Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Western Michigan Visits Children's Medical Center

Western Michigan Head Coach PJ Fleck and the entire Broncos football team spent the afternoon sharing inspiration and “Row the Boat” motivation to patients at Children's Medical Center Dallas.

The team spent an hour signing autographs and making crafts with patients in the Butterfly Atrium. Coach Fleck and the seniors made personal visits to rooms throughout the hospital. He reflected on what the visit meant to him on a personal level, as he shared the story of how the battle cry of “Row the Boat” began.

In February 2011, Fleck lost his second-born son to a heart condition. During the time of his son’s fight, he spent many hours at a children’s hospital by his son’s side. It was there that “Row the Boat” came to life.

“We’re very honored to be here, representing the Mid-American Conference and Western Michigan,” said Fleck. “This is a special event for all of us. Particularly and personally it hits home for me. Any time you spend a significant amount of time at a children’s hospital, it changes your life forever, and that’s where ‘Row the Boat’ came into fruition. Because of the staff and hard workers who go above and beyond the call of duty to change lives.”

After Fleck spoke, Seth Klugherz, Goodyear Director of Marketing, presented a $10,000 check to Brent Christopher, the President of Children's Health Foundation. In additional, Seth presented a gift certificate for the hospital to auction off for a ride for two on the iconic Goodyear blimp.

Senior quarterback Zach Terrell, along with four other teammates, joined Coach Fleck inside the Seacrest Studio to be interviewed by patients before heading up to rooms.

"This is an awesome opportunity,” said Terrell. “We do this once a week back at home, so for us this is a blessing to come out here and do the same thing. Being here gives us a perspective that life is bigger than football. It’s about serving and giving and how we can have an impact and leave things bigger than how we found it. It’s amazing to come around and see these kids and the joy that they live their life, despite the circumstances they face. That gives us so much hope and really helps push us to be better, and to have that same perspective on life.”

Each child received a gift bag from the Goodyear Cotton Bowl with the help of American Airlines volunteers that included items from Chick-fil-A and Goodyear. The bags comprised of Classic t-shirts, commemorative posters, a stuffed Chick-fil-A plush cow and a Goodyear mini foam finger and puzzle. Dr Pepper provided drinks for all guests.

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