Youngster Donates Gift
Cards Through Project

   A youngster with a rare disease has donated lunch gift cards to the Saluda County Sheriff’s office and Saluda Fire Department from a project to raise awareness of the disease he has. Cooper Pickens, who lives near Charlotte, N.C., is the son of former Saludans Brad and Christi Shealy Pickens, and grandson of Thomas and Sheila Shealy of Saluda, and Rev. Jerry and Becky Pickens of Cross Hill, formerly of Saluda.
  Formerly is a release issued by the family, explaining the disease and the project:
  “After having odd symptoms for a year and a half, in 2015 Cooper Pickens was diagnosed with Scleroderma. Raynaud’s Disease, and Dermatomyositis; which are autoimmune diseases Together they are known as Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. To make a long story short; his immune system kicked in and has not turned off. Scleroderma is a disease where your immune system attacks your skin and internal organs thinking they are foreign objects. Juvenile Dermatomyositis is a disease that attacks your muscles also thinking that they are foreign objects. Raynaud‘s restricts the blood flow to your extremities and usually an effect from Scleroderma and Dermatomyositis. Cooper is on many medications and takes a weekly injections to help reduce the production of cells. He also has to have steroid and IVIG infusions. There is no cure, but it can go into remission: and that is our prayer. These diseases are rare. The chances of a 9 year old boy developing these diseases are .001%. We want to bring awareness to the diseases, because there is not enough known and we want to help fund research so doctors can help those who are affected by them. To raise awareness, and with the help of Cooper’s Aunt Katie Rowe, we started to sell Cooper the Courageous bracelets.  Half of the money raised will go the Scleroderma Foundation and the Myositis Association. The other half at Cooper’s request, goes to buying lunch gift cards for law enforcement, firefighters and EMS workers. Cooper just wanted to give back to those who protect us, and keep us safe every day. We all want to say a big THANKYOU for all that you do! Many generous donations were made to help make this happen. Please follow Coopers Drive on Feacebook.  Also visit and for more information or donate straight to the cause.”

WANDA SHULL RECOGNIZED - The Saluda County Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate a member of our team, Wanda Shull, for being the two time recipient of the Piedmont Technical College county winner. This honor is achieved by maintaining the highest Grade Point Average from all Saluda County students graduating. Wanda first received this award in December 2014 when she graduated with an Associates in Applied Science in Office Technology, Accounting concentration and just recently again in December 2016 when she graduated with an Associate of Arts degree. We wish Wanda continued success as she works toward her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism.