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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Hailey Bankhead

Hailey Bankhead

Jonesboro, Georgia

Hailey Bankhead, 12, of Jonesboro, Georgia, a sixth-grader at Mundy's Mill Middle School, is a cancer survivor who is working to ease the burden of other young cancer patients by providing hundreds of activity bags, organizing arts and crafts activities at two hospitals every month, and buying gift cards and meals for patients’ families. When Hailey was 5 years old, she was diagnosed with Stage IV Wilm’s cancer, a rare kidney tumor. Despite months of painful treatments, Hailey fought back. “I am in remission and on a mission,” she said. “I fight to make hospital stays for kids like me more tolerable, less lonely, less fearful, and to give hope where hope is lost.”

To accomplish her objective, Hailey works with The Hailey Bankhead Foundation, started by her mother, to raise money. She assists with an annual 5K walk/run, solicits support from local businesses, and plays an active role in planning and managing a gala fundraiser called “A Night Under the Stars.” With some of the proceeds, Hailey has created 450 custom-designed “Hailey’s Hope Bags” containing games, books, puzzles, cosmetics and other items designed to entertain and cheer up hospitalized kids. She also has purchased 2,800 arts and crafts kits for the activity sessions that she and fellow volunteers hold for kids at two Atlanta hospitals each month. In addition, Hailey buys gift cards for families struggling with the high costs of transportation and living expenses while their children receive treatment. “I strive to do what I can to make things a little less scary for kids battling adult-size diseases,” said Hailey.