Seven-year-old leukemia patient inspires Calhoun County blood dr - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Seven-year-old leukemia patient inspires Calhoun County blood drive

Posted: Updated:
Mike Raita, Brenda Ladun, James Spann, and Dave Baird are "Abby Strong" in this photo from May. Mike Raita, Brenda Ladun, James Spann, and Dave Baird are "Abby Strong" in this photo from May.
CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. - Abby Usher received a blood transfusion during her treatment for leukemia earlier this year.  She now wants to help others get the blood that they need.

The seven-year-old Wellborn girl spent Thursday afternoon at the Abby Strong Compassion blood drive.

Doctors diagnosed Abby with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the end of April.  Supporters across the state, including some familiar ABC 33/40 faces, flexed their muscles to encourage her to be strong as she began chemotherapy.

"She's doing great right now.  She's almost her normal self and plays with her brothers," Jeff Usher said Thursday about his daughter.

"She got a blood transfusion while we were in the hospital and it made her feel like a totally different person.  It brought all her energy back."

He said Abby started asking questions about the treatment.  She asked why doctors put blood in her.

"We tried to explain to her that she needed more blood.  Her counts were too low, and she had to have some blood, and that's why they were putting it in her," Jeff said.

"She started asking where it came from and we told her and it just kind of went from there," he said.

"She quarterbacked the whole thing.  She wanted to find a way to help."

A team effort led to the organization of Thursday's blood drive.  Ginger Bunn hosted the event at her store, Anytime Fireworks.

She heard about the Usher family and the Abby Strong campaign through mutual friends.  They are all now members of Team Abby.

"I've had several friends recently who have experienced the same type of things [Abby] has, and her face just kind of spoke to us, so we just wanted to reach out to her family and help," Bunn said.

Two bloodmobiles and a lot of cars filled the Anytime Fireworks parking lot on Highway 431, near the intersection with Highway 204 in the Angel community, between Alexandria and Glencoe.

"The third [of July] is always a busy time, so we just wanted to use the crowd that comes out on the third as a way to benefit Abby and her family," Bunn said.

Red Cross representative Donna Brittain said was her first blood drive at a fireworks store.

She was glad for the partnership and said Thursday's event comes during a time when the red cross really needs donations.

"Most of our donations come from schools, and schools are out in the summer, so the blood drives that we have in the summertime are critical," Brittain said.

The Angel Volunteer Fire Department brought a large grill and cooked hamburgers, hot dogs, and pulled pork.  They also sold drinks and snacks, and donated all proceeds to help with Abby's medical bills.

Abby and some of her friends set up a lemonade stand next to the fireworks store, with brownies and cookies for sale, as well as Team Abby t-shirts and bracelets.

She turns eight in September and hopes to return to school in January.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Ex-band director at T.R. Miller High arrested on charges he had sex with students

    Ex-band director at T.R. Miller High arrested on charges he had sex with students

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:14 PM EDT2014-08-23 00:14:07 GMT
    A band director who just started a new job in Georgia appeared before a judge Friday on charges he had sex with several students at his former high school in Alabama.More >>
    A band director who just started a new job in Georgia appeared before a judge Friday on charges he had sex with several students at his former high school in Alabama.
    More >>
  • Civil rights protesters march at state capitol

    Civil rights protesters march at state capitol

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:22 PM EDT2014-08-22 23:22:20 GMT
    More than 20 people, including civil rights leaders and ministers, have marched around the state Capitol and Statehouse in the first day of a seven-day protest that stretches across the Southeast.Democratic state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma says the marchers in Alabama are joining those in North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia to protest attacks on civil and human rights.The Alabama group marched around the Capitol and Statehouse in hot, humid weather Frida...More >>
    More than 20 people, including civil rights leaders and ministers, have marched around the state Capitol and Statehouse in the first day of a seven-day protest that stretches across the Southeast.Democratic state Sen. Hank Sanders of Selma says the marchers in Alabama are joining those in North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Virginia to protest attacks on civil and human rights.The Alabama group marched around the Capitol and Statehouse in hot, humid weather Frida...More >>
  • Man charged in funeral home theft

    Man charged in funeral home theft

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:38:34 GMT
    Jerry William Duke charged with two counts of third degree burglaryJerry William Duke charged with two counts of third degree burglary
    A Shelby County man is in custody after police say he stole from the same funeral home twice. 32-year-old Jerry William Duke has been charged with two counts of third degree burglary. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the funeral home in both instances.The two break ins occurred at the Midway Memory Gardens funeral home off of Alabama Highway 21 in Talladega County. Captain John McCoy with Talladega police confirm that Jerry Duke broke into the main building of the funeral home...More >>
    A Shelby County man is in custody after police say he stole from the same funeral home twice. 32-year-old Jerry William Duke has been charged with two counts of third degree burglary. An undisclosed amount of money was taken from the funeral home in both instances.The two break ins occurred at the Midway Memory Gardens funeral home off of Alabama Highway 21 in Talladega County. Captain John McCoy with Talladega police confirm that Jerry Duke broke into the main building of the funeral home...More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • Big turnout at bone marrow drive for Jefferson County deputy battling cancer

    Big turnout at bone marrow drive for Jefferson County deputy battling cancer

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:51 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:51:07 GMT
     The people who Sgt. Randy Nash spent his life serving - are now helping him in record numbers.More >>
     The people who Sgt. Randy Nash spent his life serving - are now helping him in record numbers.More >>
  • Friday Night Blitz coverage lineup for Week 1

    Friday Night Blitz coverage lineup for Week 1

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:25 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:25:25 GMT
    See the Game of the Week and other notable matchups to be covered on Friday Night Blitz...More >>
    See the Game of the Week and other notable matchups to be covered on Friday Night Blitz...
    More >>
  • Nearly 14,000 Alabamians waiting on state tax refunds

    Nearly 14,000 Alabamians waiting on state tax refunds

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:51:41 GMT
    Nearly 14,000 Alabamians are still waiting to get overdue tax refunds. Alabama's Revenue Commissioner blames the delay on a computer system designed to catch thieves.The delay is a bad thing for some taxpayers, but state leaders believe the delay is worth it.More >>
    Nearly 14,000 Alabamians are still waiting to get overdue tax refunds. Alabama's Revenue Commissioner blames the delay on a computer system designed to catch thieves.The delay is a bad thing for some taxpayers, but state leaders believe the delay is worth it.
    More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...