Sheri Book of Mississippi Blood Services says cases like that of Anna Boyd, who was diagnosed with cancer at age 12, are catching the attention of teenagers, many of whom are donating blood in response.

“We just had the biggest blood drive in the history of Wesson School,” Book said Tuesday.

She cited Anna, Madeline King of Brookhaven and the late Markia Sullivan of Natchez as examples of young people whose stories resonate with their peers.

Markia died Aug. 27, 2018, of bone cancer at age 13. Madeline, 15, has thyroid cancer.

This past Aug. 27, Markia’s father Marcus learned about a blood drive for Madeline, and came out to donate blood.

Book has helped arrange blood drives for Boyd and King. The school drives have brought out a lot of students.

“They’re reaching out and donating for the first time. We’re talking about record-breaking blood drives at Crystal Springs High School, Brookhaven High School, Natchez High School and today at Wesson High School,” Book said.

People can donate blood at age 16 with parental consent.

“I’m always encouraging young people to donate blood,” she said. “I tell them if they can get their ears pierced, they can give blood.”

She said the stories of Boyd, King and Sullivan inspire many people to help, young and old.

“I just can’t tell you the countless people I meet that are donating because of those girls,” Book said. “I am just amazed by the teenagers that are coming together. That says a lot about the way they were brought up. That says a lot about the leadership in these schools.

“It makes me proud to be from Mississippi, that people care about one another and they’re showing it.”

As for Anna, Book is optimistic.

“I know Anna can make it. I know she can. I’m praying, and she’s so strong.”

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