‘Miracle’ volunteer raises $500k for breast cancer detection

Terri Jenks with family and friends
Terri Jenks holds two titles when it comes to her volunteerism in the Augusta, Georgia community. Twenty years as a champion volunteer for the Piedmont Augusta Foundation Miracle Mile Walk, and one year as a survivor of the disease for which the walk raises funds and awareness.

Miracle Mile Walk

Held in October 2023, the annual Miracle Mile Walk supports women battling breast cancer and early detection efforts in the region. Fresh off of the biggest year of fundraising and volunteer support, Jenks, manager at SouthState’s North Augusta branch, says the cause is more personal than ever before.

Jenks always saw breast cancer awareness as a worthy mission to support, believing it touches nearly every person through their own diagnosis or their mother, sister, spouse or friend. Since April 2023, she is among those affected by breast cancer.

“Now my husband’s wife is a survivor, my children’s mother is a survivor, my brothers’ sister is a survivor and my mother’s daughter is a survivor,” Jenks says. “Because I am now a survivor.”

Women's Wellness on Wheels

Donations raised at the Miracle Mile will keep the Piedmont Augusta's Women's Wellness on Wheels on the road, providing screenings for under-insured or uninsured women. Jenks knows firsthand the lifesaving value of mammograms, as this annual checkup allowed doctors to find her cancer early.

Following a diagnosis of Stage 1 breast cancer in April 2023, Jenks underwent surgery to remove three small masses and a follow-up procedure to remove an additional lymph node. She completed 33 radiation treatments to further eradicate the cancer and began a prescription regimen to help prevent its reoccurrence.
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“I am so blessed that the cancer was detected very early. No other treatment was necessary, no chemotherapy, just radiation,”

Terri Jenks

Fittingly enough for a banker, Jenks first years as a Miracle Mile volunteer were spent counting donated money along with others from SouthState. Organizers later asked her to coordinate volunteers, a role she’s held each walk since. Under her guidance, the volunteer numbers have steadily increased. This year’s total of 438 was nearly double the number of volunteers from 2022.

On top of the growing community involvement, the 2023 walk raised nearly $520,000 that will remain in Augusta.

Although Jenks and her husband have received accolades, including Outstanding Volunteers of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, they know the true reward is the lives saved by early detection.

“Because 100% of the proceeds stay in our community, we are able to provide screenings for women we know and love,” Jenks says. “As a result of these screenings, they received timely detection and treatment. They became survivors!”

SouthState believes all team members should be able to achieve their greater purpose through volunteerism and community engagement. The bank offers paid volunteer team to enable them to organize fundraisers, provide financial education and volunteer with their departments at nonprofits of their choosing.

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