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SIR BIG SPUR Mary and Ron share their “Labor of Love” for the real live Gamecock


Daniel and Stephanie discuss the recent diagnosis of their son

9 months and 34 minutes

of a Purpose

Filled Life Meet the Poston Family

In this Issue



EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Lori Samples Duncan

MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES Theresa Adams Cathy Williams

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kristin Kingsland Brown Lori Samples Duncan Beth McCrary Tripp Newsome Elaine Samples

From the Editor

Let’s Talk

4 Happy New Year!

6 9 10 13


5 What’s Happening?

COVER PHOTO Clark Berry Photography

DESIGN Melissa W. Morris

Look Good & Feel Good with Help from the Team at The Facial Aesthetic Center Medical Spa of Columbia Aiken Center for the Arts Antiques in the Heart of Aiken Columbia Arts Academy Are You Preparing Your Own Taxes? Don’t miss out on these tax deductions!

All About Heart


14 9 Months and 34 Minutes of a Purpose Filled Life 18 Labor of Love: Meet Sir Big Spur

Clark Berry Photography Heather Sargent Photography Robert Patrick Image Design

Health & Wellness

21 Working the Beat: Women’s Hearts 22 Q&A with Palmetto Imaging

Celebrating the Survivor in You! 24 Faith with the Fournels

Find us on facebook!

Business & Web Directory 27 Contact our Advertisers

Midlands Woman Magazine Woman 2 Woman Publishing (803) 785-4475 602 Northwood Road Lexington, SC 29072

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publisher cannot assume responsibility for errors or omissions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. © 2013

Personal Note 28 My Valentine


Attention Hat Ladies!

AIKEN HORSE TRIALS HAT CONTEST Please submit your hat photo to Midlands Woman Magazine by February 25, 2013. All entries will be judged by a panel of hat experts. The top five finalists will be our guests at the Aiken Horse Trials for final judging. The winner will be featured in the summer issues of Aiken Woman, Lexington Woman, Midlands Woman and Charleston Woman Magazines. Send your entry photo to

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his is our two year anniversary for Midlands Woman. Our heart issue is one of my favorite, and I am excited about the stories in this issue.

It is a pleasure to introduce to our readers the owner of “Sir Big Spur,” a Gamecock favorite. Mary is someone who has very close ties to the Columbia community and travels frequently with her rooster to various events to represent USC. Our cover story is one of the most precious stories we have ever told. We brought this story to the Midlands first in 2011 in our Mother’s Day issue of Lexington Woman Magazine. Because our reader response was so great, we wanted to share it with you in Columbia. Crystal Poston and her husband Benji have been an inspiration to many of us over the last few years. Even though their story had a heartbreaking beginning, they are now the proud parents of two healthy daughters. After sharing her story, Crystal was able to create a ministry called “Angel Mommy Ministries” using her own experience to offer comfort to others. I will tell you now — you will most likely cry. She is a survivor in the truest sense of the word, pressing on, being the best mother she can be to her daughters and being thankful for the short time God shared Benjamin with them. We appreciate each and every reader of Midlands Woman, and we hope to continue to bring you stories of local women to inspire you, motivate you, and educate you. Don’t forget to tell our advertisers where you saw them. They have each made a commitment to bring you quality services and products with excellent customer service. I would recommend any business in these pages to my family members. Happy New Year, Columbia! Happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It looks like we have lots to celebrate in our big beautiful community! God Bless you, and feel free to contact us with any feedback.

Until next time,

Lori Samples Duncan Editor-in-Chief

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

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Events Carolina Behavior & Beyond, LLC is a home-based early intervention provider serving children with special needs ages birth to five

What’s HAPPENING? 14th Annual Antiques in the Heart of Aiken Show and Sale February 1-3, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Noon – 4 p.m. on Sunday Aiken Center for the Arts, 122 Laurens Street SW, Aiken

Your Journey is Our Passion Services available: One on one early intervention services Service coordination Behavior planning • Potty training Parent support groups Free developmental screenings Play groups • Infant massage

Adrianna Kleckley (803) 446-8113 Suzanne English (803) 447-8449 Office Fax (803) 808-7951

Serving delectable homemade soups, sandwiches, salads, and desserts! The show features more than 25 dealers from across the southeast with linens, jewelry, rugs, silver, porcelains, furniture, civil war memorabilia, and artwork. Also included are restoration/repair experts. The antiques show is a major fund raiser for the aiken center for the arts, which is celebrating more than 35 years of promoting arts and cultural education for the aiken area. Monthly exhibitions and art classes for adults and children are supported with funds raised from the antiques show and sale. Tickets for the show are $8.00 (good for all three days). The preview party will be held January 31st from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Call (803) 6419004 to learn more or visit the website below.

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam February 8 at 7:30 p.m., February 9 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Colonial Life Arena, Columbia

Monster Jam returns to the Colonial Life Arena for their 10th consecutive appearance. This event is an incredible family-friendly experience starring the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Jam monster trucks! These twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to the edge of your seat, racing and ripping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over - OR smash through! The biggest names in the sport are all here, straight from their TV show on Speed and their popular toy line from Mattel toys. Monster Jam provides a massive night’s entertainment tailored perfectly for your family’s budget. Visit the site below or call (803) 576-9200 for more information.

The Richard Culliver Benefit February 16, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. The Lexington Country Club

Serving these counties: Calhoun • Lexington Newberry • Richland • Saluda

Entertainment will be provided by The O’Kaysions. Auction items will be available. Special guests include: USC Baseball Coach Chad Holbrook, Former Clemson Coach Danny Ford, Heisman Trophy Winner George Rogers, Carolina Panther Captain Munnerlynn, Sheriff James Metts, “The Pastor of Pain” Corey Miller, and a special guest appearance. 100%

of the benefit proceeds will go to assist the Richard Culliver Family. Admission is $25. To purchase tickets, visit the website below. About Richard: On October 4, 2012, Richard was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It’s a very smart and sneaky tumor that hides behind natural brain tissue. Because of where it is at on the brain, it is inoperable. It will eventually inhibit Richards ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe. Richard was released from the hospital on October 6 to go home and live the best life he possibly can and that is exactly what his parents are committed to doing.

Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival February 22, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Colonial Life Arena, Columbia

Mickey Mouse and friends rock the world with the stars from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story in their new touring show Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival. Disney hits are remixed to the hottest sounds of today featuring hip hop, pop, swing, reggae, rock, country and much more! The irresistible lineup of performers, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy; Ariel, Sebastian and Ursula; Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie; and Woody, Buzz and Jessie; are among the more than 25 Disney stars featured in this jam session fit for the entire family! You can’t resist dancing, singing, playing your air-guitar and laughing with this band of characters! Come join them at Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival for a lively concert experience guaranteed to deliver enough rockin’ memories to last a lifetime. Visit the site below or call (803) 576-9200 for more information.

