INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (CBS4) – CBS4’s Jeff Todd is Driving to the Championship. He stopped in Indianapolis, Ind. on Wednesday.
Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning left more than football as a legacy in Indianapolis. He’s touching the lives of patients at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.
Lucas Oil Stadium is widely considered the house that Manning built, the stadium built during the peak run while Manning was playing quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.
But it’s Manning’s work just about 20 minutes away in the north side of Indianapolis that is leaving a legacy that started when he was drafted to the Colts.
“Archie told him, ‘When you get there you look for some personal contracts and things and if there’s a Catholic hospital and a Daughters of Charity Hospital look into it’ and things just kind of came together,” said St. Vincent CEO Vincent Caponi.
That was in 1998 when Manning started his association with St. Vincent Health Services.
The hospital didn’t have a name until Caponi asked Manning.
“Do you want to leave some type of legacy? And by this time he had a wonderful relationship with us, he’d come to the hospital and visit patients,” said Caponi. “And he continues even though he’s in Denver he still has a very strong relationship with the staff and certainly with the patients and their families.”
Manning still calls the hospital and talks with young patients as they lie in their beds surrounded by pictures and memorabilia.
“He’ll say, ‘Hey this is Peyton Manning. How are they treating you? What’s your prognosis?’ And he’s just totally focused on that patient and he wants to know everything about them,” said Caponi.
Along the halls of the hospital there is no getting away from Manning and that’s the way they like it.
Patients continue to make good luck cards for Manning at the Super Bowl even though he’s playing for the Denver Broncos, which could be the second favorite team at the hospital.
“He knows it’s just more than putting his name on the side of the building. This is who he is and he just holds it near and dear,” said Caponi.
Former patient 10-year-old Parker Dean said he feels like he owes his life to Manning.
“My mom noticed a bruise on me right here and then she noticed a bunch of spots all over me and she took me to the hospital,” said Parker. “And then they said, ‘You need to go to Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital.”
“At that time I knew it was serious. I knew something was going on. They didn’t have all the answers so we spent a lot of time here,” said Parker’s mother Mindy Dean.
“They said I had ITP like when you get cut these things try and come and stop the blood and I didn’t have enough of those,” said Parker.
“ITP means Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura,” said Mindy. “It’s a platelet disorder, there was a virus in his body and it was attacking his platelets.”
Parker had a chronic form. Normally small children affected heal within weeks. Parker was older and it took two years before the solution led to surgery at the hospital.
“It was exciting when he came to a Peyton Manning themed room because it took his mind off of it,” said Mindy.
“I had my spleen removed last year,” said Parker.
Parker was so touched by his time at the hospital that he works there.
“Parker is a true hero ambassador at Peyton Manning Hospital because of what he did on his 9th birthday,” said Mindy.
“Instead of having them give presents to me I had them donate to Peyton Manning’s Children’s Hospital,” said Parker.
“Kids didn’t bring just one gift they brought two or three, which was great,” said Mindy.
That led to a meeting last summer where Parker met Manning.
“He called our name and we came up and he gave us a certificate and he took pictures and everything and later we ate lunch and he came around and took pictures with us,” said Parker.
“These kids look up to Peyton. He’s been a well-known person here and done great things for the hospital,” said Mindy.