Butler Heritage Foundation awarded grant from S.C. Cancer Alliance

The Butler Heritage Foundation was awarded a $10,000 grant from the South Carolina Cancer Alliance to address colorectal cancer in the Butler Historic District of Hartsville. The mission of the South Carolina Cancer Alliance is to reduce the impact of cancer on all South Carolinians, while improving equity to health care across the state. A recent study by SC Cancer Alliance and DHEC found that “the incidence and mortality rates for African-American males are far higher than any other race-sex subgroup.” The study attributed these higher rates to several factors including socioeconomic disparities and lack of confidence in healthcare providers. To address these factors, the Health Equity Project opened grant opportunities in November 2020. According to Sheila Squire, vice chair of the Butler Heritage Foundation, “This funding will allow the Butler Community Center to bring together clinicians and the community to address challenges we face in colorectal cancer screening. It’s more important than ever to make sure people are informed about both the benefits of colorectal screening and their options.” Over the next year, the Foundation will partner with area health care providers to provide center-based support at the Butler campus (1103 S 6th St.). The purpose of these partnerships is to increase colorectal cancer screenings. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer was the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death from 2013–2017 in Darlington County. In addition, the Foundation will implement educational outreach programs so to inform the community on colorectal cancer. Chairman of the SC Cancer Alliance Board, Dr. Gerald Wilson, said his focus on the board has broadened from his personal surgical management of colorectal cancer to a “public health approach attempting to reach communities, and particularly communities of color, by educating to prevent or detect early stages of colorectal cancer to improve our outcomes.” The mission of the Butler Heritage Foundation is to preserve the legacy of Butler High School by establishing a community and cultural center, and by providing and supporting diverse programs for all. After graduating the class of 1982, Butler High School closed, and the campus was used by the Darlington County School District. In September 1991, alumni, friends, and former faculty organized to transform the campus into a community center. In November 1993, the foundation formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit to continue the renovation and management of the campus. Today, the campus houses the Boys & Girls Club and the Butler Senior Center. The Health Equity Project “grant aligns with our vision,” said vice-chair Squires. The Butler Heritage Foundation seeks “to create a space for social and educational sustainability ensuring that citizens and businesses work together to create a safe, healthy, and desirable community where people feel comfortable and connect with each other, the past and future generations.” For updates about the SC Cancer Alliance project and information about colorectal cancer prevention, follow the Butler Heritage Foundation Facebook site.

Author: Rachel Howell

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