Queens and Wannabes play to pay for services at Children’s of Mississippi

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 6:46 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - If you’re heading to Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade, you will be among Hollywood elite, nine-to-fivers, and more. Friday, the Sweet Potato Queens kicked it off with the goal of raising thousands of dollars for Children’s of Mississippi Hospital.

The Boss Queen Jill Conner Browne’s announcement of the winner of the Sweet Potato Queen’s Top Hat Brunch is the highlight of the festivities at Drago’s Restaurant. The room of queens, wannabes, and royalty alike are partying with a purpose, playing to pay for Mississippi’s only children’s hospital.

“I love what Jill started,” said Queen Peachy Martha Gresham.

The Newnan, Georgia, resident has been attending for about 20 years and was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She understands the need.

“I’ve had my three-month checkup, and I’ve been good, no cancer. My tumor levels are below normal,” said Gresham, who brought her husband along for the first time.

Funds raised have purchased a customized $70,000 van for patients who live at the hospital. $180,000 went to six specialized beds for NICU patients.

“Jill, of course, keeps track of every dollar I make, and she’ll send me a bill for what I owe,” said Braveheart screenwriter, director, and filmmaker Randall Wallace.

The Memphis native has been supporting the efforts for decades.

“We got involved with creating the van, helping to have the van for the children there,” said Wallace. “The giraffe beds for the NICU unit. It’s something you just can’t resist. it does your heart good”.

The Boss Queen drifts from table to table, chatting with the legions who travel to Jackson to celebrate spring and keep ailing children at heart.

“They’re beginning a renovation total renovation of the cancer clinic at Children’s Hospital,” said Jill Conner Browne. “And so we have asked Friends (Friends of Children’s Hospital) to designate the funds that we raise this year to go to the renovation.”

Before the weekend is over, royalty from all walks of life will be raising a glass and donating money to the Friends of Children’s Hospital.

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