2015 Year in Review: lifestyle feature stories
Transplant for Toriana: Darlington girl plans for liver transplant
Toriana Douglas has endured so many doctor’s visits, tests, and hospitalizations in her short nine years, yet she exudes a quiet strength that inspires so many around her.
When asked how long she has had her illness, she replied softly, “Since I was a baby.”
Toriana was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia at her two-week checkup by her pediatrician, Dr. Bardi. Her team of liver specialists at MUSC in Charleston are trying to keep her as healthy as possible for a future liver transplant; the older a child is, the better their chances of the transplant being successful. Read more: Transplant for Toriana
Birthday celebration of Albert “Juny “James and Lucas Dargan
A July 18 birthday party held at the South Charleston Road home of Lucas Dargan offered family and friends a chance to celebrate the long lives of two Darlington pillars: Albert “Juny” James, age 99, and Lucas Dargan, age 98.
Click to read more:
A short chat about a long life: Mr. “Juny” James
Helping hungry kids in Lamar
Seconds after the black SUV parks at Lamar’s Cambridge Apartments, kids and their parents emerge with smiles and open arms, hugging Gay Jeffords and Sue Ingram, catching up on their lives, and gratefully accepting bags of much-needed food.
“It’s a Godsend. They’re like my angels,” said one young mother, watching as her little boy hugged the two familiar visitors.
Jeffords and Ingram work together in the Darlington County School District, and every Thursday morning, they meet at Lamar Elementary School, load up the SUV and make their deliveries as part of the Lamar Food Busters program, which aims to shore up food supply gaps for children in need.
Inspired by the work of Carolina Kids in Hartsville and Darlington, the ladies teamed up with organizer Andrea Pulling and Lamar Elementary principal Garry Flowers in March to establish a feeding program for their town’s schoolchildren. By partnering with Harvest Hope Food Bank, local churches and community members, they garnered enough donations to feed more than fifty children every week.
Read more: Helping hungry kids in Lamar
Dream flights over Darlington
The Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation made dreams come true for two dozen U.S. Veterans at the tiny Branham’s Airport not far from the Darlington Raceway September 2 – 4. The AADF, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to honoring seniors and United States military veterans. Their primary focus is individuals living in long term care communities, but occasionally provide flights to other veterans, such as those in the Darlington area. Their mission is “Give back to those who have given.”
AADF President Darryl Fisher from Carson City Nevada, and fellow AADF pilot Mike Winterboer from Oregon flew the gold and blue Boeing Stearman open cockpit biplane down from North Carolina after flying veterans from Winston Salem, Salisbury, and Pinehurst. The gentleman will meet with their largest sponsor, SportClips, during the VFW Help a Hero SportClips 200 race at the “Track Too Tough To Tame” and will stay for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 race before heading off to their next flight locations.
“One of my ground crew told me, this is a time machine- people go up at (age) 90 and come back down at 50. It puts a spring in their step it gives them something they haven’t had in years.”
In addition to the flight, veterans are given a cap signed by the pilot, and a flight certificate is mailed to them to keep along with a photo. They have already confirmed they will return for the Southern 500 weekend in 2016.
Read more: Dream flights over Darlington