BISHOPVILLE, S.C. — Lee County joins rural communities around the country with limited access to health services, but a free community health hub is working to change that.
The program has been operating since the start of the pandemic, after receiving funding from the S.C. Rural and Primary Healthcare Center.
Brandi Rollins owns Vintage Flair Clothing Boutique Downtown Bishopville and says a visit to the clinic was key to her recovery from breast cancer.
"June 1, 2021 was the day I found out I had cancer," Rollins said. "If I had not gone that day and had that mammogram, I may still not know that I’d had it and who knows what could have happened?”
Mammograms are just one of the services the free health hub can connect clients to.
They also assist with things like blood pressure screenings and COVID-19 vaccinations or refer to services that can help.
Jaquetta Graham helps run the program through CareSouth Carolina, a local health center. The Foundation for Community Impact and Health Equity (FCIHE) is the program administrator.
"I kind of screen them to see if they need help with assistance with housing, getting food, filling out a Medicaid application, SNAP application, job referral," Graham said. "I love just going out to the community, speaking out to the community. Giving them the knowledge that they need or delivering resources that they’re not going to hear about, especially in the more rural areas.”
For Rollins, early detection was key.
"October 5 of last year, I rang the bell and it actually was the last radiation treatment of not having cancer anymore," Rollins said. "So, in just a few weeks, it will be one year…. I was very grateful that I did decide to make that appointment.”
The hub will host its final clinic of the year next Wednesday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lee County Library Annex Building located at 116 N. Nettles St. in Bishopville.
After that, clients can still receive free or low-cost referral services by visiting the Lee County Public Library at 200 N. Main Street, Bishopville or by visiting CareSouth Carolina at 545 Sumter Hwy, Bishopville.
The program is also in Kershaw, Orangeburg and Calhoun counties in the Midlands, though each library branch may operate a little differently.
Those interested should visit the main library branch in those communities to learn more.