Health Care

Clinic's new ultrasound machine courtesy of Knights' efforts

Thanks to a successful campaign led by a faith-based charitable organization, many local pregnant women will get a clearer glimpse of their unborn children.

The Knights of Columbus raised more than $28,000 to go toward the purchase of a new ultrasound machine for the mobile unit of the Pregnancy Center and Clinic of the Low Country.

Holy Family Catholic Church's Knights of Columbus Council financial secretary Mike Solly said the money was donated by the congregations of Holy Family on Hilton Head Island and St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Bluffton, as well as local businesses, charitable organizations and individuals. The national Knights contributed more than $12,000.

Since the Knights raised more than enough money for the machine, a little more than $2,000 was given to the clinic for the maintenance of its ultrasound program.

"The unborn are very important to the Knights of Columbus," Solly said. He said the national organization raises money for ultrasound equipment for pregnancy centers because of that belief.

Pregnancy Center mobile clinic nurse Ginny Chiaro said the new machine produces much clearer, higher-quality images than the previous one, which the center had been using since 2000.

"We can do ultrasounds a little bit earlier and expect to see a little bit more," Chiaro said.

The pregnancy center offers educational, spiritual, emotional, financial and material assistance for women in Beaufort and Jasper counties. In addition to the center's Hilton Head location, a mobile unit travels to central locations in Jasper and Beaufort counties -- to Hardeeville on Mondays and Wednesdays, Ridgeland on Tuesdays and Okatie on Thursdays. Chiaro said almost 1,000 women were seen at the mobile unit in 2009 and 704 have been seen so far in 2010.

"We are so grateful," Chiaro said about the donations. "We are just so blessed that they were willing to help us and get this new machine for us. ... All the nurses have had training on it, and we're all very excited."