turkey Bowl year.
He is a hard working plumber who is as relentless in his pursuit of donations, as he is good to the bone in his love for these families he's made his own.
"It’s just the desire to be a better person and help people who really need it. I want to help them out the best I can," said Biegel.
It's the good stuff string, a thread, the tie that binds and keeps growing.
Meadows Turkey Bowl players have netted more than a million dollars over the years.
This year more poor families fighting cancer will feel the love thru St. Vincent DePaul.
From $850 bucks 11 years ago, to $230,000 dollars last year.
“It’'s food on the table. It’s medical bills paid. It’s helping family that need it," said Biegel.
Get out of self, Biegel says, and we see in him and other Meadows Turkey Bowlers, how the essence of empathy ensues.
"You see someone else in a bad situation and you put your bad stuff behind," says Biegel.
Mike Meadows is the man behind Meadows Turkey Bowl.
He and wife Connie are the couple who couldn't have imagined how it's grown.
Good examples of See The Possible.
Meadows Turkey Bowlers, good examples of good stuff people stepping out of self to lift up others who are down.
This...is what we at Channel 3 are most thankful for, all year long.