Politics & Government

Jenny Sanford to skip cancer walk

First lady, who has championed health issues, has attended event in the past

First lady Jenny Sanford will not attend Saturday's First Ladies Walk for Life, an annual event she attended last year and has attended sporadically in the past.

The popular event, which attracts thousands of participants, is named for Columbia first lady Beth Coble, Mayor Bob Coble's wife. Beth Coble helped organize the first walk, and the first lady of South Carolina has been an invited guest.

Jenny Sanford moved out of the Governor's Mansion in August, about six weeks after her husband, Gov. Mark Sanford, admitted to a yearlong affair with an Argentine woman.

Jenny Sanford said then that she would continue her duties as first lady while caring for the couple's four boys at the family's beach home on Sullivan's Island.

So far, she has kept a low profile. It's unclear whether she is continuing her community work or focusing exclusively on her family. According to media reports, she also is writing a memoir that is due out in May.

Jenny Sanford's spokeswoman, Meg Milne, declined to provide details about the first lady's schedule.

In 2005, Jenny Sanford launched the Healthy S.C. Challenge, an initiative to encourage South Carolinians to quit smoking, exercise more and improve their eating habits. She also is on the Hollings Cancer Center Advisory Committee at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to her Web site.

Unlike other first ladies, Jenny Sanford worked closely with her husband, helping to run his campaigns and to make some policy decisions. She also briefly was the governor's chief of staff.

In 2003, she helped oversee the renovation of the Lace House on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion. It since has been reopened for weddings and other events.

- Gina Smith