UA Alumni and Friends Donate $71,808 to Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children
May 20, 2010
JACKSON, Miss. – University of Alabama (UA) alumni in Jackson are showing that they care about Mississippi’s children more than football. Yesterday, Big Al, the University of Alabama’s mascot, joined the Central Mississippi Chapter of the Alabama Alumni Association in presenting a “big” check to the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children.
The UA alumni chapter raised more than 71,000 dollars for the state’s only children’s hospital by selling UA car tags across the state.
Incoming chapter president, Robbie Wilbur, said that the decision to donate to Batson was a no-brainer.
“Batson never turns a sick child away, no matter what the cost,” said Wilbur. “The hospital is renowned for their work for the state’s children, and we wanted to support their efforts with an annual donation.”
Special legislation introduced this year authorized the creation of the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children Fund, where 44 dollars of each UA license plate sale is deposited for the hospital’s benefit.
“Without the help of legislators like Rep. Baker and Sen. Snowden, license fees would otherwise be transferred to the state’s general fund,” said Wilbur. “Now, these fees are destined to directly benefit the most needy among us.”
Impressed by the chapter’s initiative to make a difference in the lives of kids in Mississippi, the UA National Alumni Association decided to bring Big Al to surprise the kids, some of which are confined to their rooms.
“The National Alumni Association (NAA) was honored to make a trip across the state line for such a special occasion,” said C.T. (Carl Prince), chapter development representative. “Being able to give back to local communities in the name of UA is what the NAA is all about. The presentation of this check is a testament to the hard work and dedication of alumni and supporters from across Mississippi.”
There are only 100 members in the Jackson chapter, so members have relied on word of mouth, message boards and phone calls to get the word out. With the help of chapters in Meridian, Memphis and the Gulf Coast, they have sold more than 1,600 tags.
Children's Miracle Network Coordinator Matthew Johnson said he is excited to welcome Big Al and the Central Mississippi UA Alumni Association to the Batson family.
“We are very thankful for the Alabama alumni chapter’s donation,” said Johnson. “The money will go a long way in providing the best healthcare possible for the children in Mississippi.”
The kids were thankful too. As Big Al brought carried smiles from room to room, it was evident that the UA fans in Mississippi had helped out in “big” way.
For information on how to support the Central Mississippi Alumni’s effort to raise money for the children, visit www.jacksonbama.com.