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$500,000 grant will transform colorectal care in Marion

December 12, 2023
A cake celebrating Marion Medical Center receiving a $500,000 grant from the Marion County Healthcare Foundation (MCHF).

MUSC leadership, local community leaders and Marion County citizens gathered Nov. 21 at MUSC Health Marion Medical Center in celebration of a $500,000 grant from the Marion County Healthcare Foundation (MCHF). The grant will fund state-of-the-art screening technology and a nurse navigator for the medical center. In recognition of the gift, the medical center’s atrium has been renamed in honor of the Marion County Healthcare Foundation.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in South Carolina. It also disproportionately affects the Black community, which makes up 56.6% of the population in Marion County. According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans are about 20 percent more likely to get colorectal cancer and about 40 percent more likely to die from it.

Pete Mazzaroni, Dr. Rami Zebian and Jay 

MUSC Health will work closely with Health Care Partners of South Carolina, a federally qualified health center, to educate the community on the importance of screenings and early detection.

“Early detection is key. Colorectal cancer is 100 percent preventable when it’s caught early,” said Shametra Myers, executive director of MUSC Health Marion Medical Center.

“Unfortunately, 37.5 percent of all cancers in Marion County are diagnosed in the late stage. That’s a huge problem that this grant will help us address.”  

A nurse navigator will be hired to work directly with patients to resolve issues that might prevent them from keeping an appointment to be screened or treated for colorectal cancer.

“Some patients may not be able to miss work for a doctor’s appointment,” said Dr. Rami Zebian, chief medical officer for MUSC Health Florence/Marion/Black River Medical Centers. “They may not have insurance or child care or transportation or speak English. These are just a few examples of barriers to care that our new nurse navigator can help patients navigate. We are grateful to the Marion County Healthcare Foundation for this investment, which will allow us to transform care for colorectal cancer patients in Marion County.”


The mission of the MCHF is to develop partnerships and fund innovative projects that improve the quality of life for residents of Marion County.

“We are thankful that the Medical University of South Carolina has chosen to focus its outreach and educational efforts in Marion to address this disparity,” said Pete Mazzaroni, MCHF’s executive director. “The foundation is proud to support MUSC by providing the funding to purchase state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to screen for colorectal cancer. This technology, paired with new navigation services and educational support, will benefit the citizens of Marion County for years to come.” 

This is the third MCHF grant the MUSC Foundation has received since 2020.

About the Marion County Healthcare Foundation

Located at 230 South Main Street in Mullins, South Carolina, the foundation was established in 2010 from the proceeds acquired when the Marion County Medical Center was sold to CHS/Community Health Systems, Inc.

The foundation uses its resources to improve the quality of life in Marion County via grants and scholarships to deserving individuals and organizations.

About the MUSC Foundation

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Foundation was chartered in 1966 as a charitable educational foundation to support the education, research, patient care and other programs at the Medical University. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, contributions to which are tax-deductible.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system, with a unique mission to preserve and optimize human life in South Carolina through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates more than 3,200 students in six colleges – Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy – and trains more than 900 residents and fellows in its health system. MUSC brought in more than $300 million in research funds in fiscal year 2023, leading the state overall in research funding. MUSC also leads the state in federal and National Institutes of Health funding For information on academic programs, visit

As the health care system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care while educating and training generations of outstanding health care providers and leaders to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 16 hospitals (includes owned or governing interest), with approximately 2,700 beds and four additional hospital locations in development, more than 350 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in all regions of South Carolina. In 2023, for the ninth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health University Medical Center in Charleston the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit

MUSC has a total enterprise annual operating budget ;of $5.9 billion. The nearly 26,000 MUSC family members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists, students, affiliates and care team members who deliver groundbreaking education, research, and patient care.