This past spring, Manning added to his recent run of meaningful off-the-field accomplishments, by helping raise $250,000 for Tackle Kids Cancer. The new fundraising campaign, known as "Eli's Challenge", was launched last fall to coincide with Tackle Kids Cancer's one-year anniversary. The two-time Super Bowl MVP pledged to match grassroots donations up to $100,000. The initiative culminated in the spring, when Manning helped present the check at the inaugural TKC All-Stars event.
"The response to this challenge has been overwhelming," Manning said. "I think a lot of people want to help other people, but they might not know how. How do you get involved? I think this kind of says there is a way; here are some ideas. Have a bake sale, or an event, a raffle, a car wash. Help raise money to tackle kids' cancer."
The event was part of the NBC4 Telemundo 47 Health Expo, presented by Quest Diagnostics, which is held annually at MetLife Stadium. All the money raised will fund critical research and programs at the Children's Cancer Institute, part of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. Since launching in the fall of 2015, Tackle Kids Cancer has raised $4.5 million for pediatric cancer research and programs.
"When you get a group of people that have a common goal, great things happen," Manning said. "That's what we've seen with this challenge."
Manning has been one of the NFL's most active players in the community since his 2004 rookie season. For the past eight years, the two-time Super Bowl MVP has served as the Chair of the New York March for Babies. Every year, he grants wishes for the Make A Wish Foundation. Manning has also been a leader in supporting the NFL's Play 60 campaign with the American Heart Association, a national youth movement and awareness initiative designed to promote physical fitness and healthy living to an increasingly inactive generation of children.
A father to three young daughters, Manning's primary focus has been helping kids, and it's part of why the Tackle Kids Cancer mission is so important to him.
"This is just the beginning," Manning said. "This is the first stage and the word is out there and we have to keep spreading. When you get communities involved, hopefully it continues to go. We've just kind of scratched the surface. I'm excited to see where we take this."