Colon Cancer Challenge 2013 March 23, Registration at 7 a.m. Dutch Fork High School, Irmo

The 2013 Colon Cancer Challenge is a one-day event to raise awareness for colon cancer detection, prevention and treatment. All proceeds will go to fund colon cancer screenings for under insured and uninsured patients. The event will feature an 8K Boxer Runway, 65-mile, 50-mile, and 26-mile bike ride. For the 8K Boxer Runway, runners are encouraged to turn their boxers into outerwear! Visit the website below for more information and to register.


lways possessing a passion for fitness and nutrition, falling in love with the skincare and the medical spa industry was inevitable for Renee McCord. The cosmetic and fitness industries continuously interchange, and Renee focuses on nutrition, health, and skincare, maintaining that a balance of the three is key to sustaining proper skin and body health. Renee uses this platform as a motivational speaker, speaking to groups on skincare and fitness.  She currently works as the Operations Manager for The Facial Aesthetic Center Medical Spa of Columbia (“The Facial Aesthetic Center”). Starting at an early age, Renee’s mother set the precedent for taking care of her skin. From “Always wash your face before going to bed” to “Never leave the house without some color on your lips,” her mom encouraged her to be cognizant of her skincare regimen. Starting off in the fitness industry, through the years as health and wellness came to the forefront of the American consciousness, Renee McCord began to notice a trend with her fitness clients. They were working hard on their bodies, achieving great results, and becoming more concerned with their skin, “noticing that some maintenance and correction needed to be done, especially to their faces,” recalls Renee. “After being asked numerous times about skincare from my clients, I decided to obtain my license to become an aesthetician. I’ve taken additional courses that have extended my education to work in a medical spa setting. In fact, the entire staff at our practice loves and specializes in what we do.”

LOOK GOOD & FEEL GOOD with Help from the Team at The Facial Aesthetic Center Medical Spa of Columbia

by Elaine Samples

photo by Clark Berry Photography

Celebrating, Motivating and Educating

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Let’s Talk So what does a balance of nutrition, health, and skincare really mean? “Garbage In, Garbage Out or Good In, Good Out,” says Renee. “When it comes to skin health and appearance, you really are what you eat. Eating better is one of the easiest ways to begin to correct and make changes in the skin and body. You can improve your wrinkles, acne, and blemishes by food sources that are rich in antioxidants and minerals and other nutrients to help balance you internally and externally. Skincare is also about what you can do on the outside. Products specially formulated for your skin type/condition really do work. And they do not have to be expensive to work; they just have to be right for you. Practicing a daily skincare regime is one of the best presents you can give to your skin! Exercise is also one key connection to maintaining the balance for healthy skin and body. Exercise boosts your circulation, which improves the look of your skin because it helps to detoxify your system, leaving you with healthy and glowing skin.  As for your body, the right type of exercise can reshape and sculpt your body. Your energy level will be so much more than sedentary people. Think about it; you ever notice fit people have a bounce to their step

and a glow to their skin?” Well, now that you mention it… The Facial Aesthetic Center has a program called Skin Fitness. For a monthly fee, members are able to receive a monthly skincare treatment and combine and try new services for a special rate. Upon enrollment, the aesthetician analyzes the client’s skin type/condition and formulates a “personal training program” for the skin. This strategy is designed to help the client consistently correct and maintain their good skin. Membership into the Skin Fitness program gives members deep discounts on all Skin Fitness services as well as discounts on other services and products outside of the Skin Fitness Membership. With several different types of plans that help keep your skin on track affordably, they have a little something for everyone. “Skincare isn’t just for beauty,” notes Renee. “It’s for your health. Skin is the largest organ on your body and is the front line defense in your daily fight against pollution and other environmental irritants. Your skin is constantly protecting you. It keeps infections out of your body and keeps you from getting sick, so you need to protect and reinforce it with extra care. When

you take care of your skin, you’re helping your skin do its job. And taking care of your skin today will help prevent future problems, like wrinkles and even skin cancer.” In addition to anti-aging and skincare treatments, The Facial Aesthetic Center Medical Spa of Columbia offers two types of fat reduction at its medspa. It is the National 2012 Lipo-Ex Before and After Contest Winner for the best results in face and body categories for men and women. Lipo-Ex uses radio frequency heat to excite the fat cells to leak their fat, often destroying some of the fat cells in the process. Some clients have lost five to ten inches of fat in their stomach alone. Most areas of the body where there is unwanted fat can be treated, including stomach, front and/or back of thighs, bra fat, arms, face and neck etc. Lipo-Ex is combined with nutritional counseling to insure the client achieves optimal results, and so that they will maintain their results. They also offer a weight loss program that combines medication with a low calorie diet. The program is strict, but extremely effective. Women, on average, lose 25+/pounds and men, 35+/- pounds in a 6 week period. In addition,

approximately the same amounts of inches are lost proportionate to the number of pounds lost. Some clients elect to do the weight loss program first then roll over into a Lipo-Ex package to further spot treat fat pockets and to encourage skin tightening.

‘Skincare isn’t just for beauty. It’s for your health.’ Offering services such as Thermage skin tightening, Portrait Skin Regeneration, Lasers for Hair Reduction and Spider Vein Removal, Injectables and more, The Facial Aesthetic Center is a one-stop shop for your nutrition and skin care needs. This spring, they will be offering even more services and their offices will be moving to a new location. Visit Renee and the entire team on the web at www. and register to receive their monthly email blast announcing specials and event dates. Or give them a call at (803) 254-5484 to set up your free consultation. Because let’s face it: the better you look, the better you feel.

Skin Care • Botox and Juvederm Thermage Skin Tightening • Laser Hair Removal • Painless IPL Lipo-EX • Portrait Skin Regeneration • Spider Vein Removal Permanent Makeup • Wedding Treatments • Weight Loss Program

Mention this ad and receive 10% off of any service! (803) 254-5484 • 3304 Millwood Avenue Columbia, SC 29205

2013 SHOW and SALE February 1, 2 & 3 Preview Party: January 31 Aiken Center for the Arts, SC Publicity Underwriters

Atlantic Broadband • Bella • Aiken Standard • News Channel 26

For more information:

(803) 641-9094 • Check us out on facebook

Family Owned and Operated for over 50 Years! Special Clearance Section

We’ve got the Furniture and the Prices to put Comfort and Style in Every Room of Your House!!! • Clayton Marcus Gallery • Lane Gallery • Complete Line of Ashley Furniture • Solid Wood by Kincaid • Serta Bedding including the new iComfort and iSeries Beds! • Many other furniture lines available and we have accessories!

