Blood drive to help Mississippi teen

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, August 27, 2019


NATCHEZ — Mississippi Blood Services is hosting a blood drive today to help with medical expenses for a Brookhaven teen with thyroid cancer.

A blood bus will be parked near Regions Bank at 413 Canal Street from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Tuesday for eligible donors of any blood type to give blood, said Sheri Book, Southwest representative for Mississippi Blood Services.

Email newsletter signup

The blood donations will be sent to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson to help cover an expensive surgery Tuesday evening for 15-year-old Madeline King of Brookhaven, Book said.

King’s father, Owen, works for Regions Bank and is a part-time pastor at Harmony Baptist Church in Brookhaven, Book said.

“This is a unique situation,” Book said. “King is an only child and has been so worried about families who have children with cancer before she was ever diagnosed herself.”

Before she was diagnosed in April, Book said King had been treated in the Jackson hospital with other medical issues.

While she was being treated, King showed compassion for the families she met there, Book said, and started fundraising to provide free snacks at the hospital to parents of children with cancer without ever knowing her family would soon face the same struggles.

“She started a Go Fund Me page and sold T-shirts to put money into that account,” Book said. “You just don’t see kids her age doing things like this. She never thought she’d be a cancer patient there.”

King had been scheduled for thyroid surgery earlier this month and became so ill and weak that the doctors could not operate, Book said.

King’s surgery had been rescheduled for this evening soon after the blood drive.

Mississippi Blood Services supplies free blood to hospitals statewide that would normally charge patients for the blood, Book said.

“If I can get 25 people to donate, we can battle her families’ bill for blood,” Book said. “A cancer patient would require more blood than that — we’re talking thousands of dollars worth — but it is a good start. … When people’s children are put in the hospital, their lives change. They have to be there every day for their kids, making it difficult to continue working and paying bills. My job is to go in and make sure that they’re covered. This is a situation I know Natchez will rally around to help.”