Hodag teammates, families helping sick Rhinelander boySubmitted: 10/05/2015

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RHINELANDER - A 13-year-old boy with a rare disease can't join his teammates on the football field.  Bobby Towne is simply too sick.  Tuesday night, Bobby's Rhinelander teammates will do their part to help him get better.

Doctors diagnosed Bobby with Wilson's disease at the end of August. The disease prevents his liver from filtering copper out of his blood.  Bobby's illness got so bad he now needs a liver transplant.  He spent the better part of September in a Milwaukee hospital.

Rhinelander eighth grade football coach Mike Prom says he and the team grew concerned when Bobby stopped showing up to practice after just two weeks.

"Typical junior high kids, they kind of let it roll off their back," Prom said.  "But they realize this is serious, that this is more than beyond football type of thing."

Prom, the team, and parents all decided to help out.  Tuesday night, during the Hodags' season finale, the team will donate proceeds from the concession stand and a 50/50 raffle to the Towne family.

Prom doesn't know how much they'll raise, but he says the family is grateful.

"In times of crisis, we need to rally around and encourage one another and do what we can to let them know that we're there for them," Prom said.

Prom says Bobby's situation shows his players how football can teach lessons beyond the gridiron.

"Football is part of the process; it's not the end-all," Prom said.  "It's a game which you play, but you have life out there."

The Hodags kick off at Mike Webster Stadium Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Bobby's family tells Newswatch 12 that many family members are testing to see if they could donate part of their livers.

In addition to Tuesday night's game, fundraisers will be held during Friday night's varsity homecoming game.

On Friday night, October 16, the Rhinelander Cafe and Pub will donate part of its proceeds that night to the Towne family.

The Towne family will also have a fundraiser November 14 at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill on Highway K in Rhinelander. Details for that event have not yet been released.

Story By: Lane Kimble

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