Saturday Alice Blackmon, executive director of the Freeze Foundation, took a trip to Jackson to rappel 14-stories down the side of the Trustmark Corporate Office building for the Over The Edge with Friends of Children’s Hospital Network event.
In order to go “over the edge,” participants were asked to raise $1,000 for the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, but it wasn’t Blackmon who raised the funds. Madison Manning, a 19-year-old patient at Batson battling cystic fibrosis who has been a friend of the foundation for several years, raised the money, but when doctors couldn’t clear him to take part in the event, Blackmon was there.
“That’s when I got a phone call from Madison’s mother, Donna, telling me about the situation and that Madison had chosen me to go over the edge in his place,” Blackmon said. “I was completely honored that he would choose me to participate because I knew how much he was looking forward to this event and how hard he worked to raise the money.”
The Freeze Foundation hosted Manning at fall football camp and for a game weekend during the 2016 season, but the rest of the year has been tough on Manning, going in and out of the hospital for stays of three weeks at a time as he deals with symptoms of his illness. Throughout his battle, Blackmon and Madison have forged a bond ever since the two met on Blackman’s first day on the job.
“My relationship with Madison has been really special since day one as we’ve bonded over our love for Ole Miss football and baseball. I’ve had the privilege to walk through a pretty tough season with him being in and out of the hospital this year as he courageously fights his illness,” Blackmon said. “Madison continues to amaze me with his resilient attitude as he fights CF with his head held high and faith out front. My friendship with Madison has taught me a lot about perspective this year, and his fight encourages me more than I can put into words.”
Manning had just been released from Batson on Friday prior to the event, and despite her fear of heights, Blackmon didn’t hesitate as she channeled bravery from her friend on her way down the side of the building.
“I had a bit of anxiety leading up to the event and just about had to be pushed over the edge at the top, but knowing Madison was at the bottom cheering me on gave me a lot of peace,” Blackmon said. “I kept reminding myself on the way down to just be brave like Madison. When I finally got to the bottom, the huge hug I got from Madison made it all so worth it and rewarding—I would do it 100 times over for that moment!”
The event surpassed the fundraising goal by over $40,000 and raised a total of $191,029 for Blair E. Batson, the only children’s hospital in Mississippi.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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