Local leukemia patient inspires community to ‘B positive’

FROM STAFF REPORTS

LifeSouth invites community members to have fun while saving lives at the upcoming B+ Positive Charity Golf Tournament Blood Drive. The tournament is an event honoring and benefiting local patient Katie Wesley, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia, a cancer that affects the bone marrow and platelets.

Throughout her treatment, Katie has required more than 20 units of blood and many units of platelets and will continue to need additional transfusions in the future. Patients like Katie often require multiple transfusions to replenish the blood cells lost during cancer treatments. The tournament and blood drive will be held on Monday, April 19 at Heatherwood Golf and Country Club, located at 400 St. Anne’s Drive in Birmingham from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Leukemia patient Katie Wesley is the honoree of the upcoming B+ Positive Charity Golf Tournament Blood Drive on April 19. (Contributed)

When Katie was diagnosed, she learned that her blood type was B+, something that would go on to play a critical role in her treatment and recovery. She thought that it was no coincidence that the blood type that runs through her veins directly reflects who she is and the motto she has lived by throughout her life.

“If you know Katie well, then you know just the kind of positivity that she brings to any situation and how that positivity has impacted you. She genuinely enjoys being a cheerleader for all and finds reasons to remain hopeful in any situation,” said Leah Rawson, Katie’s friend and one of the organizers of the tournament. “But right now, Katie needs her own set of cheerleaders.”

Leah says that their goal is to provide Katie with a support system of positivity and financial relief so that she may rest easy and focus on her recovery. She is facing an uphill battle as she endures chemotherapy treatments, surgical procedures and an upcoming bone marrow transplant with an extensive recovery plan.

Katie’s friends and family chose to host a charity golf tournament in her honor because golf holds a special place in her heart. She grew up watching the sport with her father, but it was she became an event coordinator for The Regions Charity Classic that she truly fell in love with the game and the way it brought people together. Katie has participated in multiple charity golf tournaments over the years and has helped to raise thousands of dollars for others.

“It is her outpouring love and willingness to help others that inspired this event,” said Leah. “All proceeds from the event will go to cover Katie’s medical bills and other expenses brought on her by her diagnosis, as she will be in and out of the hospital and out of work over the next 2 years. This will allow her the focus on her treatment and recovery without the added stress of finances.”

To maintain social distancing, all donors will be spaced apart while waiting and donating blood. All donors will receive a recognition item and a cholesterol screening. Blood donors must be at least 17 (16 with parental permission), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. A photo ID is also required. For more information on donating blood or to schedule an appointment to donate, call toll-free 888-795-2707, visit Lifesouth.org or directly at Lifesouth.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/714060.