This Thanksgiving, New Albany resident Matthew Freedman and some assistants will fry about 800 pounds of turkey.
The process will begin at 6 a.m. and will end by about 5 p.m., at a rate of about five turkeys per hour.
The work is not for some overly large holiday gathering; it is part of the fourth Thanksgiving Day turkey fry – a fundraiser that will benefit research at Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital.
Freedman, the founder and executive chef of Fry Out Cancer, said he was motivated to start the fundraiser when one of his daughters was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
“Through that experience, it made us want to give back to the cancer-fighting community in Columbus,” he said.
Freedman said he doesn’t have a career in food preparation, but he first learned how to fry turkeys with his father-in-law 13 years ago.
The first fundraiser was held in 2013, and Freedman raised about $1,000 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, he said.
Last year, he fried 36 turkeys and raised more than $12,000 for the James, he said. The money was split between the ovarian-research fund and the pediatric-brain-cancer fund.
This year, Freedman established his fundraiser as a nonprofit organization, enabling him to obtain grants and sponsorships to cover the cost of the turkeys, propane and ingredients. The money allows for all of the turkey-related donations to go the James, he said.
Because cancer-research funding is not a high government priority, local fundraising helps fill the gap, said Erika Beasley, assistant director of the community-partners program with the James.
“It’s definitely appreciated by the James,” she said.
Beasley said some of the funds from Fry Out Cancer have gone toward research to identify molecules and pathways that drive tumor genes to spread throughout the body in a medulloblastoma, a cancerous tumor that starts in the brain at the base of the skull. Medulloblastoma is the most common cancerous brain tumor in children, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Freedman said he already is sold out for turkeys this year – the suggested minimum donation for each turkey is $125 and those who ordered them will pick them up in New Albany on Thanksgiving – but he also has partnered with several organizations to donate more than 25 turkeys to feed families in need.
Donated turkeys will be distributed through the Harmony Project, iResolve Fitness Club, the Community Shelter Board, the YWCA Family Center, Faith Mission and New Albany’s Village Coalition Against Hunger, he said.
More information is available at www.fryoutcancer.org.