2008 NFL Draftee Names Mercy Ships as Charity of Choice

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Former University of Oklahoma Wide Receiver Malcolm Kelly sets goal of making a difference.

“Malcolm Kelly is already a local football hero in East Texas,” stated Mercy Ships CEO Sam Smith. “But for me he’s much more than a great player. His compassion and commitment to bring hope and healing to the world’s poor is extraordinary for someone hi

Malcolm’s achievements as an athlete are extraordinary and we are sure he will excel in the NFL. But it’s his maturity to recognize the potential for helping the poorest of the poor by supporting Mercy Ships in Africa that is most impressive. It makes a strong statement about his personal character and values as a young man.

Former University of Oklahoma wide receiver Malcolm Kelly recently announced his plans to enter the 2008 NFL draft. The 21-year-old, All Big12 Conference performer will begin his professional football career by publicly endorsing the global charity Mercy Ships at a press conference on February 5th during the charity’s International Board of Directors Meeting being held at the offices of Clifford Chance at 2001 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006 at 3:00pm EST.

Kelly finished high school in his native Longview, TX, and by this time his talent and love for the game of football had blossomed. The 6’4” speedster accepted a full scholarship to the University of Oklahoma as one of the nation’s top prospects at wide receiver. After only three years, Malcolm has developed into one of the top-rated wide receivers eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft.

True to his character and Christian upbringing, the first thing Malcolm has committed himself to do as a professional athlete is to leverage his role to make a difference in the lives of others. Mercy Ships connection with Africa and the proximity of the International Operations Center for Mercy Ships to his home area helped make the global charity a natural fit for the young African- American athlete.

Malcolm said, “I wanted this to be the first thing I did to begin my career as a professional athlete. I’m not even in the league yet, but I know how important it is to do the right things in the right way. Mercy Ships is all about that. They deliver free, life-changing medical assistance to people in Africa and third world countries that need help the most. As an African-American, I feel a connection there. I just hope that this first small step will help shed light and get the word out on what an incredible organization Mercy Ships is.”

Mercy Ships Chairman of the Board, Myron E. “Mike” Ullman III stated, “Malcolm’s achievements as an athlete are extraordinary and we are sure he will excel in the NFL. But it’s his maturity to recognize the potential for helping the poorest of the poor by supporting Mercy Ships in Africa that is most impressive. It makes a strong statement about his personal character and values as a young man.”

“Malcolm Kelly is already a local football hero in East Texas,” stated Mercy Ships CEO Sam Smith. “But for me he’s much more than a great player. His compassion and commitment to bring hope and healing to the world’s poor is extraordinary for someone his age.”

Mercy Ships Founder and President Don Stephens remarked, “As the first professional athlete to endorse Mercy Ships, we are inspired and feel a kindred spirit with Malcolm Kelly. It is an honor to have him among the ranks of the wonderful volunteer professional doctors, nurses, patrons, and crew who enable Mercy Ships to continue in its mission.”

Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships is the leader in using hospital ships to deliver free world-class health care and community development services to the forgotten poor.

The Mercy Ships crew is made up of volunteer professionals from around the world. Doctors, dentists, nurses, community developers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and many others donate their time and skills to the effort. Since its inception in 1978, Mercy Ships has performed more than 1.5 million services, with a value of $600 million and has directly impacted more than 1.7 million people.

Statistics include treating more than 200,000 people in village medical clinics; performing more than 26,000 surgeries and 162,000 dental treatments; and completing more than 800 construction, agriculture, and water development projects. More than 1,000 career crew from over 40 nations are joined each year by thousands of short-term volunteers.

The Mercy Ships story is told in Ships of Mercy, published by Hodder & Stoughton UK and Thomas Nelson US. It is available online at: http://www.shipsofmercy.org.

The press conference will be webcast live February 5th at 3:00pm EST at http://www.mercysonitsway.com/malcolmkelly

Photos are available at http://www.mercyshipsnewsroom.org

For further information, contact:

MERCY SHIPS
Pauline Rick
US Public Relations Manager
Phone: 903-939-7649

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