Blood drive raises awareness

Published 2:00 am Friday, September 4, 2015

First National Bank in Brundidge and Troy is hosting the third annual Banking On a Cure blood drive event. LifeSouth Community Blood Centers will have a “bloodmobile” at each location on Friday, Sept. 11, for the drive.

The blood drive is held in honor of Hadley May, who lost her life to childhood cancer nine years ago. Ryann May, Hadley’s mother and marketing coordinator for First National Bank, is touched that the community still remembers Hadley and honors her in such a big way.

“I think it’s great,” May said. “It’s been nine years since (my husband and I) lost Hadley. We think it’s awesome that people still remember her. We are happy to do anything we can do to use her story to help other people.”

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May said that the event is held each year in September because it is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The event will not only bring awareness to childhood cancer, but all the blood that is donated in Hadley’s name will be used locally in the fight against childhood cancer.

“I think it’s really important because a lot more children are affected than we realize,” May said. “Before Hadley was diagnosed, I never thought about it. A lot of people don’t realize it until it happens to them.”

In addition the blood drive First National Bank is also making an effort to bring awareness during home games for their “spirit schools.”

“We’ve gotten kits and will paint gold ribbons on the football fields for when they play at home,” said John Ramage, president and CEO of First National Bank. “It’s just another way to make people more aware.”

Ramage said that May has been with First National Bank for a long time, and he remembers when Hadley was going through treatments.

“It was their struggle that brought all of us into the awareness of the issue, Ramage said. “We saw first-hand how awful this can be, and we were just spectators.”

May said that only 4 percent of national funding goes to childhood cancer research.

“When I tell people that statistic, people are shocked,” May said. “I believe this event helps people become aware. Bringing more awareness brings more funding and research.”

Melinda Hinds, district community development coordinator with LifeSouth, said that even though people may not think about it, blood is crucial of cancer patients.

“People forget that cancer is a blood disease,” Hinds said. “It’s in your blood, and people forget that people going through those treatments have to have several transfusions, whether it’s red blood cells or platelets. Thos can only be obtained if people are giving the blood.”

The blood that is donated in Hadley’s name will be distributed where needed, but it will stay either in Troy or at hospitals that Troy residents often use.

“LifeSouth is a supplemental provider for the local hospital,” Hinds said. “If their primary provider cannot get the units they need, they call us if they need more units. LifeSouth is the primary provider, providing 100 percent of the blood for other major hospitals that Troy residents use in Dothan and Montgomery.”

Hinds said that donating blood could not be more important, because the need for blood is crucial.

“If every eligible person donated twice a year, we would never face a blood shortage,” Hinds said. “It will take 30 to 40 minutes, but somebody is waiting on that blood.”

Hinds said that one donation can save up to three different people.

The Banking On a Cure blood drive will be held at both the Brundidge and Troy locations of First National Bank. The drive will be held Sept. 11 at 9 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. Those who donate will receive a free t-shirt designed by May. Further information is available at

“The first step toward the cure is awareness,” said Ramage.