A young girl from Pikeville is battling an E.coli infection that is affecting her kidneys. 

Nine-year-old Audrey Smith hasn't been able to return to school with her friends yet. But, her illness has brought the city of Pikeville together, letting Audrey know how much she means to the community.

Layla, Abigail and Willow are ready for their friend to come home.

The Harry Potter fans say Audrey Smith is one of the best friends around.

“Very nice girl and she is one of my best friends,” Abigail said.

“Me too," added Layla.

Vanessa Angel was Audrey’s second grade teacher. She says Audrey is a great student who loves any kind of challenge.

"When I see her smiling face, I want to hug her and tell her how grateful I am." Angel said, fighting back tears. "I want to smile back at her and let her know how excited we are to see her and how much a part of our family she is at Wheeler.”

Travis Smith has known Audrey’s family for some time. He says the outpouring of support from the community is inspiring.

"It's an amazing thing. It's a testament to the community and the way the people come together. In times like this, we put politics and other things aside and rally around someone in need like this," Smith said.

Audrey was exposed to E.coli late last month. Doctors say she is suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is hurting the blood vessels in her kidneys.

Her family posts on Facebook each day, updating her condition, which has improved from critical to fair.

Everyone says Audrey is a fighter.

"Very tough and resilient and she's going to do very well,” Smith said.

Everyone in Pikeville, especially her fellow wizards, is ready for Audrey to come home.

"This is the best case scenario she will be back at school with us. Is it going to be tomorrow? No. Is it in a week? Probably not. She will be back with us and her smiling face will be in her fourth grade classroom," Angel said.

"I'm going to say I'm glad you're back and you're not sick anymore and now you can come and play," Layla said.

The blood drive is Monday, August 19 at First Southern Baptist Church on Main Street in Pikeville, starting at noon and ending at 6:00 p.m.

If you would like donate blood, click here to schedule an appointment, call 423-447-7812 or simply just show up to the church on the day of the blood drive.

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