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By: Lara Winburn

Columbia was not supposed to be my home. I grew up in the Upstate, went to Clemson, married a fellow Tiger and don’t even look particularly good in garnet. But here I am 11 years later.

Our bridge

Our bridge

Over the weekend, the rains came down and the floods came up. The bridge closest to our house simply disappeared. Trees around us fell to the ground, the soil so wet that they just tipped over, roots and all. Friends who I hold dear and have collected here in this town suffered devastating loss. They swam away from their homes even though they were never really waterfront before. Friends I don’t know well (more the wave-to-at-Publix variety) have left their homes barely saved by boats. The stories of devastation are too much to bear sometimes, but there is another story too.

The aftermath

The aftermath

In the days since, all I have seen has been warm and loving neighborly assistance. We are new to our neighborhood (hence my absence from the blog), but Sunday night as we all feared evacuation and the creak of falling trees, we gathered in one kitchen. I watched as a full meal for a dozen neighbors suddenly, out of thin air, appeared. Straight loaves and fishes. Once it seemed the threat had passed for us, I gathered in my cow’s neighborhood, one of the worst hit in floodmaggeden.

There, I have witnessed men ripping their neighbors’ houses apart with their bare hands. My husband and his friends have emptied houses, all worldly possessions covered in something that can only be described as insulation/drywall mud (because the ceilings gave way and the insulation ended up on the floor). We have done loads of laundry in an effort to preserve everything from winter coats to smocked dresses that still had a chance against that sludge. We have spent hours delivering lunch, dinner, cold drinks, and the occasional beer to groups of helpers- their sole purpose to serve the need…whatever that need may be. Donations poured in. We mentioned we were making sandwiches or hot dogs or lasagna to serve to those whose stove was now sitting on the side of the road, and the deliveries rolled in. “I can bring salad, I can bring bread, I can watch all 11 kids,” were the words that rung out. As we walked these streets, armed with nothing more to offer than a cold drink or a sandwich, we were called “a blessing.” We encountered gracious families who had lost everything and were watching years’ worth of photographs dry on their lawn. With a smile and a thank you, those same people would point to other homes and ask, “Would you make sure they got some?” just as concerned for their neighbors as themselves.

The aftermath

A lasagna run

I tell you all of this to say, we were not alone. This was the norm. This is what the masses were doing to serve their neighbors and town – the people of Columbia and the people of South Carolina together.

I know this is not an unusual tale. We have all seen it on Facebook and even the nightly news. But this is not a story that gets old. Community should be celebrated again and again.

And with all of this, I know these are my people, my neighbors. This is my tribe. This is my town. And this is my home.

Confessions of a Famously-Hot Mom

By: Lara Winburn

Though there is a “cool front” coming through Columbia as I write this, we all know that a cool front in June, in Columbia, is a lie. It only means no triple digits on the heat index. And I must admit all of this hot weather and no vacation in sight can make me a little less of the mom, friend or human I hope to be. So, I have some famously hot confessions to make. I hope you will understand and even have a keep-cool suggestion or, at least, an invitation to your pool!

Famously Hot Confessions:

(Seven of them as we approach the seventh month of the year. Or, these could be affectionately referred to as “The Sweaty Seven.”)

  1. Famously HotI talk about the weather constantly, and when I say weather I mean heat. If you are trapped with me outside for more than 10 minutes I can promise you I will say some form of “wow, it’s hot” 9,478 times. I apologize for that but it is hot. I mean, I am even blogging about it.
  2. I do not care about artificial flavors, colors, or artificial ice. Sno-cones are good.
  3. I have run through our sprinkler more than once this summer….after work…in my work clothes.
  4. My favorite friends have a pool. Seriously, haven’t talked to you in 9 months – you have a pool? We should get together more often.
  5. I play hide and seek inside sometimes just to avoid: A) going outside and B) playing Candyland for the 400th time. (Did I mention I am a recovering competitive board game player? So even if my opponent is 4, I might play to win.)
  6. I consider shaving my head daily. I have a lot of crazy curly hair and it traps heat like a fleece blanket on my neck. But since my round face could never rock a pixie cut I keep some length on it so I can put it in a pony tail OFF MY NECK every single day. So if you see me with shears in hand, WATCH OUT!
  7. Sometimes the kids and I sit in my car, in my driveway, for what might be considered a long time – because my car has excellent air conditioning and it is so hot out there in the elements.

