Hartsville Community Exceeds Goal for Endowment that Honors Memory of Local Youth

A representative from MUSC will travel from Charleston to Hartsville on February 20 to receive a contribution from the Dylan Adams endowment - so members of the community can take part in the presentation.

We’ve partnered with the Maguire Law Firm to bring you Carolina Kindness stories each Wednesday.  Share your act of kindness with us:  carolinakindness@wfxb.com  or agrant@wfxb.com.

We begin with a story in Hartsville SC, where a family has turned pain into hope and help for others.  Dylan Adams was just 11-year-old when he was diagnosed with Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumor (DSRCT), a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer.  He fought a two-year, one month battle.  Family, friends and community members, as you can imagine, were heartbroken on his passing.  Parents Mike and Jennifer decided to do something to honor their son’s life.  The Dylan Adams endowment was born, raising money for research and to help other families.

“I feel like God placed on both of our hearts to start an endowment in Dylan’s name to help families with children fighting pediatric cancer and to help fund research at MUSC Children’s Hospital. We were blessed in that we had an entire community behind us, helping us, fundraising for us, supporting us. That’s not always the case. I have watched families struggle because they couldn’t afford the cafeteria for meals, when they’ve been in the hospital for weeks on end. I’ve seen young children have to have a volunteer in the room with them while they’re receiving chemo because their single parent had to work. I’ve seen and hurt for families, wishing I could help them. Now, through this endowment, we will be able to help.” – Jennifer Adams

The community continues to support fundraisers for the Dylan Adams endowment, exceeding the goal for 2022.  MUSC is coming to Hartsville on February 20 to receive a contribution from the Dylan Adams endowment,  so the community that supports it can participate.  For more information on the Dylan Adams endowment, click here.

Robeson Community College endowment honors instructor at RCC

“To know him, was to love him,” said Kim Spivey, Christopher Walker’s mom, during a private ceremony to honor her son on Monday at Robeson Community College. “If you did know him, I’m sure that he left a positive imprint.”

Christopher Walker was an English instructor at RCC. He died suddenly last year at the age of 35, leaving his students, family, friends, and co-workers heartbroken. He worked at Robeson Community College for almost two years, but even in a short period of time, his impact was profound.

“He was always leaving people with words of encouragement, no matter who they were or what their walk-in life was,” his mother said. “He always saw the glass as half full no matter what.”

To honor Christopher, Spivey established an endowment in his name through the RCC Foundation, giving $10,750 to support students seeking a better life through education.

“This is an opportunity for Christopher’s love for education and desire to make a difference in the lives of young people to continue on,” Spivey said. “He saw things through a different lens and was never satisfied with the status quo. He always searched for a deeper meaning and it was always his desire and goal in life to make a difference.”

The endowment established will be used towards supporting scholarships for those in financial need who are first-generation college students and who are working a job to support themselves and pay for their education.

“This endowment is a testament to Chris, and I can’t think of a better way to honor his memory and legacy,” said Lisa Hunt, the assistant vice president of grants and foundation. “He had such an impact on faculty, staff, and students, and we are so thankful to be able to be a part of continuing his legacy and carrying on his memory.”

“Chris was a great supporter of the RCC Foundation,” Hunt said. “The Friday before he died, he came into our office to pay his money for Blue Jean Fridays – a fundraiser for faculty and staff to raise money for student scholarships and in return, get to wear jeans on Fridays.”

Hunt says Walker was also involved in the Minority Male Initiative and that he believed in empowering his students.

“He had an inclusive mindset,” Hunt said. “He was very broad in his thinking… he would often say things on the spot, and he said it from the heart.”

Sheryl Gore a family friend, says the endowment is something Chris would have wanted his family to do.

“This endowment means everything,” said Gore. “It carries on his legacy. It was important for Chris to be a mentor to students. He gave them the tools to think so they could make decisions.”

“My kids and Kim’s kids all grew up together, we did trick or treat together, vacations. We were a tight-knit group,” Gore stated.

Another connection to Walker was with RCC President Singler.

“Chris and I shared a common thread in our histories. We both worked at Acme Delco Middle School, not at the same time, but we still enjoyed comparing notes. We actually taught the same subjects in the same classroom,” Singler said. “The irony is I taught the parents of the students he taught.”

In 2018, Chris was nominated by one of his students for WWAY’s Teacher of The Week, of which Singler said, “I feel this exemplifies his passion and love for the art of teaching and his students.”

“Chris had a tremendous impact upon his students and RCC,” Singler said. “Today, his family, friends, and co-workers gathered together to celebrate his life and his legacy through this endowment, which will go on to help countless students.”

“He was a great educator, mentor, and friend,” Singler said. “And that’s how I will always remember him.”

One of Walker’s star pupils was Ky’Aisa Roberts who graduated this past year in May 2022 and is now attending East Carolina University on a $10,000 scholarship.

“Mr. Walker told me that I should take a chance on myself and he pushed me and convinced me to apply,” said Ky’Aisa. “We worked through that application together and all the essays that were involved in that for like a month.”

Not only did Mr. Walker help her through the application to ECU, but Ky’Aisa says that he become like a mentor to her, helping with scholarship essays and other various projects she had in school.

“He was very, very, very helpful,” said Ky’Aisa. “I got accepted…I was one of 200 students that got accepted into the honor’s program at East Carolina. I was excited. The Honors College is very prestigious, very selective, and I’m honored to be a part of it already.

Chris Walker was so proud of Ky’Aisa when he learned she had been accepted into the Honors program. He himself was a graduate of East Carolina, and he was excited that she would be attending his alma mater and wanted her story to be told.

“I have a great student success story that I want to tell you about,” said Walker during a phone call to the public information office at RCC. “Ky’Aisa Roberts from the Early College has been accepted into the Honors College at ECU, it’s a great opportunity for her…. I believe she is going to do great things.”

“That really sums him up,” said Ky’Aisa. “He always believed in me.”

“One of the last things Mr. Walker told me was, ‘I’m 100% sure you can create positive change wherever you go.’”

His mother says that’s how she would like for her son to be remembered, as a kind, loving, generous person who believed in others, inspired them, and encouraged them to go above and beyond.

“I do think he is somewhere smiling today, and that he’s overjoyed and excited that his family and friends have been supportive of establishing this scholarship in his honor,” his mother said. “A multitude of students will benefit from the legacy he started.”

In addition to the endowment, a memorial stone was placed in the rose garden by the front entrance of the campus, which reads, ‘In Memory Christopher Walker ‘In the sun I feel as one,’ RCC English and Humanities.