North Furniture Company

Mention this ad and get an additional

10% off ALL SALE PRICES! (Excluding Clearance Prices)

(803) 247-2681 • • 4581 Savannah Hwy • North, SC 29112 

Celebrating, Motivating and Educating

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by Kristin Kingsland Brown



ithout a doubt, my favorite event in Aiken is the annual Antiques in the Heart of Aiken Show and Sale the first weekend of February at Aiken Center of the Arts in Downtown Aiken.

The Antiques Show embodies the Aiken spirit of gracious hospitality, high quality items, and glorious visual appeal, and follows the mission of the Arts Center in art education. Fourteen years ago the creators of the event, Becky Robinson and Barbra Sue Brodie developed a full four day event that offers the 23 dealers who come from as far as Texas and Connecticut the red carpet treatment, and presents the community with an outstanding event to enjoy as it shops and learns. Through the years, various Antiques committee chairs have improved the event, which now utilizes second floor space for repair specialists and includes Sweetheart Café seating plus a dessert bistro with live entertainment for the Thursday night Preview Party. Antiques may be the focus of the event, but volunteers are its heart. The original founders continue to be involved and Lisa Castle of York Cottage Antiques plays an

important role on the committee. Members of various women’s clubs serve food in the Sweetheart Café, a local church men’s mission group moves the Antiques, talented local cooks contribute their skill in the Sweetheart Cafe, and a local artist, doctor, or pilot might man the elevator. Committee members plan press, entertainment, set up and print materials, area media underwriters publicize, patrons generously contribute, and educational lecturers donate their learning. The dedication of these community leaders to the Show and Sale is infectious, and creates an excitement during the weekend.

The Antiques Show embodies the Aiken spirit of gracious hospitality, high quality items, and glorious visual appeal...

The excitement about the Show is strengthened by the strong economic impact seen in the local and broader Aiken community. Although the in-house Sweetheart Café serves outstanding lunches and tea delights, local restaurants

and hotels often have some of their busiest days during the event. Throughout the event there is an ongoing anticipation that something special is happening. Without fail, I can’t wait to see what will occur next. Will there be a piece of porcelain that I can’t live without? Is the front floral arrangement as lovely as last year? Do I know the front desk volunteers? What goodies did dealer Ben Adams bring this year? Is the entire Smith fam-

ily coming for lunch after church? Could a dealer share a new important piece of knowledge? Will one of the Friday and Saturday lectures totally absorb me? The many reasons for my adoration result in a remarkable event for me, the participants, antiques and arts lovers, foodies, volunteers, and community to benefit Aiken Center for the Arts. Most importantly, the fundraiser supports its general operations, which enables the 40 year old not-for-profit arts educational institution to provide art educational programs, gallery exhibitions, and cultural experiences for everyone. Perhaps my special affection for the Antiques Show is about the joy of giving… because in reality, giving is the heart of Antiques in the Heart of Aiken Sale and Show, Aiken, and the Arts in general. I hope you will join us for the next event on February 1 – 3.

Let’s Talk

Columbia Arts Academy

by Elaine Samples


ince 2003, Marty Fort (a former 20 Under 40 State Newspaper Award Winner) has operated the Columbia Arts Academy on Rosewood Drive in Shandon ( What began as a one room guitar studio called “Marty Fort Guitar Studio” has grown into the largest private music school in the state of South Carolina, with over 700 students ages 4 and up taking guitar, piano, voice, bass, drums, ukulele, and rock band classes. There are a lot of music schools in the Midlands area, but Fort has worked hard to create a “whole” experience for music students. “It’s a lot more than just a teacher and a room. The music lesson experience we give here includes great customer service to the parents, including communication on how their child is doing. For adults, they get first class treatment from the office to make sure everything is going smooth with their lessons. We are one of the only schools in the Midlands that has full time office staff to assist our clients for just music lessons seven days a week.”

The Academy holds recitals every May and December because one of the things that is most important to Fort is that students get to perform in a first class recital hall with a Steinway grand piano. “We hold our recitals at USC or Columbia College, and one of the criteria is that they have a grand piano and world class acoustics. Recitals are so important for the development of our young and adult students. If you’re going to host a recital, it needs to be in the best facility possible. Also, all of our recitals are free and there are no participation fees.”

Technology is also a big part of lessons at the Columbia Arts Academy. Fort has installed $10,000 worth of LED monitors in each classroom. The monitors have cables that can attach to iPods, iPads, or laptops. This allows students to have a modern and engaging lesson using music teaching apps, music software, Skype, and more.

The school is open to everyone ages 2 and up. With private lessons in voice, guitar, piano, bass, drums, banjo and ukulele, there’s something for everyone and it’s never too late to start. The school also holds Rock Band classes at their Rosewood location. Additionally, they offer Music Fun and Play programs for very young children.

“One of the things that has really set up apart is our focus on providing lessons that are fresh, new, and engaging. There are so many great teaching apps out there now that I felt we had to update our teaching rooms with LED monitors. By

On January 14th, the Columbia Arts Academy opened its second location, the Lexington School of Music, in Suite A2 at the Old Lexington Mill next to CrossFit Iron Mary’s Gym. Director Marty Fort says about the expansion: “We’re very excited to be in Lexington. It’s an addition we’ve wanted to make for years. So many of our teachers and clients live in Lexington, so it was a natural fit. The Lexington Old Mill has a lake right outside our front door, plenty of parking, and a really modern upscale space for teaching lessons. It’s going to be a great addition to the Lexington Fine Arts Scene. In less than 30 days we’ve enrolled 100 students at our Lexington location, so the response has been loud and fast.”

‘...our students have never run the risk of being bored by their lessons.’ doing so, our students have never run the risk of being bored by their lessons. It’s a challenge to engage children or adults, but by integrating technology such as teaching apps from the iTunes store, GarageBand, ProTools, you name it, we’re providing a cutting edge lesson experience in the Midlands.”


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Lessons are being held now in Columbia and Lexington, so interested students should call (803) 787-0931 or visit

IS THIS THE YEAR YOU LEARN HOW TO PLAY? Nobody teaches guitar, voice, bass, piano, drums, banjo, ukulele and rock band like we do for ages 2 and up! Over 1,600 families. Ten years. South Carolina’s Largest Nationally Famous Music School.

Three Reasons Why You'll Want Your Son Or Daughter To Be With The Columbia Arts Academy!

1. Guitar, Bass, Voice, Drum, Piano lessons & Rock Band classes in one location, saving you time & money.

We are the only school in Columbia, South Carolina that offers all of these popular instruments: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Voice, Singing, Piano, Bass, Drum set, Banjo, Ukulele, Music Fun & Play for ages 2-4 and year round rock band classes in one location.