So there it is. I am open to suggestions, because did I mention it is hot? I need some new cool ideas!

LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

The Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Five Miler is just over a week away, and this year’s event promises to be better than ever!

 

Need additional motivation to help you finish the last leg of your training plan? In addition to the event’s signature red rose, everyone who crosses the finish line will receive a beautiful custom-designed medal. Second, Edible Arrangements will provide this year’s post-race treat. Their delicious gourmet berries will make crossing the finish line even sweeter!

After the event, be sure to join Dawndy Mercer Plank and other WIS-News 10 personalities in Finlay Park at the Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Health & Wellness Expo featuring health screenings and local vendors. The event will have plenty of massage therapists on hand to help your muscles relax and recover after the event!

So come on out April 25 and be a part of this year’s event. Bring your mother, your sister and your girlfriends! We’re counting on you to call greater attention to the number one killer of women—heart disease. Whether you’re a longtime runner or a brand new walker on the road to a healthier life, we welcome you with arms wide open to an experience you’ll always remember!

Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole 5 Miler Training Plan Begins This Weekend

Heart & Sole 5 Miler

On your marks, get set, go! The official 10-week training plan for the Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s 5 Miler begins this weekend. A great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to take care of your heart by committing to a fitness plan that will help keep your heart healthy.

The Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s 5 Miler will take place April 25 at 8:30 a.m. in Finlay Park. A 10-week, self-paced training program begins this Sunday, February 15. The free plan includes online tips and advice from a trainer at Health Directions, Lexington Medical Center’s fitness and wellness gym. Download the training schedule here.

Lexington Medical Center is the new sponsor of the Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler.  A women’s only event held in downtown Columbia, the race features a five-mile run, a five-mile walk and a three-mile walk.

“We’re proud to host the Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler because it not only encourages physical activity a healthy lifestyle, it also calls attention to the issue of heart disease — the biggest health threat women face today,” said Dr. Jeffrey Travis, heart surgeon with Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery.

The Carolina Marathon Association launched the state’s first women’s only road race in South Carolina in 2002. The Heart & Sole event grew from fewer than 400 female participants its first year to more than 2,300 in 2014. Sponsored in conjunction with WIS News 10, the race offers women of all athletic abilities the opportunity to participate in a comforting, supportive environment. Elite athletes, as well as first-timers, enjoy the unique event that offers a red rose at the finish line and special refreshments that include chocolate-covered strawberries.

For more information about the event or to register, visit www.HeartAndSoleRun.com

In addition to the free online training, there are other training options:

Strictly Running

8-week training program begins March 8

$90, includes twice-weekly group training sessions

Register at: www.StrictlyRunning.com  

You can also find information, inspiration and motivation for the race on Lexington Medical Center’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/LexingtonMedical) and on Instagram at RunWithAmanda. “Amanda” is Amanda Castles, a personal trainer at Health Directions, who will offer training tips from now until race day.

And, follow women in training on www.EveryWomanBlog.com, a blog that’s part of Lexington Medical Center. Women bloggers are training for their first five-mile race and will chronicle the highs and lows of their journey to become runners. They’ll follow the online training program offered by the hospital and share their experience. Follow them at www.EveryWomanBlog.com and click on the Heart & Sole Training tab. The blog will also include training tips, education, motivation and inspiration from running experts.

Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

LexMed Heart & Sole Women's Five Miler

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce it’s now the title sponsor of the Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler, which is set for Saturday, April 25 in downtown Columbia. As South Carolina’s premier all-women road race, Heart & Sole includes a five-mile run, and three- and five-mile walks.

For the past 14 years, the event has encouraged healthy lifestyles through physical activity and called attention to the issue of heart disease as the #1 killer of women. More than 2,000 women participated last year.

