CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Family, food and football are staples for Thanksgiving. The Meadows Turkey Bowl has been a longstanding tradition in Medina County and this year is no different.
The backyard ritual has turned into an all-out event proving that no one stands alone.
Thursday, dozens of players will hit the cold gridiron. The charity game kicks off at 8:15 a.m. at Bill Dunn Field located at Reagan Park in Medina.
"(We're) raising money for those who are battling cancer, or who are in need, is what we call the game within the game," said Mike Meadows, who founded the game decades ago.
This year the Society of St. Vincent de Paul along with six local families battling cancer are the beneficiaries including the Nemet family.
Collin Nemet,9, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma.
"It's a brain tumor that's in the center of the back of his brain," Mike Nemet, Collin's father. "It had actually spread to the back of his spine, so his is a little more complicate. He's had five different surgeries at this point to get to where he's at today. They removed the tumor, and then he ended up having a stroke."
There's been other obstacles, but Collin is a fighter.
He just takes it in stride and does everything with a game face on," Mike Nemet said.
Collin loves to play video games and hangout with siblings and relatives.
The family is looking forward to watching the Meadows Turkey Bowl.
"He's (Collin) got a little break in between radiation and chemo therapy... so it's just a great time for us just in between to celebrate the turkey bowl and Thanksgiving with these guys."
Since the Meadows Turkey Bowl became a fundraiser in 2005, more than $1.6 million has been raised. Last year the game raised $260,000. Meadows said all of it goes to charity.
"It's about giving back and being with the families," Meadows said.
Collin's mom said keeping a normal routine, in the face of great challenges, has been important and therapeutic.
"The last three months have been very hard. We're just so thankful that Collin has done as well as he has," Kim Nemet said. "With the power of prayer, with all of our family and friends and the support of everybody-- just acts of kindness-- have really gotten us through."
When asked if he had any advice for the players, Colin said, “Good Luck”.