2. The largest & most qualied teaching faculty in Lexington who will teach you the songs you want to learn.

We have 35 music teachers, all with either University training or professional performance experience. Our music teachers are dedicated to learning about your personal musical goals and helping you to achieve them. With at least three music teachers for every instrument, we are con?dent that we have the right teacher to meet your needs. In addition to their teaching credentials, our teachers have warm personalities, are extremely friendly and dedicated to teaching you the style of music that you want to learn.

3. The widest range of lesson times available seven days a week to fit your busy schedule. 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday - Friday 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays 1:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m. on Sundays

Now is the time to sign up for music lessons. Over 600 kids will and adults will take our lessons this Spring so call today!


or request more info online:

Sign up for lessons & receive a $25.00 registration for free.

$25.00 Expires 03/31/13

Cannot be combined with any other offer. Limit 1 per household. Must be surrendered at original time of registration.

3630 Rosewood Drive • Columbia, SC 29205



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Are You Preparing Your Own Taxes?

Don’t miss out on these tax deductions! by Tripp Newsome, CPA If you decide to prepare your own taxes this year or as you gather your information together for your tax preparer is sure to not miss out on the following deductions. • Student loan interest • ½ Health Insurance (for some Self Employed) • Health Insurance Premiums • Alimony • Medical transportation including tolls, parking, lodging, and mileage • Nursing home expenses • Medical aids such as crutches, canes, and orthopedic shoes • Hearing aids, eyeglasses, and contact lenses • Hospital fees for services such as nursing, physical therapy, lab tests, and x-rays • Equipment for disabled or handicapped individuals • Part of life-care fee paid to a retirement home designated for medical care • The costs of alcohol and/or drug, and smoking cessation treatments • Special school costs for mentally or physically handicapped individuals • Wages for nursing services • State income taxes from prior year and paid during the tax year • Payment of last quarter estimated state taxes paid before December 31 • Personal property on cars, boats, motorcycles, etc.

• Foreign taxes paid • Mandatory contributions to a state disability fund • State and local sales and excise taxes paid. • Points paid on mortgage or refinance • Property or cash donations to a charity • Mileage incurred in relation to charitable activities of 14 cent per mile • Unreimbursed casualty and theft losses • Education expenses paid to improve your job skills The following items should be received from employers, debtors, or contract workers, churches, charities, and daycare providers. They should also be utilized or given to your tax preparer in order to maximize your deductions, and avoid receiving letters from the IRS. W2s, 1099s, Cancellation of Debt Notices, Retirement rollover notices, SS Notices, IRA contributions, Charitible contribution letters, Home Sales, Vehicle Sales, Vehicle Registration, Daycare Annual Receipts, Church Annual Receipts, etc. This article was written by Tripp Newsome, President of Newsome & Company, P.C., Certified Public Accountants. Visit to learn more.


(803) 356-8080


purpose filled life

9 Months and 34 Minutes of a


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“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14


decided in September 2009 that I would help tell the story of a special little boy, Benjamin Michael Poston II, after Becki Berry brought to my attention a wonderful organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It was important to me, as it always is, to tell his story with integrity and in a way that could help others who may experience what his parents did. Psalm 139:13-14 seems so appropriate to describe Benjamin because of many reasons. I wanted to share with you a few. The word knit in this verse is particularly interesting to me. A knitter has a purpose. He/She toils patiently, diligently, purposefully with the yarn to fashion it into something that someone she loves will wear, warm themselves, and a host of other reasons. She knows when she begins there is purpose to her craft. God’s use of the above words was no accident. Long before technology could show us our children’s faces with ultrasounds and sonograms, He gave us a picture of the miracle of life as it is fashioned together with purpose in that sacred place — our mother’s womb. We are created with purpose. Each of us has a valuable life, a work we were created to do — no matter how brief or long that life may be. His works are wonderful. Crystal Poston is an amazing mother. Her strength of heart and her courage to tell Benjamin’s story was an inspiration to me. Here are her words. Lori: Crystal, share with us what it was like finding out that you were pregnant with your second child. Crystal: We started trying for our 2nd child around the time of our daughter’s 1st birthday. We were so excited when we found out the news, but waited until Halloween to tell our parents. (Benjie – the chef, Me – the oven, and Bailey – the bun) I love being pregnant. It is an amazing feeling to know that God has trusted you with life.

We arrived at our first ultrasound appointment (at 5 months) February 3rd. That is when we found out that something was wrong. Our doctor (Dr. Jimmy Stands of SCOBGYN) explained to us that there were some complications that were noticed on the ultrasound, and that we would need to get a second opinion to be sure of the diagnosis. At this point, all we knew is that we were expecting a baby boy whose bones were not developing properly. There was a moment at the end of my appointment when Benjie and I walked into Dr. Stands’ office in shock to say the least. I remember him closing his office door as we sat down. He knelt in front of us, and asked if he could pray. At that moment, in my whirlwind of emotion, there was a calm. Benjie squeezed my hand as he prayed, as if to assure me that everything would be ok. Dr. Stands praying with us that day is proof that God places people in your life in perfect time. We drove to Greenwood Genetics Center to find out a final diagnosis two days later on February 5th. We were told that our sweet baby boy, (who

Dr. Stands praying with us that day is proof that God places people in your life in perfect time.

Lori Samples Duncan with Crystal Poston photos by Clark Berry Photography

Lori: Can you tell us when you knew something was different with this pregnancy? Crystal: From the beginning of my pregnancy, everything was normal. I had morning sickness, but nothing out of the ordinary. I felt like everything was perfect.

we had named Benjamin Michael Poston II) had a disorder called Thanatophoric Dysplasia. Thanatophoric Dysplasia is a type of fatal dwarfism that affects 1 in 60,000 pregnancies. While the baby is in utero, he is safe, happy, and healthy.


