CMN Champion’s big rig ride revs up excitement for Walmart drive
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Jordan Morgan's ride to Walmart Tuesday carried an important cargo: To help kick off the retailer's annual drive for millions of dollars in donations to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
Morgan, Mississippi's 2016-2017 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion, rode up to the Clinton Walmart in a Walmart 18-wheeler with an escort from Jackson and Clinton police to kick off the Walmart and Sam's Club annual fundraising campaign.
“It doesn't have to be a large gift,” Morgan said at a news conference and rally at the store. “It can be whatever you have to give.”
Those dollars donated by associates and shoppers add up. The 2015 six-week U.S. campaign raised more than $42 million, or about $1 million a day and more than $10 per second. Walmart and Sam's Club associates, customers and members in the U.S. and Canada have raised more than $870 million for pediatric hospitals since 1987.
The Walmart truck Morgan rode to Clinton in tells the story of the company's commitment to pediatric care.
This year's campaign, which will help Batson Children's Hospital locally, will start Aug. 29. Customers may make donations at cash registers in Walmart and Sam's Club locations through Oct. 9.
“Without Batson Children's Hospital,” said Morgan, “you wouldn't see patients having normal childhoods and doing the awesome things they do.”
Born 11 weeks early, and weighing just 3 pounds, Jordan was given a dire prediction when his cerebral palsy was diagnosed. Doctors told his parents, Deborah and Chris Morgan, that he might never walk or learn to write. Now a 13-year-old student at Clinton Junior High, he writes and draws, walks (sometimes with the help of canes), plays wheelchair basketball and roller skates. He also enjoys cooking, singing in the school choir and playing the piano and hopes one day to produce his own movies and music videos.
Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance spent time with Jordan before the journey from UMMC to Clinton. “I've been a police officer 29 years,” he said, “and I've never had more fun than this morning. Jordan is such an articulate, courageous young man. My admiration is high for him.
Morgan receives the celebrity treatment by Walmart employees and Jackson-area media after his arrival at the Clinton Walmart.
Said Clinton store manager Eddie Robinson: “I feel honored and privileged to be here, doing what Walmart does. We at Walmart pride ourselves on giving back to the community. … As (Walmart founder Sam Walton's wife) Helen Walton used to say, 'It's not what you gather in life that matters. It's what you scatter in life.”
“Walmart and Sam's Club are our top fundraisers for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals every year,” said Jen Hospodor, UMMC manager of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and community-based fundraising. “Every year, they do an outstanding job.”
Ricky Sharp, a driver for Walmart's Brookhaven Distribution Center, said drivers completed the 2016 Safe Miles for Smiles campaign earlier this month.
Children's Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds and awareness for 170 children's hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and health care services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care.
Since 1983, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity's Miracle Balloon icon. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit's mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.
Celebrating the launch of Walmart and Sam's Club's annual fund drive for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals are, from left, Jackson police chief Lee Vance, Clinton Walmart manager Eddie Robinson, Deborah Morgan, Walmart market manager Steve Harvey, Walmart driver Billy Tingle, and, seated, Champion Jordan Morgan and Walmart driver Ricky Sharp.