With a personal and supportive environment, the course begins near Finlay Park at Laurel Street, and winds through the Vista and the University of South Carolina campus before ending on the Taylor Street side of Finlay Park. This year’s event will begin with an opening ceremony at 8:00 a.m. featuring news anchors from WIS-TV, the co-sponsor. The five-mile race begins at 8:30 and the walk at 8:35 a.m. Top runners will receive cash prizes.

After the race, participants will enjoy special refreshments, entertainment and an expo featuring health screenings and local vendors.

We know you’ve got heart. And we know you’ve got soul. So, join us on April 25! We’ll see you at the start line!

General Registration

Registration is only available online.

For group of 7 or more people, registration is $23 before March 20. There will be no group registration after March 20.

Individual registration varies:

  • $28 before March 20
  • $33 through April 24
  • $45 on Race Day

Get Social

Learn more about the race on Facebook! LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

Follow Every Woman Bloggers, Sherree Thompson and Crissie Kirby, who are training for Heart & Sole here from now until race day!

Oktoberfest!

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

Everyone loves a good festival. The problem is that most of them are the same. Food vendors that serve fair food, bands that are too loud, too many people who have had too much beer, trash all over the ground. So, while we all love a good festival, we rarely have the opportunity to attend a good one. Well, not anymore.

OktoberfestMy best friend attends Incarnation Lutheran on Devine Street. Since 2011, Incarnation has held Oktoberfest in their backyard. You might be asking yourself…”how fun can a festival at a church be?” Well, the answer is, “more fun than any other festival in Columbia.” This event isn’t just fun, it’s impressive. Here’s a snap shot: a biergarten featuring German beers, craft beers and wine; German meals like Jaegar schnitzel, wiener schnitzel, bratwursts, potato salad, red cabbage, spaetzle, the whole nine yards; German music and dancing; and a playground, face painting, arts/crafts, and kids games. The music is going constantly, the kids are running around having a ball, the food is magnificent, and the atmosphere is just happy. I absolutely love this festival. My family and I look forward to it all year long.

oktoberfestIt just blows my mind how incredibly organized the festival is, too. The church members totally run the show. They cook, they serve, the youth group takes the orders, they run the games, they do it all.

Oktoberfest was held this past weekend, so if you missed it, I’m sorry for ya! Trust me and put this on your calendar for next year. It’s a wonderful event, totally family friendly, and it gets better every year. To the people of Incarnation, all I can say is “Holy Schnitzel” indeed!

Elizabeth Akre writes Gastronomy (by a Wanna-be Chef).

Family Shelter Hosts Annual Blues, Brews & BBQ Benefit, November 6

Did you know that the number of homeless families in the Midlands has increased by 30 percent in the last four years? I’m on the Board of Directors for the Family Shelter, the only emergency shelter that keeps families together as they work toward becoming self-sufficient again, and I’ve quickly learned that homelessness doesn’t discriminate. Family Shelter’s fall fundraiser is coming up soon, and I wanted to invite Every Woman readers to attend. It’s not only a fabulous, fun event, but proceeds go directly toward daily living expenses required to shelter resident families.

Blues, Brews & BBQFamily Shelter will host its annual Blues, Brews & BBQ benefit on Thursday, November 6 to support food, shelter and program services offered to homeless families in the Midlands. This year’s event will be held at Doc’s Barbeque and Southern Buffet at 1601 Shop Road in Columbia.

Attendees will:

  • Indulge in a full dinner of Doc’s famous BBQ and sides
  • Enjoy locally-made craft beer from River Rat Brewery
  • Get down to foot stompin’ bluegrass music by The Blue Iguanas
  • Begin their holiday shopping at our Silent Auction
  • Help support homeless families in the Midlands

Ticket price includes full BBQ dinner, beer and wine (must be 21 to attend). Tickets are $45 through Oct. 31, and are $50 Nov. 1-6 and at the door. To purchase tickets, visit: www.columbiafamilyshelter.org.

Established in 1979, the mission of the Family Shelter is to provide emergency shelter in a stable living environment for homeless children and their parents and help our residents build life skills needed to regain independence. It is the only emergency shelter in the Midlands that serves single mothers, single fathers and couples with dependent children. For more information about Family Shelter:

Website: www.columbiafamilyshelter.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/FamilyShelter

Twitter: www.twitter.com/FamilyShelterSC

Donate: www.columbiafamilyshelter.org/donate

 

Breast Cancer With Help From Our Friends

Patti Handel is a four-time cancer survivor.

