Published on Thursday, January 15, 2015
Media Contact: Gary Pettus at 601-815-9266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Football legend Archie Manning rallied hundreds of UMMC
supporters to help the people of his home state during this summer’s launch of
the Manning Family Fund for a Healthier Mississippi.
Accompanied by his wife Olivia, the patriarch of the state’s
First Family of Football announced the campaign to boost UMMC’s commitment to
improving Mississippians’ health on July 23.
The entire Manning family has loaned its name to the
donor-supported program, which was unveiled at the event held on the Medical
Center campus and attended by several state and local officials.
This new partnership between the Mannings and UMMC will
raise money to attack heart disease, kidney disease, hypertension, cancer,
dementia and other health-care challenges confronting the state.
“Olivia and I believe, with the support of people from
Mississippi, we can help this medical center and this state do great things –
even more than they’ve already done,” said Archie Manning, a Drew native who
lives in New Orleans, where he quarterbacked the NFL’s Saints after his Ole
“We know that people in Mississippi will help. All we got to
do is kind of get them lined up.”
By establishing the fund, he said, he and Olivia hope to
encourage others to face this challenge “for their own family and friends and
for the people of Mississippi who need it the most.”
Among those on hand to endorse the campaign was Jackson
Mayor Tony Yarber, whose daughter was treated for cancer at Batson Hospital for
Children when she was an infant.
“Now I have a vibrant 9-year-old who is doing amazing things
and is cancer-free,” Yarber said. “So I want you to know, you and your family,
Mr. Manning, that this is personal for me… I’m grateful for what you’re doing.
This month, UMMC commenced a public awareness campaign for
this long-term project, which extends the philanthropic bond between the
Mannings and UMMC.
“What the Mannings are magical at doing is bringing people
together,” said Dr. Dan Jones, chancellor of the University of Mississippi.
“(T)hey will bring us together in purpose for making a
difference . …”
The link between UMMC and the family includes An Evening
with the Mannings presented by Bank Plus, a series of fund-raising events held
between 2007 and 2011 that collected more than $2.9 million and funded the
relocation and improvement of the pediatric clinics – renamed the Eli Manning
Because of this connection, Dr. James Keeton, UMMC’s vice
chancellor for health affairs, asked Eli Manning a year ago if he would help
raise money for the expanding pediatric heart program.
“He said, ‘No,’ ” Keeton recalled.
“I said, ‘Oh, my God.’ He said, ‘No, I want my whole family
“And I said, ‘Oh, now we’re talking.’ ”
That family includes Olivia Manning, a Philadelphia native
whose charitable work was honored in 2011 by the Ole Miss Women’s Council for
“They are the most real people I’ve ever dealt with –
totally committed to doing something for Mississippi and its health,” Keeton
The state consistently faces high rates for obesity,
physical inactivity, diabetes, infectious disease, low birth weight and other
health issues that donations to the fund will try to find answers for.
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