The HERO Fund

Help Eliminate and Remove Obstacles for pediatric patients in McLeod Children’s Hospital

The HERO Fund has been established to meet many of the pressing needs of children who receive care in the McLeod Children’s Hospital.

Gifts in support of the HERO Fund are used to bridge the gap for children and their families who are experiencing financial struggles. As these needs are often immediate, the HERO Fund will be set up to screen and approve referrals received from the Children’s Hospital staff without delay.

Your gifts will be used to help with services such as providing formula for babies going home from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) prior to receiving community resources, clothing for children who are victims of trauma or abuse, specialized car seats for children with disabilities, bridging the gap for pediatric  medications and many other unique and pressing needs.

Children and their families will receive assistance when they need it most because of generous donors to the HERO Fund.

Please join these vital efforts now.

  • Local to McLeod, Loyal to Florence

    Local Business Owners Give to Support Their Hospital and Community

    Nearly 20 years ago, in search of a loving community for their family, Erik Marechal and his wife, Laura, moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, and returned to Laura’s hometown of Florence, South Carolina.


    Together, they took over the family business, now McLean Marechal Insurance and Financial Services, and became deeply ingrained in the fabric of the Florence community including McLeod Health.

    “To be part of a community, you have to give back,” Erik said. “Supporting McLeod is supporting Florence.”

    The Marechals quickly recognized the value of excellent local healthcare, when their son,

    Matt, required specialized orthopedic treatments. McLeod Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Al Gilpin lovingly cared for Matt for many years.

    “Having this subspecialty available locally prevented us from having to travel to Charleston or Columbia,” Laura explained. “Additionally, being in the waiting room showed me the burden many families face in obtaining the ‘extras’ needed for care: gas money, medications, crutches and walkers.”

    This experience eventually led Laura, already a McLeod Health Foundation Board member, to join the HERO (Helping Eliminate and Remove Obstacles) Fund Committee. The HERO Fund helps bridge the gap, providing immediate needs for children treated at McLeod and their families who are facing barriers to care due to financial struggles.

    As small business owners, the Marechal’s employees are like family, and they frequently turn to McLeod for their care.

    “We have seen many employees receive care at McLeod and have children there,” Erik reflected. “Recently, two employees had babies who required intensive care.

    “They are alive and healthy today because of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at McLeod Children’s Hospital.”

    With both their son and their work family in mind, and understanding that having a healthy community starts with caring for our youngest and most vulnerable patients, the Marechals generously supported the McLeod Foundation’s campaign to expand the NICU.

    In addition to their years of philanthropy, Laura and Erik are members of several committees and volunteer groups that support the work of McLeod Health and the Foundation. And, while so much of the Marechal’s support over the years has been personal, much of their financial support has come through their business.

    “We want our employees to know they are a part of our support for McLeod,” Erik explained. “And, we want our customers to know we support the local services that benefit us all. A growing community needs a thriving hospital.” 

  • Hero Fund Advisory Committee

    Jennifer Yacoubian, Chair
    Vicki Chung
    Claudette Jones
    Judy Kammer
    Laura Marechal
    Rachel McCormick
    Shirley Meiere
    Liz Moore
    Korinne Piccolo

  • You Can Be A HERO

    Removing Obstacles for Children

    “Life’s a peach.”

    It’s more than a slogan for the McLeod family of McBee, South Carolina. Peaches have grown on McLeod Farms since 1916. Owner Kemp McLeod represents the fourth generation to work the family orchards, providing the Pee Dee Region with its fill of peaches every year.


    But, it’s through corn that the McLeods are now helping children in the region.

    Sitting around the family table one evening discussing the farm’s upcoming Corn Maze, Kemp suggested they use it to impact others. After some discussion, the family decided half of the proceeds from the 2019 Corn Maze would support McLeod Children’s Hospital through the McLeod Health Foundation.

    In particular, proceeds would help establish the new HERO (Help Eliminate and Remove Obstacles) Fund to provide assistance for immediate needs, such as diapers, transportation and medications.

    “The HERO Fund will help children going through difficult situations,” said Kemp. “My daughter-in-law is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse and sees the need every day.”

    Prompted by his grandson’s love of super heroes, Kemp began Googling comic book characters. He became intrigued by the Avengers Super Heroes, to whom he compared the heroic children and staff at McLeod Children’s Hospital, where all of his grandchildren were born.

    Thus, the “AMAZERS” Corn Maze was born.

    “We cut the McLeod Children’s Hospital logo into the AMAZERS Corn Maze,” explained Rachel McCormick, Kemp’s daughter. “Facts about the Children’s Hospital were placed throughout the maze. We wanted people to understand what the Maze was supporting so they would be willing to support my Dad’s vision to help the children.”

    In the end, 4,292 people explored the AMAZERS Corn Maze.

    “My father has always been a big dreamer,” Rachel said. “The incredible turnout for the Corn Maze made his dream of helping children come true.”