One of the most well-known families in Mississippi is throwing its support behind a new public health initiative. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that the 'First Family of Football' is trying to turn its high social profile into real life support for the state's only academic medical center.
Working with the University of Mississippi medical Center, former ole Miss Quarterback Archie Manning is launching the Manning family Fund for a Healthier Mississippi.
The goal, says Manning, is to raise money for the many well-known public health issues that trouble the state such as obesity, diabetes and cancer.
"I am not just throwing my name out there. It is a sincere message. It is a feel that we really want to help and that it is a need," Manning said.
Manning says the entire family, including his wife and three well known sons, plan to be a part of the process.
There are no concrete goals set at the time, but UMMC Vice Chancellor James Keeton believes the manning family name can contribute a lot toward solving Mississippi's public health problems.
"We have a center for obesity. Which is huge in Mississippi. And all the problems with obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Then we have a mind center for neuro-degenerative disease and Alzheimer’s. Which is a real problem. And then we have our cancer institute. All of those things are a real problem in Mississippi," Keeton said.
The youngest manning, New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning, already has a close relationship with Batson's Children's Hospital which in part gave rise to the new foundation according to this mother Olivia.
"The idea that we could help Mississippi become a healthier state. I get sort of emotional about it," Olivia Manning said.
The effort has a lot of work to do...Mississippi ranks at or near the bottom in nearly every measurable public health statistic.