The 2020 Sanderson Farms Championship will always be remembered for Sergio Garcia’s 171-yard 8-iron shot to within 30 inches of the cup on the 18th hole Sunday to set up the winning putt.
But once again the tournament provided another winner: Children’s of Mississippi, formerly known as Batson Children’s Hospital, the pediatric arm of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
“This tournament continues to change how we take care of our patients,” says Dr. Mary Taylor, professor and chair of pediatrics. “It is helping us change the lives of generations of children.”
Sanderson Farms, led by CEO Joe Sanderson Jr., became the title sponsor in 2013 when Mississippi was about to lose the tournament. The company is based in Sanderson’s hometown of Laurel. It opened in 1947 as a farm supply store. It is now one of the country’s top poultry suppliers in the U.S.
Since Sanderson Farms came onboard, the tournament has raised more than $7.7 million to benefit Children’s of Mississippi through Friends of Children’s Hospital, a non-profit that is supported by Century Club Charities.
In all, Joe and Kathy Sanderson have helped raise more than $83 million through their Campaign for Children’s of Mississippi — including a $10 million personal donation by the couple.
In November, the Joe and Kathy Sanderson tower will open, complementing the Blair E. Batson tower, which opened in 1997.
The new seven-floor tower will include 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, 32 private pediatric intensive care rooms, a dozen surgical suites, a pediatric imaging center and an outpatient specialty clinic where children can see experts for follow-up care.
“We have families come from all over Mississippi with children who need our care,” says Taylor, a native of Natchez. “We want to make it as comfortable for them as possible, For instance, the private ICU rooms will allow parents to stay with their children. That’s huge.
“Without Joe and Kathy Sanderson, this tower would not be happening.”
Children’s of Mississippi is the state’s only children’s hospital and includes specialty clinics around the state.