On Black Friday, two teams will face off in the 7th annual Turkey Bowl in West Bloomfield, Michigan. One team will walk off with bragging rights but Turkey Bowl is about more than a legacy on the field as Jason Boschan, founder of Run4Papa, tells me.
Both teams can be proud off the field as well.
The two teams competing in Turkey Bowl 7 are the DARK team (who always wears black), which will be playing for Ort Michigan and the F.A.M.I.L.Y team (always in white) will be playing for Run4Papa. The game is usually played at the football field at Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, but it is under construction this year, so the teams will likely play on the football field at West Bloomfield High School in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
Jason Boschan founded Run4Papa in 2010 in honor of his "papa," (grandfather), Dr. Louis Heyman, a pediatrician of over 50 years, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2007 at the age of 82.
Jason remembers his papa diagnosing and helping sick children while also easing the anxiety of their parents.
This dementia is called PPA (Primary Progressive Aphasia), and it "robs people people in the prime of their life (40s, 50, 60s)," Jason tells me. It is basically a dementia "that makes people lose the ability to communicate and comprehend language over time." Jason's papa died this past August at the age of 88.
Run4Papa "raises awareness for groundbreaking and innovative research at Northwestern Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center, one of the premiere dementia research facilities in the world."
In Turkey Bowl, the first team to score ten touchdowns wins. Referees are hired to maintain peace.
Jason says they started hiring referees last year because in the past, the teams would argue about things like whether the ball hit the ground, was the player in bounds, etc.
After the game, the teams pose for pictures and charity presentations and then meet at Buddy's Pizza, a famous local pizzeria, to reminisce over the game. "Of course, everything tastes sweeter with a 'W'," Jason says.
"To add a an extra competitive edge to this year's Turkey Bowl, the winning team's charity will receive 65% of all donations, while the losing team's charity will receive 35%," Jason tells me. He asks that supporters please indicate which team they are supporting when filling out their online donation forms.
The fundraising goal is $1,500, but they are already at $1,185 since launching the site only a week ago! Run4Papa is also about to eclipse the $100,000 mark in donations raised to date!
"We play the Turkey Bowl for the love of the game and take tremendous pride in the outcome," Jason says. He wants people to know that he and his fellow competitors recognize the Turkey Bowl traditions that take place all over the United States. Perhaps this can be a "model and a lasting legacy" off the field for decades to come. "Despite such a heated rivalry on the field," Jason wants people to remember that these players are competing for charities which will be impacted in an amazing way! He is playing for the F.A.M.I.LY and says, "Of course it will be far sweeter if the F.A,M.I.L.Y can win again this year" and walk off the field as champions with 65% of the donations going to Run4Papa. The team has won five out of the six years so far. Nothing would be sweeter than a victory this year!
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