All About Heart But at birth, he is unable to breathe. With this disorder, because of the small size of his chest, there is no room for the lungs to expand. The reality that we would only be with our son for 4 more months was overwhelming. Knowing that he was healthy and happy inside of me, made me wish the pregnancy would take its time. I wanted to feel every kick, and every hiccup, and all of the back aches and heartburn. I dreaded my due date, because I knew it would also be the day I lost my child. Lori: When you received the diagnosis, what were some of the important decisions that had to be made? Crystal: The important decisions were how to make certain we preserved our memories of him as best we could. This diagnosis confirmed our greatest fear. Most babies with this condition are stillborn, but some live for minutes to hours after birth based on the severity of their case. The chance of survival for a baby like Benjamin was impossible. We struggled beyond comprehension for the following days. We had to address all of our friends and family. And we had to stay strong for each other and Bailey. We immediately reached out to our Pastor. (Alex Twedt of Transfiguration Lutheran Church). He is an amazing preach-

er, and throughout our entire journey, he stood with us. There were moments at the hospital when there were no words necessary. His presence was enough. We are very thankful for the role he played in Benjamin’s life and death. For Benjie and me, there were no hard decisions to make. I believe that you become a mother the minute you find out you are pregnant. Benjamin was my son, and I loved him unconditionally already. Lori: What do you feel played a major role in making those decisions? Crystal: We both believed that God intended for us to carry out this pregnancy, and He was in control. I felt amazingly blessed that Benjie felt the same way. We never once contemplated an alternative. I felt I was given the opportunity to carry and hold Benjamin for 9 months. To deny Benjie the opportunity to hold him also, would have been unfair. He loved him too! Dr. Stands was extremely supportive of our decision and helped along the way to ensure us that we were taking the appropriate steps. His knowledge as a doctor helped to guide us and give us a peace in our minds, but it was his strong devotion to the Lord that comforted our hearts.

I believe that I was a surrogate mother for the Lord. I enjoyed my pregnancy, and my time as his mommy, but he wasn’t mine to keep. He belonged in God’s hands. Lori: When was Benjamin Michael Poston, II born? Crystal: Benjamin was born (full term) June 10, 2009 at Baptist Hospital. Dr. Stands and the staff there had arranged for me to recover in a large room where I was joined by my family for a small service performed by Pastor Alex. My family was able to hold Benjamin before the service (after his death). I of course lay in my recovery bed with Benjie holding Benjamin beside me, surrounded by my family. It was beautiful. In the most devastating moment of my life, for a moment, just like on February 3rd in Dr. Stands’ office, there was peace. I know I am watched over, and I know that God trusted in my and Benjie’s faith, and our marriage. We were strong, and because of Benjamin, our faith AND our marriage are now even stronger. Lori: How long did he live? Crystal: Benjamin lived outside the womb for 34 amazing minutes. Benjie held Benjamin in his arms and we felt him, and we kissed him, and we talked to him. We cried, and we smiled, and a million emotions ran through us at once. But none more than love.

We visit his grave often, and take Bailey there with us. It is not a place to be sad. For us, it is a place to love, and share Benjamin with Bailey.


Celebrating, Motivating and Educating

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In those minutes, I witnessed my husband become a hero to my son. He passed at 10:02am, in Benjie’s arms. Warm, and safe, and loved. Lori: I have read that there is no greater pain than that of out living a child. Can you share with us some of the ways you are dealing with that loss? Crystal: We were joined in the OR with photographer Becki Berry who is a volunteer for the NILMDTS program. She managed in a moment of fear and happiness, to capture every second we experienced. Because of her, my family, and my daughter will know Benjamin. Through her pictures, and her amazing attention to our emotions, I have my baby. I can see him cry. I can see him breathe. I can remember his hands and his feet, and his soft skin and lips. I will forever be in debt to her, for what she has given my family. She used her heart in all of the pictures she took. She felt our love, and she felt our pain. And she understood the love that we had for each other, and for Benjamin and Bailey. Her heart and her kindness, has provided us with memories of who we were when we were with Benjamin. Looking at her pictures reminds me that he knew he was loved, even in his short 34 minutes. We visit his grave often, and take Bailey there with us. It is not a place to be sad. For us, it is a place to love, and share Benjamin with Bailey. We go there to remember that in his short life, he was so relevant; he touched us so much. Lori: Are there words of wisdom you may be able to impart to another grieving mother? Crystal: God makes no mistakes. He has a purpose, and a desire for even the smallest or shortest life. I cannot offer advice to grieving mothers, because I am still unsure of my own feelings. The pain and sorrow is indescribable. If it weren’t for my husband, my mother, and my God, I would be

broken. Because of them, I will heal. I am unsure whether or not I will ever feel whole again. But I am a mother, a wife, and a daughter. It is my job to be strong. Lori: Tell us anything you want us to share with our readers about your son’s life. Crystal: Benjamin was very loved. Benjie and I have amazing parents, who supported us whole-heartedly through the entire nine months. Benjamin’s birth has made me a better mother to Bailey, and made me a better servant to the Lord. He touched many lives in his short time here on earth, and continues to do so. The nine months I was pregnant with Benjamin, he heard us pray; he heard us laugh; he heard Bailey play; he heard his grandparents and his daddy. He heard life. He was able to feel us love the Lord, and feel us love each other. I am very proud and thankful for that. Dr. Stands, Becki Berry and Pastor Alex Twedt are three of the many people who I believe God blessed us with. They supported us and reminded us that God is great! Crystal said something so profound in our meeting, I felt it was important to share with you all. Grief is a personal journey and no one has the right to judge a mother’s grief. “I chose Bailey’s life instead of Benjamin’s death.” As we went to print with the original article in 2010, Crystal Poston was 21 weeks pregnant with her third child, a healthy baby girl! She and Benjie have decided to add to their family. What wonderful news. We wish them the best in this joyous time!

To learn more about NILMDTS, visit

Bailey with her new sister Kendall

{Matthew 5:4 — Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.}

I knew when I met Crystal she was an extraordinary woman. I also know from the moment she lost her son, she began helping other people who were grieving over their own loss. Since our story on her in Lexington Woman Magazine, we have received many emails and phone calls about her strength and courage. As you know, Crystal was pregnant when I interviewed her. On August 18th, 2010, she gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Her third child, Miss Kendall Linn Poston, was born at 7:54am and weighed 6lbs and 13 ounces. Kendall was 20.5 inches long, and as you can see by the beautiful pictures taken by Becki Berry, Miss Kendall arrived bright eyed and ready to awe the family that was so excited to welcome her. I had the privilege of being among the first to see Kendall after she was born. As I held her and stood in the room with Kendall’s mother, father, and family friends, it occurred to me how good God is and how strong Benji and Crystal are. This little miracle — and I believe all children are miracles — was a gift. A precious bundle of love wrapped in pink. Ten perfect fingers and toes, to remind the Poston’s that God is faithful and always present. I know God has big plans for Kendall, just as he has big plans for Bailey, her beautiful big sister, and as he still uses Benjamin today to

help other parents who go through what his parents have. Congratulations to this lovely family! Thank you for sharing your sorrow and your joy with us!

Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Miss Kendall Linn



ary Snelling has been a Gamecock fan for as long as she can remember. Her passion for the University of South Carolina began as a small child while attending athletic events with her parents and their friends. Mary would go on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1976 and a Masters in Health Education in 1979 from USC and to this day is a faithful Gamecock supporter. Mary, a life-long Aiken resident, and her husband Ron Albertelli are season ticket holders in football, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball. They would probably have tickets to other sports but the commute from their Aiken home in their RV gets long and they don’t travel simply or lightly. Every time they make the trip from Aiken to Columbia or wherever the Gamecocks play on the road, they have a traveling companion.



