By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) became the presenting “named” sponsor of the third-annual South Carolina 7 (SC7) expedition with the University’s sponsoring donation of $25,000. The announcement made jointly in Charleston and Columbia, Jan. 10.

Led by Dr. Tom Mullikin, acclaimed global expedition leader and chair of the S.C. Floodwater Commission, the SC7 expedition is a month-long several-hundred-mile trek across the length-and-breadth of the Palmetto State from the mountains to the sea. So-named for the seven geographic wonders unique to South Carolina, SC7 closely parallels the famed Palmetto Trail, stretching from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Upstate, winding through the Midlands (to include Fort Jackson, the Congaree National Park, Columbia, West Columbia and Cayce), and finally to the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Basin (aka ACE Basin) in the Lowcountry.

“This is an expedition like no other,” says Mullikin. “And the tremendous partnering support we are receiving from a premier medical provider and internationally recognized research university like MUSC speaks to the awareness and broad public appeal our 2020 and 2021 expeditions have generated both statewide and nationally.”

Mullikin adds, “SC7 is honored to join hands with MUSC as we continue to showcase our state’s unique geographic wonders, and how we protect these magnificent environs while simultaneously advancing critical health and wellness initiatives across South Carolina.”

A joint venture between Mullikin’s non-profit Global Eco Adventures and the S.C. National Heritage Corridor, SC7 participants will hike, kayak, whitewater raft, and SCUBA dive the pre-planned route which begins July 1 as has for the previous two years.

Michelle McCollum, pres. of the S.C. National Heritage Corridor, said, “We could not be more thrilled with this partnership between SC7 and MUSC. The Medical University’s passion for expanding health and wellness opportunities across the state elevates our expedition to a greater level and significantly expands our message to new audiences.”

According to McCollum, the partnership between SC7 and MUSC will enable expedition officials to include two additional SC7 features in 2022 – The Appalachians to the Atlantic Virtual Fitness Challenge and the Adventure Out Weekend – both of which will be held the final weekend of the July expedition.

“We recognize the connection between human health, wellbeing and the natural environment,” said Dr. Susan Johnson, MUSC’s director of Health Promotion. “In that, we welcome the opportunity to join forces with SC7 to promote green health and the importance of protecting the precious natural resources of our state.”

– For additional information about SC7 including a link to the documentary film, HIGHER GROUND, please visit southcarolina7.com/.

Pictured (L-R) McCollum; Kaitlin DaPore, MUSC’s director of Health Coaching and Wellness Programming; Dr. Johnson; Dr. David Zaas, CEO of MUSC Health Charleston and chief clinical officer for MUSC Health; and Abbey Stevens, SC7.