In 2010, Andrea and Jim Lannigan’s oldest son had several non-life-threatening issues during his first year of life, and their time at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was positive. While there, “We were also exposed to the children who had circumstances much worse than our 3-month-old son,” says Andrea. “It was heartbreaking and eye-opening.” The experience stuck with them.
Two years later, the Lannigans hosted a Turkey Bowl event that consisted of a co-ed flag football game, followed by food and entertainment. “We had just moved into our neighborhood and decided it would be a nice thing to host to get to know our neighbors and new community,” Andrea explains. “The next year we saw an increase in interest and attendance. So, in 2014, we decided to turn it into a charity event!” Remembering what they witnessed at CHOP, they donated the proceeds as an unrestricted gift to CHOP.
Each year, the event has grown with the help of the community and corporate partners. “The ramp-up all started with the support of local businesses, including Chickie’s & Pete’s, Mini Melts, West Pharmaceutical Services and the H&K Group,” says Jim. “They played a very big part in how we got to where we are.”
The first year, they were excited to raise about $4,500 for CHOP. Each year, the number of people fundraising for the event has grown, as well as the number of attendees. It had started as a gathering at their house. Then it moved to a firehall holding 100 people, which then turned into one that held 200 people — which they then outgrew. It evolved into an outdoor event in Skippack, Pa.
Over the years, the event has raised nearly $115K for CHOP (and more, when including other causes). The Lannigans’ Turkey Bowl shows what can be accomplished when a community comes together for a cause.