2018-10-12 / Front Page

A run with a purpose

By Cathy Cobbs


Kelsey Sawyer and Margaret Deans Grantz Kelsey Sawyer and Margaret Deans Grantz Even though Hurricane Florence put off the first Camp Cole run, the weather for its rescheduled date couldn’t have been more perfect.

On October 7, more than 120 runners descended on the future home of Camp Cole for a 5K trail run with a dual purpose— to raise money for the construction of Phase 1 of the camp and to increase awareness about the facility and its mission to help medically fragile adults and children throughout the Midlands.

“So far, we’ve had a community-led awareness campaign, but with the trail run, it gives everyone a chance to see the potential this camp could be for the city, Richland County, and the state,” said Camp Cole executive director Kelsey Sawyer.

The idea for the camp started with Cole Sawyer, the energetic son of Stacy and Scott, who was diagnosed with Rhabdmyoscaroma, a rare form of soft tissue cancer. During his 16-month battle with the disease, he was introduced to Camp Kemo, which offers a weeklong summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings. His mother became very involved in Camp Kemo events, even after her son passed away at the age of 11 in 2004.


Camp Cole 5K trail run begins. Camp Cole 5K trail run begins. The Sawyers, with another family, the Deans and Peter Fawcett, began discussing the idea of a camp that would allow for year-round experiences for children and adults who have a variety of needs. However, the dream was temporarily halted when Stacy died suddenly in 2016 after a stroke.

That’s when the Fawcetts stepped up with a donation of land on Garner’s Ferry Road that will be developed into a fully operational. Year-round facility that will be both ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and ACA (American Camper Association) compliant .

The capital campaign has raised more than $2 million of its $3 million goal. It will include the renovation/ construction of a café with a kitchen, as well as a main cottage that will include medical staff and staff housing.

Phase 2 “will focus on completing our six courage cabins, which combined can accommodate 200 guests overnight,” according to the camp’s brochure.

Phase 3 is dedicated to building a welcome center, which will include a gymnasium, canteen, stage, conference rooms, staff offices, art shack, and a large indoor activity space.

In the meantime, runners and spectators got to enjoy a sunny afternoon and a chance to look into the future on a property that will be unique to the Midlands and the state.

“We are very pleased, even though we had to delay the trail run, we had as many, if not more people participating today,” said marketing director Margaret Deans Fawcett Grantz.

Male winners of the trail race, which was sponsored in part by Strong Foundation, were Tripp French, Joe French, and Bryce Batemon. Female winners were Lily Angel, Windy Hill, and Lynn Grimes.

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