“’Cancer’ is the scariest word in the English language,” she said. “But it’s only part of us. It doesn’t define us.

The 61-year-old from Irmo shares words of wisdom at monthly meetings of Woman to Woman, Lexington Medical Center’s support group for breast cancer survivors.

Handel started attending Woman to Woman meetings after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2007, just one month after she and her husband moved to Irmo from Long Island, New York.

Patti Handel and Brenda Osteen at the West Columbia Riverwalk

Patti Handel and Brenda Osteen at the West Columbia Riverwalk

“I didn’t have a South Carolina driver’s license yet and I needed an oncologist, surgeon and other doctors. It was overwhelming.”

So, she found comfort – and new friends in a new town – at the support group, which is designed to offer companionship to women who are recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

At Woman to Woman, cancer survivors share their experiences, learn about the latest treatment options and swap tips including how pickle juice seems to help cure chemotherapy-induced nausea.

That’s where Patti met Brenda Osteen in 2010.

Brenda, age 67, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 after a mammogram. The Lexington resident endured a mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstruction.

At the meetings, Patti and Brenda hit it off.

“Patti’s been where I’ve been,” Brenda said. “You can’t explain cancer to someone who hasn’t gone through it. It’s like trying to explain a migraine to someone who never had a headache.”

When you see Patti and Brenda together, you can tell they’re close. Both impeccably dressed, they laugh like college friends and share jokes and stories that make you laugh from your belly.

From trading bestsellers they’ve read to talking about their grandchildren while sipping a cocktail at a weekly dinner, they understand each other well.

“We need friends to hold hands with, laugh with and cry with,” Patti said.

Patti especially needed Brenda’s support after a cancer recurrence in her leg in 2010, and another in her abdomen and pelvis one year ago.

Brenda and Patti

Brenda and Patti

“When it came back, I was mad as a hornet,” Patti said.

Patti has had chemotherapy three times and lost her hair twice. She’s monitored every 8 weeks, with scans every three months.

Brenda has inspired Patti to stay positive.

“We get up, put on our makeup, lipstick and earrings – and head out. Life is too precious to waste,” Brenda said.

Kelly Jeffcoat, breast cancer nurse navigator at Lexington Medical Center, runs the Woman to Woman support group at the hospital. As a breast cancer survivor herself, she has a first-hand understanding of the group’s experience.

“This crazy, horrible thing called breast cancer ends up giving you these beautiful relationships,” she said.

Having a cheering section during cancer is important. Studies have shown that women with friends who support them through their cancer journey may experience better outcomes.

Patti and Brenda count Kelly as a big part of the cheering section.

“Kelly is instrumental in the treatment, care and recovery of women going through breast cancer,” Patti said. “Kelly can really say, ‘I know how you feel. I understand.’”

Patti and Brenda will attend Women’s Night Out on October 14, Lexington Medical Center’s annual dinner that recognizes October as breast cancer awareness month and honors cancer survivors and their families. More than 900 people attend each year.

The event includes a silent auction, physician exhibits, fashion show featuring models who are breast cancer survivors, dinner and a talk with keynote speaker Kate Larsen. A breast cancer survivor, Larsen will talk about the importance of friendship during cancer treatment.

For more information about Women’s Night Out or to purchase tickets, visit LexMed.com or call Lexington Medical Center Community Outreach at (803) 936-8850.

The Woman to Woman support group at Lexington Medical Center meets on the 4th Thursday of each month at 5:00 p.m. inside the Women’s Imaging lobby at 2728 Sunset Boulevard in West Columbia. That’s Lexington Medical Park 1 on the hospital campus. The support group is free and open to any woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, regardless of where she has received her treatment.

For more information about Lexington Medical Center’s cancer services, visit LexMed.com.