Celebrating, Motivating and Educating

Real Women

by Beth McCrary

photos by Heather Sargent Photography

All About Heart Their traveling companion is a 7 pound Old English, black breasted, red Gamecock. Sir Big Spur is a real live Gamecock that Mary and Ron have been bringing to Gamecock sporting events since Ray Tanner’s first year as head baseball coach in 1997. At a promotional dinner that Mary won with Coach Tanner she asked for permission to bring the live Gamecock to the baseball games. Coach Tanner’s response was, “If it is not between the white lines, it is okay with me.” Back in those days, seats were not assigned at Sarge Frye Field. Mary and Ron were able to commandeer seats by the first base dugout so that the players and fans could see the Gamecock perched on top of the dugout. Sir Big Spur quickly became a fan favorite as the real live Gamecock mascot. About 7 years ago, former athletic director Eric Hyman put together a committee to get fans more involved in football and one of the recommendations was to ask Mary and Ron to bring Sir Big Spur to football games. “The first year we rolled the Gamecock down George Rogers Boulevard in a dog carrier on a luggage carrier and carried a goal post to put him on in the stadium. We have gotten much more creative as time has evolved.” While transporting and managing SBS is relatively easy as compared to a steer, hog, or tiger, there have been challenges over the years such as time management. Before Mary retired, she would frequently work 10-12 hour days before heading to Columbia for mid-week baseball games. Most of the time Sir Big Spur travels in their RV. As they have added more “color” to the show, they now pull a trailer behind the RV with their convertible VW which pulls a trailer with SBS’s remote controlled car. It can also be challenging to find appropriate parking and out of state travel gets very expensive. Because they can’t just jump in the car and stay in a hotel with a live bird, trav-

‘He stuck one of his spurs in the tire and broke it off. That spur has never grown back, so he is a one spur Gamecock.’ eling takes lots of planning and coordination. Part of the planning includes Sir Big Spur’s special diet. It consists of a combination of cracked corn, laying mash, cat fish food and wild bird seeds. These foods give him the best combination of nutrients to keep him healthy and his feathers beautiful. While Mary does not keep track of exactly how many appearances Sir Big Spur has made over the years, she can tell you he has been to many, many baseball games. Baseball is her and Ron’s favorite sport and they think it is Sir Big Spur’s as well. “He crows more at baseball so that might be an indicator of his desires.” Sir Big Spur’s appearances also include every home football game for the past 7 years, most away games, SEC baseball tournaments, several trips to the College World Series in Omaha, every USC bowl game and parade, the SEC Championship game, fan fests, fan appreciation events, nursing home and school visits, USC soccer games, Christmas parades and both baseball National Championship parades down Main Street in Columbia. Mary adds, “If the University asks us or allows us, we are there.” Mary guesses that Sir Big Spur’s appearances include over 100 on national television including football games, bowl games, and CWS games. Recently, he was featured in ESPN, The Magazine and on

ESPN’s Game Day that was filmed on the historic Horseshoe in Columbia. One of Mary’s most memorable appearances with Sir Big Spur took place several years ago in Tennessee. “A woman asked us to carry the ashes of her dead husband onto the field. She had the ashes in a baggie in her purse and she spread them on the cart. I spent the night trying not to get them on me.” Mary also recounts the time before a Georgia game when SBS picked a fight with the chicken he saw in the hub cap of the RV. “It was a hot day and we had put him in the shade near the RV and gone inside. We heard this loud thumping, ran outside and SBS was really having a fight with the “other” chicken. He stuck one of his spurs in the tire and broke it off. We had to put a band-aide on his leg for the game that night. That spur has never grown back, so he is a one spur Gamecock.” Sir Big Spur can be petted and held by fans. Mary’s husband Ron spends about one half of every football game letting the students have their picture made while holding the Gamecock. Sudden movements spook him, so they are careful to hand him to people who want to hold him or pet him. Mary and Ron get a wide variety of responses to Sir Big Spur. “For the most part, children love SBS and want to pet him. Many adults also love him but are more measured in their responses. We get some really crazy questions and some demon-

strate a lack of knowledge about our university’s mascot. So we see one of our roles as education. For example, we are frequently asked if the Gamecock is a boy or a girl, does he lay eggs, what makes his feathers so shiny, what does he eat, etc. My all time favorite question came from a boy about 11 years old – Does the chicken fart?” Mary and Ron only use one Gamecock at a time. The current one is Sir Big Spur III. Mary received her first Gamecock as a birthday gift from her Dad. He got the unique gift from a co-worker and thought it would make a fitting one for Mary because of her great love for the Gamecocks. Sir Big Spur was originally named Cocky-DoodleLou after Coach Lou Holtz. Mary changed his name during the last year the original bird was on tour to reflect the name of the original mascot prior to Cocky. “We were trying to use a name with historical meaning that would continue no matter the name of the football coach.” Mary and Ron could write volumes about all of their experiences with Sir Big Spur. They love the University of South Carolina and view carrying SBS to Gamecock sporting events as a labor of love. Their goal is to show the uniqueness of the University to the nation.

Beth McCrary is a freelance writer who lives Lexington, SC and a 1985 graduate of the University of South Carolina.


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Health & Wellness


Working the Beat: Women’s Hearts


id you know that statistics show a woman is more than five times likely to die of a heart attack than breast cancer? Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in our community, taking the lives of our mothers, aunts, sisters and friends. Learning about our hearts should be a top priority. Dr. William D. Brearley, Jr., of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, answers questions about your heart. What are some heart attack symptoms in women? Heart attack symptoms in women can be atypical. Chest discomfort is most frequent, however other less recognized symptoms include back pain, fatigue, breathlessness and arm or joint pain. Women do not always present with the classic feeling of the “elephant on your chest,” which is more common in men. Misdiagnosing these symptoms as being caused by stress or a hectic schedule can be deadly.

Some people may think of a heart attack as something that only happens to men.

I’ve heard several women say, “I never thought I’d have a heart attack.” No one thinks it’s going to happen to them. Unfortunately, that’s not true. More than 200,000 women in our country

die each year from heart attacks. More than 8 million women have a history of heart attack or angina. And more women than men die of heart disease.

How should women be screened for heart disease?

Women should have an annual physical with a blood pressure check and lipid panel. Symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors should also be reviewed. Your blood pressure should be less than 140/90, with lower targets for certain conditions such as diagnosed coronary disease. The top number is systolic pressure – the amount of pressure that blood exerts on vessels while the heart is contracting. The bottom number is diastolic pressure – the amount of pressure while the heart is relaxed. A lipid panel is the measurement of different components of cholesterol in your blood.

