Community

Animal sanctuary a passion for Grand Strand couple

Husband and wife team Skip Yeager and Cindy Hedrick committed themselves to saving and taking care of unwanted, abused or neglected animals several years ago.

At SC-CARES (South Carolina Coastal Animal Rescue and Educational Sanctuary), they provide a permanent home to many different kinds of creatures and share their heartbreaking stories to visitors who tour the sanctuary.

There are over 150 animals living there, including wolves, horses, cows, pigs, goats, tortoises, exotic birds and other living things that desperately needed a safe place.

Sassy, a horse found starving and standing over the body of her starved-to-death paddock mate, is just one of those animals. She has lived there for over three years.

Information on the sanctuary’s website says, “We share our stories with visitors to the sanctuary to illustrate the responsibilities of keeping similar animals as pets. Some of the stories are more disturbing than others. We can only hope that with love and attention even the most troubled will live out their years comfortable and happy at the sanctuary.”

Tours are only by appointment, and are $15 for adults and $10 for children. Except for fundraisers, tours are the biggest source of income at SC–CARES, which depends on donations, sponsors and volunteers.

SC-CARES, a nonprofit where no animals are killed, bred or adopted out, is always in need of assistance, and it has had support from the community. But in 2015, those needs grew enormously after Yeager was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He has been through a lot in the past few months, but he never stopped worrying about the animals. On October 27, he underwent a stem cell transplant. He is home now, and he and Hedrick are planning SC-CARES’ main fundraiser.

Chocolate and Champagne for the Creatures will be held on February 6 at The Cooper House, 6011 Dick Pond Road, Socastee. There will be live music, a silent auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres and more. The chocolate will come from Sweeties Sweets, a business on Front Street in Georgetown that is owned by Yeager and Hedrick. Admission is $35 per person or $60 per couple. Skip said they are running a little behind, but tickets will soon be available and links to purchase them will be on the SC-CARES website. They can be purchased at the door or at Sweeties Sweets, which also has a website.

With the help of great employees at Sweeties Sweets who have been faithful through Yeager’s sickness and Hedrick trying to take good care of him, as well as some dedicated volunteers and caring individuals, businesses and organizations that donate, SC-CARES has managed to survive through Yeager’s battle with cancer. But more help is needed.

It has been Yeager and Hedrick’s dream to build a “world-class nature and environmental education center” and to rescue more animals. Because of the lack of funds, they have had to turn down over 700 animals that needed homes, Yeager said.

There are several ways to donate to SC-CARES or/and Yeager’s Cancer Fund.

For more information, for tickets to the Chocolate & Champagne event, to donate or volunteer, call 546-7893, visit SC-CARES on Facebook or at www.sc-cares.org.

Donations can be mailed to SC Cares, 236 Abbeville Drive, Georgetown, S.C. 29440.

Peggy Mishoe, pegmish@sccoast.net, 365-3885.

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