Women’s Night Out for Breast Cancer

Lexington Medical Center will host its annual Women’s Night Out on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in downtown Columbia. The event recognizes October as breast cancer awareness month and honors cancer survivors and their families. More than 900 people attend each year.

Women's Night Out

Join us for a silent auction, physician exhibit, signature cocktail, fashion show featuring breast cancer survivors and dinner. Attendees will also enjoy a keynote speech by Kate Larsen. Diagnosed with stage II breast cancer at age 46, she went from a seasonal fitness instructor, personal trainer, certified wellness coach and mom of three to a chemotherapy patient. Larsen will talk about how the power of having girlfriends in the midst of a dark and difficult journey gave her help, hope and a renewed sense of joy in her life.

Proceeds from Women’s Night Out benefit the Crystal Smith Breast Cancer Fund, a Lexington Medical Center Foundation program that supports women undergoing cancer treatment.

“Women’s Night Out is an inspiring evening that recognizes resilient women in our community,” said Barbara Willm, vice president of Community Relations at Lexington Medical Center.

Tickets for Women’s Night Out cost $40 each. Exhibits and the silent auction begin at 5:00 p.m. Dinner begins at 7:00 p.m. Call (803) 936-8850 or visit LexMed.com to purchase tickets. You can also sponsor a table for 8 honoring a breast cancer survivor for $350. Dress for the event is business casual, but jeans friendly. There will be free valet parking and a cash bar.

Lexington Medical Center diagnoses approximately 250 breast cancer patients each year. The hospital’s breast program has accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) and the American College of Radiology (ACR). Lexington Medical Center has four Women’s Imaging centers and a mobile mammography van, all offering digital mammography. Lexington Medical Center’s cancer program also has accreditation with commendation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. To learn more about Lexington Medical Center’s Breast Health Center, visit http://bit.ly/1rJXMnx.

Our Support of the Fort ROCKS!

By: Shannon Shull 

Oh friends, am I ever so excited and so proud! If any of you happened to check out my last blog entry, you know that I was trying to help rally support to Save Our Fort. The goal was to try to get close to 10,000 signatures in support of Fort Jackson staying open and active in our community. Not only did they meet their goal, but they’ve exceeded it! As of August 25, 2014, they already have close to 13,000 signatures! Many thanks to the tremendous effort put forth by my amazing aunt, Susan McPherson, Director of Public Policy & Military Affairs at the Greater Columbia Chamber, and the team of fabulous folks who rallied our community in support of Fort Jackson and all the positive opportunities it provides for our state. So for those of you who have stepped up to support the Fort, THANK YOU! You rock!

Save Our Fort

Please read on below for details of the good news. I promise to keep you all posted on this mission to Save Our Fort.

Columbia Chamber Exceeds Goal with Support of Community

The Save Our Fort initiative, an effort started by the Columbia Chamber to gain community support for Fort Jackson, has exceeded its goal by gathering more than 12,300 petition signatures. “We greatly appreciate the overwhelming response on behalf of Fort Jackson” stated Carl Blackstone, president & CEO of the Columbia Chamber. “This is a critical demonstration to the U. S. Army on how valuable Fort Jackson is to our community and to our partners.”

Save our Fort

MG (Ret.) George Goldsmith, chairman of the Columbia Chamber Military Affairs Committee shares, “We hear it again and again that the Columbia region is the ‘most military friendly community in America’. The collected signatures are a strong indicator for the U. S. Army and sets the stage for our community listening session that will be held in early 2015. We appreciate our community’s support and encourage continued involvement as we fight to save our fort.”

The packet of support letters will be sent to the U.S. Army in response to the Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment (SPEA) on August 25th. We encourage the community to continue sending in petitions until Monday. The next phase of the SPEA will be in early 2015 with the U. S. Army community listening session. Additional details will be shared closer to the date.

Save Our Fort

Columbia recognizes Fort Jackson as a major economic engine. We are proud of our talented men and women who produce excellent soldiers for our country. We want to continue to work with the U.S. Army to grow and expand the mission of Fort Jackson and make it a center of excellence for Initial Entry Training soldier training/production.

For more information about Save Our Fort visit ColumbiaChamber.com or contact Susan McPherson at 803.733.1148.