One of LMC’s physicians says that women know their shoe size and dress size, but not always their cholesterol numbers. What is cholesterol and what numbers are ideal? Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your bloodstream. There are

two types: LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to plaque formation in arterial walls. This plaque can narrow your arteries or rupture, causing a heart attack. HDL is called “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to your liver, where it’s removed from your body. There are different target levels of LDL cholesterol, depending on risk factors and existing conditions such as diabetes or known coronary artery disease. In low risk patients, LDL should be less than 160 mg/dL. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL. Exercising and limiting saturated fats in your diet help to lower your cholesterol.

Heart disease is prevalent in Lexington County. What advice do you have for women?

About Dr. Brearley Dr. William Brearley is a Lexington native who graduated from Lexington High School. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Minor in Chemistry, magna cum laude, from Presbyterian College. He earned a Doctor of Medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Brearley completed an internship and residency in the Department of Internal Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center. He also completed Cardiovascular Disease and Interventional Cardiology Fellowships at the University of Florida Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology.

One out of every 3 deaths in our state is related to cardiovascular disease. Don’t ignore your symptoms – talk to your doctor even if you have breathlessness or fatigue. Exercise regularly, don’t smoke and eat nutritious foods. Be a positive example. Heart disease risk factors including diabetes and obesity rates in our community are climbing – in adults and children. We need to work on keeping our hearts healthy. William D. Brearley, Jr., MD, FACC


Health & Wellness

Q&A with Palmetto Imaging


almetto Imaging is dedicated to providing a remarkable patient experience. Because they know an imaging procedure can be stressful and expensive, the team at Palmetto Imaging makes every effort to view its business from the patient’s point-of-view, making every effort to ensure that services are performed as quickly and cost effectively as possible. We sat down with Palmetto Imaging to ask some common questions that potential patients may have about its facilities. W2W: Why is it less expensive to come to Palmetto Imaging vs. a Hospital? Palmetto Imaging: Palmetto Imaging is a freestanding outpatient imaging facility, so we are able to get better contracted rates with all insurance providers. Hospitals have large overheads and are not able to acquire these low rates which means higher cost to you, the patient.  Also, don’t get confused by an MRI or CT machine located in

a doctor’s practice. If the practice is owned by a hospital group, you are paying a hospital rate even if you are not physically at the hospital.  In addition, we bill globally. This means the radiologist’s interpretation of the scan and the study you had performed are on one bill.  When having a scan performed at a hospital-owned facility, you will receive two bills. One from the hospital and one from the radiology company who is reading your study. Across the board for all insurances we are significantly less than a hospital and offer a sizeable discount for patients without insurance. Your Money… Your Choice!   

W2W: Do I have a choice when choosing my Imaging Provider? PI: The answer is yes! All patients have a choice where to have their imaging studies performed. Many factors are taken into consideration when making this important decision such as convenience, cost, quality of service, and whether the facility is in network with a patient’s insurance. Many patients will go where their provider suggests. If your provider’s practice is hospital owned or has its own imaging equipment, that provider will most likely recommend the facility in which it is affiliated. Ultimately, this is just a recommendation. You always have the right

Do I have a choice when choosing my Imaging Provider? The answer is yes! All patients have a choice where to have their imaging studies performed. to choose the facility that best suits your needs. Become an informed healthcare consumer and research your options. Feel comfortable asking your provider questions about your options. The choice is yours! W2W: Are you able to accommodate same day/ next day appointments?


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PI: When a patient has been referred for a study they are usually in pain, scared, and ready to be seen right away. Who wants to worry for two weeks about the possibilities of a scan?  In the Midlands, we have three convenient locations, Downtown Columbia, West Columbia, and Irmo, so we are able to accommodate same day/ next day appointments.  In most locations we open early, stay late, and are open on the weekends to work with your schedule.  We also guarantee that the report will be faxed to your doctor’s office within 24 hours of your exam. W2W: Most of my family lives in the Upstate and can’t take advantage of the value that you offer because of the distance. Do you have any recommendations for an imaging group that could help them? PI: In addition to the local imaging centers mentioned above, we are part of a larger network of imaging facilities that represents 14 locations throughout South Carolina. Please feel free to visit our website to view locations in other parts of South Carolina, Our parent company also maintains facilities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia. You can find specific locations in those states at All of our centers operate with similar quality and value imaging services for their local communities.

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FAITH with the Fournels by Beth McCrary

photo by Robert Patrick Image Design


Real Women Midlands Woman c e l e b r a t e s t h e s u r v i vo r i n yo u

Celebrating, Motivating and Educating

Celebrating the

Survivor in You!


entered a quiet cul-de-sac in a Lexington subdivision to meet with the Fournel family just one day after Christmas. It would be the second time in 9 months that I would write an article about a local child being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. It was hard to fathom that this was possible just a year into my new venture doing freelance writing for Midlands Woman Magazine. I was nervous. Even though we have numerous mutual friends, I had never met Daniel and Stephanie Fournel. Not even a month had passed since their son Nathaniel’s surgeries and diagnosis with a brain tumor. Everything was still so very new and raw. As I entered their home, still decorated for Christmas, I immediately felt a connection with Stephanie and Daniel Fournel. It was a connection born of a shared faith and determination to trust God’s plan for our children’s lives. This is their story.

Dr. Lenwood Smith, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital for a consultation. Options were discussed and surgery to biopsy the tumor was scheduled for December 3rd.

Just after Thanksgiving of this past year, Daniel Fournel noticed abnormal movement of his son’s left eye. He suggested to his wife Stephanie that they schedule a thorough vision exam for Nathaniel. They never suspected anything such as a brain tumor. They would later learn that Nathaniel had been experiencing occasional episodes of double vision three weeks prior to the exam.

While most families were preparing for the upcoming holidays, the Fournels waited for biopsy results from the pathology department. The results confirmed a cancerous tumor. Nathaniel, age 13, was diagnosed with Localized Pineal Germinoma. The good news is that this type of cancer has a 90% cure rate and the Fournels feel confident that their son will have a full recovery. They have decided to remain local for Nathaniel’s treatment. “We believe Nathaniel has a great team providing him the care he needs at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. We believe that ‘The Great Physician’ is the leader of the team.”

