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HGTC Raises Record Amount for MG Strong Memorial Scholarship Fund During Blue Jeans Week Fundraiser

(Conway, SC) 05/17/2024

Professor Greg Thompson and Daughter

Photo 1:(left to right) HGTC Professor Greg Thompson and his daughter, McKinley Grace Thompson, who passed away in 2023 from an extremely rare form of renal cell carcinoma

Blue Jeans Week Check Presentation 2024

Photo 2:(left to right) Meredith Donahue, Conway Christian School - Director of Guidance and Development; Connie Smith, Conway Christian School - Head of School; Kari Royals, HGTC Administrative Assistant

Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) is proud to announce the outstanding success of its recent Blue Jeans Week Fundraiser. Thanks to the generosity of HGTC employees, the Academic and Workforce Development Division raised an impressive $1,800.00 for the McKinley Grace (MG) Strong Memorial Scholarship Fund. *

The MG Strong Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in honor of McKinley Grace Thompson, a beloved member of the HGTC community, who lost her life to an extremely rare form of renal cell carcinoma in February 2023. Her diagnosis is only seen in five percent (5%) of patients.  She also developed secondary ovarian cancer.  McKinley Grace’s legacy lives on through this scholarship, which supports local students at Conway Christian School pursuing careers in healthcare.

HGTC Executive Vice President of Academic and Workforce Development, Dr. Jennifer Wilbanks, expressed her gratitude, “Our Blue Jeans Week Fundraiser exemplifies the spirit of community and compassion at HGTC. The funds raised will directly impact local students, and we are thrilled to support the MG Strong Memorial Scholarship Fund.”

HGTC Professor Greg Thompson, McKinley Grace’s father, shared his heartfelt appreciation, “I am profoundly humbled by and grateful for the generous participation of employees in the recent HGTC Blue Jeans Fundraiser. The support from the HGTC family not only honors McKinley Grace’s memory but also empowers local students in their pursuit of higher education. Thank you for making a meaningful difference.”

Kidney cancer awareness was also a key focus during the fundraiser. Kidney cancer ranks among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women. Symptoms include blood in the urine, an abdominal mass, and back or flank pain. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the predominant type of kidney cancer, accounting for approximately nine (9) out of 10 cases.

The inaugural MG Strong Scholarship presentation is scheduled this month and will provide a $2,500 scholarship to a deserving senior at Conway Christian School.  Top applicants for the 2024 scholarship are all in the PACE program at HGTC. 

For more information about the MG Strong Scholarship, please contact Meredith Donahue, Director of Guidance and Development at Conway Christian School, at 843-365-2005. 

For more information about applying, enrolling, and registering at HGTC, call 843-347-3186 or visit www.hgtc.edu.

*About McKinley Grace Thompson – MG Strong Scholarship Fund

McKinley Grace Thompson was the youngest daughter of HGTC Professor Greg Thompson. The 2020 valedictorian graduate of Conway Christian School, McKinley Grace (known as MG by many friends and family) was a PACE student and enrolled at HGTC immediately after high school graduation to pursue a career in Nursing. Just weeks after the 2020 Fall semester began, MG was diagnosed with Stage IV Succinate Dehydrogenase Complex Iron Sulfur Subunit B (SDHB) Renal Cell Carcinoma, a rare genetic mutation only occurring in five percent (5%) of cases.  In addition, she developed a secondary ovarian cancer making her diagnosis unique in recorded medicine.  She passed away February 17, 2023. To honor her love of and passion for learning and other people, and to encourage local students to pursue careers in healthcare, the family established the MG Strong Memorial Scholarship, which supports local students at Conway Christian School in their pursuit of healthcare careers. Award priority is given to students who attend HGTC.