Two years ago Veronica Muhammad went to the doctor because she was inexplicably losing weight and blood. At first they thought she was anemic, until a colonoscopy revealed that the then-50-year-old violations clerk had stage 3B colon cancer.
Her sister, Ophia Johnson, has been her caretaker since the diagnosis.
With a mound of medical bills, Johnson said she and her sister started falling behind on household bills. Their electric bill, for example, had gotten up to $156, which they could not afford to pay. Then Johnson said she heard about the Woodyard Fund.
“I said there is a God,” she said. “It was a blessing. And they said in the future if I ever needed anything they had different programs that she could call back for.”
The Woodyard Fund helps residents in crisis in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry counties pay for utilities. The fund dates to 1816, when the Ladies Benevolent Society provided firewood and coal to families in need. In 1930, The State newspaper’s editor, William E. Gonzales, began publicizing the fund. It became a tradition the newspaper continues every winter.
The fund usually runs from late November through mid-March, when temperatures generally are the coldest.
Muhammad’s cancer is currently in remission, but as a result of her ongoing treatments, she’s lost some feeling in her hands and feet, prohibiting her from returning to work.
It’s another reason they’re thankful for the Woodyard Fund’s assistance.
“They’re a lifesaver. They really are,” said Johnson , Muhammad’s sister. “When you have nowhere else to go, no one else to turn to ... it was very, very difficult. When you have a family member that has (cancer), it takes the whole family. It takes a lot.”
How to give help: Donations can be mailed to the Woodyard Fund, c/o The Salvation Army of the Midlands, P.O. Box 2786, Columbia, SC 29202. Make checks payable to the Woodyard Fund. All donations are tax-deductible.
How to get help: Area residents who need assistance with heating bills can call (803) 462-5093 for more information or to make an appointment for assistance.
Donations to date
Week of Dec. 12
Anonymous, $500; Charles Gardner and Charles C. Gardner, Jr. $50; S. Mattern, $100, in memory of Wayne Mattern & David Mattern; Mrs. Dorothy Jeane E. Crowe Ttee Dje Crowe Rev Trst, $100; Mrs. Frances Shealy, $100, in memory of Mr. Bruce Shealy; Dr. Joseph S. Mack and Mrs. J.S. Mack, $50; Mackenzie Higbe, Anna & Nyal Johnson, Brandi & Clayton Paskowich, $100; Spring Valley Fourth Monday Afternoon Bridge Club, $33; Joseph Horvath and Ramie Cox, $1,000; Laura T. Johnson, $100; Anonymous, $100; John and Carol Goad, $100; James R. and Helen W. Bass, $200; John Voris, $500; Curtis Leake, $50; Betty Mathias, $100, in memory of Buddy Mathias; Donald J. and Laura E. Dipette, $50; Salem UMC Love Circle, $100; Violet B. Tsiantis and Anna Maria Hobbs, $200, in memory of Angelo Tsiantis; Kaye S. Clay, $50; Peter H. and Sarah K. Stewart, $100; JuJu & Pop, $75, in honor of grandchildren Louisa, Hensley, Tripp, Kip, Jacob, and Ford; R. Michael Crary, $100; Pat H. Pantsari, $100; Tommie Wingate, $200, in honor of Faye, Stella, Beaumont, Nancy, Fair, Patty; William L. and Dorothy M. Burley, $50, in memory of Mary Sturkie and Danny Burley; Sadie & Bill Loging, $100, in honor of our sons Dr. Troy Loging and Dr. James Loging; J. Stanley Frick and Elaine E. Frick, $50; Dolores A. Imhoff, $100; Stephen E. and Martha T. Summer, $50; Andrew J. Whitaker, $50; Grace P. Lovette, $100, in memory of Chief Doug Lovette; Betty Patterson, $25; Kathleen A. Hoppe and Tom F. Utroska Foundation, $500; Alfred and Linda McGarry, $200; Lenair and Ann H. Amick, $100; Leigh and Jenny Leventis, $200, in honor of Toula P. Leventis; William and Amanda Westerkam, $500; Darrel and Marie Tinch, $100; D. Murray Price, $100; Edward Rutledge, $100; Theresa Johnson, $50, in honor of Marie, Helen, Candy, and Patty; Jerry D. Burton, $75; Gerald F. and Patricia T. Smith, $250; Sidney F. Thomas Jr and Suzanne B. Thomas, $100; Craig W. Davis, $200, in memory of Carl E., Ruth E., and Nathan C. Davis; Gatekeepers Sunday School Class at Kilbourne Park Baptist Church, $100; Ann G. Duncan, $100; Drs. C.E. and Sue Hardin, $100, in memory of Debbie H. Davis; Charles B. and Paula M. McFadden, $200; Mr. W.G. Brackin Sr, $50; Helen Childers, $100; David H. Rembert, Jr. and Margaret R. Rembert, $100; Betty Y. Thompson, $100, in memory of Roger C. Thompson; Harold and Evelyn Epting, $100; Judith C. and Louie C. Hinson, $75; Joyce A. Hallenbeck, $500; The Happy Coed Sunday School Class of Columbia First Baptist Church, $100; The Old Guard at Oak Hills, $1,675; Anonymous, $175
Weekly total: $10,633
Total to date: $29,831.87