INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Peyton Manning started visiting children regularly at St. Vincent Children's Hospital in Indianapolis in 1999.
A new hospital was built in 2003, and in 2007 Manning was asked to sponsor the hospital which would then be renamed after him.
"In typical Peyton fashion, he thought about it for a few days," said former St. Vincent CEO and current board member Vincent Caponi. "He eventually decided it was a good fit."
The Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital is now the cornerstone of Manning’s charitable work in Indianapolis. And the young people being treated there not only idolize him, many of them know him.
Camille Clayton who is being treated at PMCH.
Clayton, like most kids here, knows too much about illness for her age.
"Well, I have hypogammaglobulinemia," said Clayton. "And I do (infusions) in my stomach."
Despite her condition, she’s just like every other 10-year-old. Excited in particular right now about Halloween.
"So what are you going as this year?" asked 7NEWS reporter Russell Haythorn.
"A mad scientist. Hehehe," Clayton laughed.
She’s also excited for the big game this weekend.
"Let’s go Broncos," she cheered. Clayton would be rooting for the Colts, but not now that her favorite player is in Denver. After all, she’s met him multiple times.
"He’s super tall, and he’s funny and he’s a terrible singer. ‘He’s a what?’ asked Haythorn. A terrible singer," laughs Clayton.
It turns out Manning doesn’t just talk the talk here. He didn’t just donate big bucks to get his name on this hospital. As moms and hospital big wigs will tell you, he walks the walk. Up and down the halls that display his jerseys, popping in on patients all the time.
"He’s all about the patient. He’s all about – 'What’s your name? How old are you? Where you from? Are you doing well in school?" said Caponi.
"We have good and bad days," said Clayton's mom, Melinda Clayton. "Mostly good days now. But, it’s just nice to know that this hospital is here and that Peyton stands by it. No matter where he lives in the country."
Since his name went up in 2007, he’s helped raise $7 million for the hospital. But more importantly, he’s boosted the spirits of countless kids like Camille.
"His middle name is Williams," she said.
Kids who truly know him. Not the athlete, but the person.
"He came and visited me in the hospital," said Clayton. "And then he rode off in his Buick. ‘Does he really drive a Buick?’ asked Haythorn. Well, he doesn’t drive it. His limo driver does. It's brown."