Friends raise funds for cancer-stricken mom of 3 teens

A group of supporters gathered at SouthCrest Bank in Tyrone Saturday before heading out on a motorcycle fund-raiser for Fayetteville resident Kristy Bannister (wearing the black ball cap and standing in front) who is diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. The “Kristy’s Ride” fund-raiser was the brainchild of Don Johnson, a customer at Outback Steakhouse where Kristy is a manager. Photo/Ben Nelms.

It would be difficult to find someone more upbeat than Fayetteville resident Kristy Bannister. And for all the factors in life that can bring most people down, Kristy does not fall prey to those pitfalls even though she is a 42-year-old single mom who is battling Stage 4 breast cancer.

A manager at the Outback Steakhouse in Peachtree City, Kristy was at SouthCrest Bank in Tyrone Saturday morning with a group of motorcyclists for the Kristy’s Ride fund-raising event bound for Warm Springs. The fund-raiser was relevant due to the nature of her circumstances. The Stage 4 breast cancer is in her liver again and the prognosis is not good. It can be measured in months, or maybe in a few years.

For most single mothers at age 42 with three children in their early teens, life would already be full of activity. And in addition to family and work, Kristy has already undergone a number of surgeries and multiple regimens of chemotherapy. Adding in the prognosis and another go with chemotherapy set to begin, Kristy’s plate is perhaps more full than most people would envision. Yet her outlook is remarkably upbeat. It mirrored her appreciation for the riders that turned out for the fund-raiser and for the people responsible for making it happen.

“It’s incredible for people to do something for someone they don’t even know,” Kristy said, her voice animated and her eyes sparkling. “It’s very humbling.”

Standing in the parking lot waiting for the cycles to depart for Warm Springs, Kristy spoke about her friend Don Johnson, a SouthCrest Bank customer, who initiated the idea for the fund-raiser.

“I think it’s absolutely amazing,” Kristy explained. “Don’s a customer at Outback and he has followed me on this journey. He brought the idea of the bike ride to SouthCrest and they jumped on board.”

From Johnson’s perspective the whole idea for the fund-raiser was simple.

“It’s just to raise money for this beautiful lady. She’s a real good friend,” Johnson said.

On Saturday and again on Monday, Kristy spoke without hesitation about her prognosis and the amount of time, whatever it may be, with her children.

“The prognosis is not good. I’m just trying to have a good quality of life with my kids now,” Kristy said, noting that the four of them sometimes take trips to the mountains.

SouthCrest Bank manager Tammy Ballard and the bank staff were in the parking lot Saturday and inside the bank preparing more food and drinks for the cyclists. Ballard said Kristy has been battling cancer since it was diagnosed in February 2010.

“We’re a community bank so we do what we can for the community,” said Ballard. “And this is going for a very good cause.”

A bank account for Kristy Bannister has been established at SouthCrest Bank. Funds deposited in the “Kristy’s Ride” account will help defray the various expenses associated with her battle with cancer.

For more information visit www.southcrestbank.com or call 770-969-2209. SouthCrest is located at 105 St. Stephens Court, Suite A, in Tyrone across Ga. Highway 54 from the Publix’s shopping center.