RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) – The City of Richmond Hill will host a blood drive Tuesday afternoon in honor of a student with leukemia.
It’s for Malone Tompkins, a 16-year-old who was diagnosed with leukemia back in August. The news sparked hundreds of blood donations.
Malone’s cancer attacks his bone marrow, leading to low levels of red blood cells and platelets. Thankfully, when he was in need, the community came to his rescue.
Now in remission, the 16-year-old said he’s ready for a normal life.
“I mean, I can just deal with stuff just by saying, ‘This sucks, but oh well,'” said Tompkins.
It’s an attitude not many teens with cancer can keep up. But Tompkins is different.
“It’s always good to be nice to people, be good to people, because they’ll eventually return the favor if it’s needed,” he said — and it was. Last year, Tompkins nearly died when his platelets were too low.
That’s when his mom, Jennifer, turned to the community for help.
“I posted on Facebook and since the very beginning we’ve had a huge, huge support group,” she said. “Within an hour we had 150 shares that we needed platelets.
“Basically, they inundated the Red Cross. They showed up at Memorial. Everyone was trying to donate everywhere.”
It was then that Jennifer Tompkins decided she would start a blood drive in Malone’s honor. “We’ve decided to try to do this every quarter so that we can keep up the need,” she said. “Because even when Malone no longer needs, it somebody else will.”
Malone has been homeschooled for the last year due to health reasons related to his illness. He is scheduled to return to Richmond Hill High School this upcoming school year.
The drive will be at J.F. Gregory Park at the Wetlands Building at 240 Cedar Street on Tuesday, June 2 from 2-7 p.m. T-shirts will be given out for free while supplies last.
The City of Richmond Hill said that at the last blood drive for Tompkins, 49 units were collected.
People planning to donate should visit RedCrossBlood.org to sign up and use code “MALONE” as the sponsor code.