Jacob Lee looks to bolster free clinic

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Apr. 29—Jacob Lee, a senior at Aiken High School, is considering pursuit of a degree in biology at Wofford College, and he's had a solid introduction to the medical field already, as a major advocate of the Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County.

His 18th birthday was Feb. 25, and he marked the occasion by setting up a fundraiser titled "Hearts for CMC," encouraging people to buy a CMC T-shirt (produced by Carolina Screenprint) or sponsor a Valentine-style paper heart (to be placed on display at the clinic). The end result was almost $8,700 in donations, and the clinic's website indicates a substantially larger boost, with each donated dollar being stretched to provide about $7 in medical services rendered.

Another effort, conducted on a Sunday afternoon, was a social at Flanigan's Ice Cream, where Lee works part-time.

The website for the clinic indicates that 2022's business included 5,084 patient encounters, 13,839 medications dispensed and 341 patients served, all in an outreach to "low-income residents between the ages of 19 and 64 in Aiken County who do not have health insurance."

"They are a nonprofit, relying completely on donations and monthly giving," he said, noting that his support has been in such roles as painting, pulling weeds, sorting medicines and helping with organization.

His fundraiser started in February and lasted until early March, and the facility is "still very much in need of help and donations," he said, adding that the current CMC campaign, "Mighty Together," is to encourage people to become monthly donors.

Lee noted that the clinic connection to his family is close, as his mother, Jamie Mothkovich, worked there "for almost 10 years and ran it for about six." Among the clinic's current leaders are Orion Jeter, executive director; Melanie Phillips, operations manager and marketing director; Elizabeth Seal, nurse practitioner; and Katherine Hicks, pharmacist.

The website notes, "The clinic was originally formed in 1998 by Area Churches Together Serving (ACTS) and was named the ACTS of Caring Clinic. After the clinic began operating under the direction of its own board of directors, the clinic changed its name to the Free Medical Clinic and practiced out of the nursing building at the University of South Carolina-Aiken." The location and name were changed to the current arrangement in 2007.