The eye exam on November 27th revealed swelling of the optic nerve, therefore Nathaniel was referred to a neuro-ophthalmologist and an MRI was ordered. The MRI was scheduled for 6:30 am on November 29th. By 10:00 am, the Fournels were called to Dr. Bruce Cope’s office to hear the results of the MRI and it was news no parent ever wants to hear. The Fournels were able to see God at work immediately when Dr. Cope offered to pray with them and then in his own words, “bulldogged” to get Nathaniel in immediately with

Nathaniel’s course of treatment will consist of four 21 day cycles of chemotherapy. He is receiving two different chemo drugs, and both of these are infused through a port-acath he had placed during one of his surgeries while in the hospital. At the end of his chemo treatment he will have more MRI’s, a possible second look surgery and will go through a radiation treatment plan that is also part of the study protocols. Nathaniel is participating in a study for localized CNS (Central Nervous System) tumors and will also be participating in a sister

study to evaluate the neuro-psychological effects of his treatment. Nathaniel is currently on intermittent homebound from 8th grade at Pleasant Hill Middle School while undergoing treatment. When he is feeling up to it and his blood counts are not too low, he will be able to attend school. He is an active

‘Everyone we have met throughout our lives and moving here was all part of God’s plan to prepare us for Nathaniel’s diagnosis.’ member of First Baptist Church of Lexington and swims year round for Palmetto Aquatics along with his younger brother, Braden. While not originally from Lexington, the Fournels are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from the community. Several awareness and fundraising events are in the works for Nathaniel by a group of friends who formed a committee. “My husband and I have both said that you never want to be that family who needs all of the support that we have received, but we feel absolutely blessed to be in community of such strong faith and compassion. Everyone we have met throughout our lives and moving here was all part of God’s plan

to prepare us for Nathaniel’s diagnosis. The outpouring of prayers and love has been amazing. Every prayer that is prayed helps to provide our family a sense of peace! We could never say thank you to everyone, but we are extremely thankful!” The Fournels are taking things one day at a time and prioritizing, knowing that some things are just not that important. Both Stephanie and Daniel are continuing to juggle work outside the home and parenting both of their boys as Nathaniel battles against brain cancer. Stephanie is also in school fulltime pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice. “We want to share that through all of this, Nathaniel has been strong, courageous and extremely positive. He has not once complained of his situation and we, as parents have been amazed by his strength.” I think we can all learn a lot from the Fournel family and their faith. To follow Nathaniel’s journey and to find more information about fundraising events, visit www.

Beth McCrary is a freelance writer from Lexington, SC. She is passionate about sharing survivor stories. This article is brought to you by Dems Fine Jewelers. Visit www.demsjewelers. com or call (803) 407-5290. See their ad on the back cover of this issue.



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Business & Web Directory

Art & Entertainment Aiken Center for the Arts......................................................................... 8

Hickory Knob State Resort Park’s Valentine’s Weekend Package February 8-10, 2013 It’s a weekend of fun, romance, mystery and intrigue. Enjoy a 2-night stay in the natural settings of Hickory Knob State Resort Park. And be a part of the fun...if you dare.

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per couple (cabin)

Our Valentine’s Weekend Package includes: 2-night stay in a cozy lodge room or cabin • Breakfast each morning (Saturday and Sunday) Seafood buffet on Friday night • Murder Mystery Dinner Buffet on Saturday Night

Columbia Arts Academy.............................................................................11 Hickory Knob State Resort Park................................................................27 Assisted Living Lutheran Homes of South Carolina...................................................... 23 Children’s Therapy Carolina Behavior & Beyond................................................................... 5 Cleaning Services Clean Sweep Cleaning.............................................................................. 3

When making reservations, please specify: 1. Participate in the murder mystery by receiving an e-mailed character part and costume description and come dressed and ready to participate.

Furniture North Furniture Company....................................................................... 8

2. Just come and enjoy the event as a witness to the mystery that unfolds.

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McCormick, SC

Health Services Bee Healthy Medical Weight Loss......................................................... 23 Lexington Plastic Surgery........................................................................ 20 Palmetto Imaging..........................................................................................23 The Facial Aesthetic Center Medical Spa of Columbia............................7 Hotel Wingate by Wyndham............................................................................ 26 Jewelry Dems......................................................................................... Back Cover Landscaping Midlands Landscape............................................................................... 13 Photography Clark Berry Photography............................................... Inside Back Cover Robert Patrick Image Design........................................ Inside Front Cover Shopping Mast General Store.................................................................................. 11


A Personal Note


e have rolled into the New Year without much of a fuss at the Duncan home. Three of our children have already celebrated their birthday in the last four weeks. Trent and I celebrate our birthdays in February, and on the 17th of this year marks our 18th wedding anniversary! Now some of you reading this will be celebrating year thirty or fifty so it doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment to you, but for me, I feel accomplished. I met my husband 19 years ago while we were living in the same apartment complex. He was the only man to ever kiss me without permission. (Remember when a guy would ask, “May I kiss you goodnight?”) Trent didn’t ask. He just kissed me goodnight after our first date. I was pleasantly surprised as it turns out, and I agreed to see him again the next day. Within six months he had asked me to marry him, and on February 17th, I said “I do” in a courthouse in Winder, Georgia. It wasn’t the big fancy wedding that I dreamed of, but we had all we needed. It was just us, a retiring judge, a witness, and a whole lot of love coming together on that day, to make a vow before God that I never intend to break. The judge cried, and I cried. She said it was the last wedding ceremony she would ever perform. I thought it was sweet. We held hands as we left the courthouse and ran through the drizzling rain to our Camaro. ( I loved that car). We didn’t go on a honeymoon. We were young, naïve, so happy and pretty broke. We went straight to a little rental property that was owned by my older brother and began moving in. I remember the first time I ever cooked him fried chicken. It was so brown and pretty on the outside, and when he took a bite, it was cold and pink! I could have killed him that day from Salmonella poisoning! I cried, but he laughed and told me not to worry about it. We dumped the chicken in the trash, and he took me out to dinner. Needless to say, that was my first and last attempt at fried chicken. We have been through a lot in eighteen years. It hasn’t always been easy to love each other. A friend’s father, on his fiftieth wedding anniversary, said, “The secret to a long and happy marriage is never falling out of love with each other at the same time.” I think that was a wise statement. I believe marriage takes 110% from each party. Sometimes the joys of moving toward a destination is not in arriving but the journey itself. Trent was born on Valentine’s Day. After eighteen years, four children, a move to another state, losing my father, and losing his mother, I am happy to say he is the only man I have ever truly loved. He still makes me blush when he smiles at me, and says, “ I love you”. He never leaves home without kissing me goodbye. I love him with my whole heart and hope to spend at least eighteen more years with him. Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary to my Valentine, Trent Duncan, and Happy Heart Month to all of you and your loved ones! Your Friend,

Lori Samples Duncan

photo by Robert Patrick Image Design

arriage 2 Years of M with Trey) (and pregnant


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18 Years of Marriage 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.

Now this is love.


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