JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A $3 million gift will help the Stephanie and Mitchell Morris Center for Cleft and Craniofacial Research and Innovation at Children’s of Mississippi in Jackson.

“Many in Mississippi struggle financially, and despite having some of the best medical professionals in the world, Mississippi still has difficulties in being able to provide some of the services that other top hospitals in the nation are able to provide,” Mitchell Morris said. “Children’s of Mississippi is the state’s only hospital and often the only place in the state where children can receive care and treatment for some conditions. Stephanie and I want that care to be the best possible and accessible to as many Mississippi children as possible.”

The gift will fund the purchase of endoscopes to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat craniosynostosis in babies. Endoscopic strip craniectomies remove a fused suture in babies.

An endowment will be created to support the center and its research and care, and a genetic counselor will spend more time seeing patients of the Craniofacial Team.

In the United States, doctors said about 7,000 babies are born with cleft lips and/or cleft palates each year. Craniosynostosis affects one in every 2,500 births.

The Morris family gift includes funding for an annual event for children who experience cleft or craniofacial differences.