UAB Honors Families in 4th Annual ‘Children’s Harbor Homecoming Game’
For four years now, the UAB Blazers football team will be honoring Children’s Harbor in their homecoming game by wearing their names patients at the charity instead of their own names.
Children’s Harbor, an organization that “provides children with serious illnesses and their families a place to be themselves” has a branch located in downtown Birmingham that works closely with UAB Hospital. It has existed in the ‘Magic City’ since 2001, but its roots go back to Lake Martin in 1987.
According to the organization’s website, its founders Ben and Luanne Russell had the idea to create a place that gives families dealing with illnesses a place to relax for free.
This partnership between the football team and the charity began in 2016, but due to the team being shut down from 2014 to 2017, the on-field gesture was delayed by a year.
Since UAB started this tradition, the same year that the Blazers returned from their hiatus, the team has gone 3-0.
Along with wearing the names of patients, throughout the week, the football team communicates with patients and families and builds relationships that tend to extend past the Blazers’ time on the football team. In the past, the children have signed the inside of footballs, hung out with players, and have received the V.I.P. treatment at Legion Field by receiving their own “Children’s Harbor section” where the kids get to watch the game with their families.
For this year’s matchup, the Blazers (2-1, 0-0) will be hosting the University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (3-0, 1-0) for their first Conference USA game of the year. The Roadrunners might be undefeated, but since UAB’s return, the Blazers have not lost to UTSA.