Bertram Rantin

Camp Kemo fundraiser going strong

A campaign to raise money for Camp Kemo reached a significant milestone this week.

Richland Northeast High School principal Ralph Schmidt told us Monday the "Cash for the (mus)Stache" drive had reached $5,000 of a $15,000 goal.

"People have been very generous," Schmidt said. "The donations are starting to roll in, and I'm starting to get a little nervous."

For those who may not know, it's Schmidt's mustache that's potentially on the chopping block. The principal has pledged to cut off his mustache - for the first time since 1975 - if the community raises $15,000 for Camp Kemo, a South Carolina summer camp for pediatric cancer patients and their siblings.

Schmidt had denied past requests (including those of his wife and two children) to trim the mustache, but he agreed to the challenge when RNE senior Caleb Brown (whose mother lost a three-year battle with cancer this past summer) approached him about the fundraiser.

Schmidt lost his sister to cancer nearly three years ago, and his wife Jeanne Schmidt, has served as Camp Kemo's director for the past 10 years.

The hope is that Schmidt will shave his mustache during a schoolwide assembly before the end of the school year. It appears to be an increasingly growing likelihood.

Early donations to the drive have come from various in-school activities and community contributions - including a $1,000 gift from one of Schmidt's former middle school teachers and another $1,000 contribution in honor of Caleb's mother.

Those to want to contribute to the "Cash for the (mus)Stache" campaign for Camp Kemo can mail a check, payable to Camp Kemo, to Richland Northeast High School, c/o Janet Bush, 7500 Brookfield Road, Columbia, SC 29223. Donations are tax-deductible.

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Lexington Medical Center recently welcomed Dr. Aubrey A. Bryant as its new chief of staff.

Bryant, who practices in the Lexington Medical Center Emergency Department, will serve a two-year term. He has practiced medicine in the Columbia area since completing his residency at Palmetto Health Richland in 1996.

"As the first emergency physician to serve as chief of staff, I look forward to working with the administration, our board of directors and our medical staff," Bryant said.

Bryant received his undergraduate degree from Jacksonville University and his medical degree from USC. He is a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians and section of Observation Medicine, the S.C. chapter of American College of Emergency Physicians and the S.C. Medical Association.

Bryant also has served as Lexington Medical Center's associate medical director for the emergency department, medical director of the clinical decision unit and as the emergency department representative for the medical executive committee.

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