Grant funds battle for healthy heartsPublished 6:57am Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Manna Ministries on Monday received a large healthcare grant from AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation to combat cardiovascular disease in Pearl River County and surrounding Mississippi counties and Louisiana parishes.
With the $152,763 grant, Manna Ministries becomes the second non-profit organization in Mississippi to receive a grant from the drug company’s foundation to battle the disease. Statistics show that one in four deaths in Mississippi are related to heart disease, according to several speakers at the announcement of the grants at Manna Ministries.
“Heart disease accounts for 26 percent of deaths in Mississippi … In spite of this alarming statistic … heart disease is something that can be prevented and managed,” said State Sen. Tony Smith of Picayune.
The other non-profit to receive a grant from the AstraZeneca foundation is the Dr. Arenia C. Mallory Health Center Inc. in Lexington, Miss. It received $228,445 grant from the foundation, its third grant in three years, for a total of more than $669,000. Besides Lexington, Mallory also has offices in Durant and Vaiden.
“We’re troubled by the statistics,” said Richard Buckley, president of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation at the formal announcement of the two grants at Manna Ministries.
Buckley said the foundation selected the two organizations from among the 500 grant applications it received from organizations around the nation. He said the foundation funded only 19 grants nationwide this year and is already accepting applications for grants to be made next year.
“I can tell you from personal experience how hard they work here at Manna Ministries,” said Picayune Mayor Ed Pinero. Then added, “It’s up to us, every one of us, to help improve cardiovascular health.”
Pearl River County Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith told the small crowd that Pinero had helped him by coaching him through a five kilometer run in Henleyfield. Running and walking, along with a proper diet, are factors that can help improve and maintain good cardiovascular health, he and Pinero said.
“If you know Henleyfield, you know that’s not really where you want to do a 5K event. It’s hilly,” Smith said. He went on to say that heart disease can be prevented. “It’s all on the person and what they want to receive from something like this. Heart disease is something we can fight.”
The Rev. Allen Hickman, when he came to the podium, told Buckley, “One of the greatest joys of my life is being able to say ‘yes, we can help you.’ I love people that help us help people.”
He said the AstraZeneca foundation grant is helping him and Manna Ministries help people. Manna Ministries is affiliated with Hickman’s church, Resurrection Life Ministries.
Representatives of Mallory Health Center also spoke at the event about how much the foundation’s grants have helped them in combating cardiovascular disease in central Mississippi.
Buckley presented each of the non-profit organizations with symbolic checks at the end of the announcement.