“Wish Upon a Cure” Tournament Benefits Cancer Patient Emergency Fund

“Wish Upon a Cure” Tournament Benefits Cancer Patient Emergency Fund

Land Harbor Golf Tournament


A cloudy day on the Linville Land Harbor Golf Course seemed to energize the 27 foursomes who played in the “Wish Upon a Cure” annual cancer charity golf tournament. Co-sponsored by the 18 Hole and 9 Hole Ladies Golf Associations, this year’s tournament generated more than $18,000 in donations for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation’s Avery County Cancer Patient Emergency Fund. These funds are used for cancer patients throughout Avery County who are facing cancer treatment and recovery.

Myra’s Catering donated a delicious luncheon enjoyed by more than 120 players and guests. Three large gift baskets were raffled off as well as over 25 smaller gift baskets with a very broad, sometimes surprising, selection of items! Area businesses supported this charity event by providing gift certificates, bottled water and monetary donations that added significantly to the total. We thank you!!!

Format for the tournament was a step-aside scramble using “magic puts” as an added feature in the contest. Tournament winners were: Flight A: Sheila Divvens, Pamela Patrick, Gary McCormick and Mercere Collins with a gross score of 54; Flight B: Anne Lynch, Randy Lynch, Kellie Pearson and John Pearson with a gross score of 53; Flight C: Sondra Schimmoller, Jack Hannon, Randy King and Victor Grassman with a gross score of 59; and in Flight D, Sherry Steber, Ron Steber, Kathleen Reed and Michael Reed won with a gross score of 65. Closest to the pin for ladies on hole #7 was Julie Flowers (3 feet 2 inches) and for the men on hole #3, Roger Ciske (5 feet 10 inches).

The outstanding success of the “Wish Upon A Cure” cancer charity tournament depends on the many volunteers who give of their time, creativity, generosity, hard work and attention to detail. Special thanks go out to Michael Hayes, Golf Operations Manager and Dexter Bentley, Golf Course Manager, Along with their respective “crews”, the golf course was in excellent condition. Volunteers from the 18 Hole and 9 Hole Men’s Golf Associations, and a long list of other volunteers too numerous to list, ensured that the Tournament achieved its important goal: to provide support and assistance to those receiving cancer treatment or those progressing through the often challenging stages of cancer recovery.

To learn more about Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation, call 828-262-4391 or visit apprhs.org/foundation/.

Scalp Cooling may help cancer patients keep their hair

Scalp Cooling may help cancer patients keep their hair

Photo: Dr. Beaver with Paxman

Dr. Anne-Corinne Beaver, Cancer Survivor & Surgeon


Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is proud to announce the newest addition to Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, the Paxman Scalp Cooling System. Available to patients receiving chemotherapy treatments for solid tumor cancer, our goal is to help our patients look and feel their best while fighting a difficult battle.

What is Paxman Scalp Cooling?

Chemotherapy drugs used to treat solid tumor cancer work by targeting all of the body’s rapidly dividing cells. Since hair is the second fastest dividing cell in the body, hair-loss is an inevitable side effect of chemotherapy. Paxman Scalp Cooling is a procedure that works to prevent hair-loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs.


How does it work?

Administered through an inner and outer scalp cap during each chemotherapy treatment, Paxman technology lowers the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees before, during, and after treatment. As a result, the three-stage cooling process reduces the blood flow to the hair follicles, minimizing hair loss.

Three-stage scalp cooling process

Is scalp cooling right for me?

When considering a new treatment, patients should evaluate the risks and benefits with their doctor. Paxman Scalp Cooling is not recommended for patients with: 

  • An existing history or presence of scalp metastasis 
  • Cancers of the head and neck
  • CNS malignancies 
  • Cold sensitivity 
  • Hematological malignancies 
  • Imminent bone marrow ablation chemotherapy 
  • Previously received, scheduled, or imminent skull irradiation 
  • Severe liver or renal disease 
  • Skin cancers
  • Small cell carcinoma of the lung 
  • Solid tumors that have a high likelihood for metastasis in transit 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of the lung


How do I get started?

If you have questions or would like to learn more about Paxman Scalp Cooling treatments, call Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center at (828) 262-4332 or visit paxmanusa.com.



Multiple agencies respond to Watauga Medical Center air conditioner outage

Multiple agencies respond to Watauga Medical Center air conditioner outage

Photo: Watauga Medical CenterAppalachian Regional Healthcare System would like to thank the following people and agencies for their help in restoring the air conditioning systems at Watauga Medical Center during the week of July 8. Through their heroic efforts we were able to resume normal operations within one day. We are so grateful for your expedient and thorough response!

Additionally, we are appreciative for the patients, visitors and family members who were so patient and understanding throughout the process.

Lastly, we are incredibly grateful to our employees, staff, clinicians and medical providers who stepped forward in a time of crisis to ensure the comfort and safety of patients.


Thank you!

  • Avery County Emergency Management
  • Caldwell County Emergency Management
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Emergency Management
  • Davie County Emergency Management
  • North Carolina Emergency Management
  • Watauga County Emergency Management
  • Blowing Rock Police Department
  • Boone Fire Department
  • Charlotte Mecklenburg Fire Department
  • Triad State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT)
  • Wake Forest Baptist Health
  • Samaritan’s Purse
  • Hoffman & Hoffman
  • HTI Technology
  • Humphrey Masonry Supply
  • MSS Solutions
  • Patients, Visitors and Family Members
  • ARHS Healthcare Professionals
Frequently Asked Questions | Cannon Memorial Hospital Expansion

Frequently Asked Questions | Cannon Memorial Hospital Expansion

Photo: CMH Acute Care Addition Drawing 2ARHS-funded renovations are underway to create a new 8-bed medical acute care unit, followed by grant-funded renovations for an additional 27 behavioral health inpatient beds at Cannon Memorial Hospital (CMH). We want to keep the community informed during and after the renovations. Review the Frequently Asked Questions below, and if you have any further questions, feel free to contact us directly.


How does the lack of psychiatric beds affect the High Country?


Each year Cannon Memorial Hospital’s (CMH) 10-bed behavioral health unit receives over 5,000 referrals, but we are only able to admit approximately 500 patients.  While all of those referrals are not from the High Country exclusively, it clearly paints a picture of a gap across the state of North Carolina relative to inpatient psychiatric care.

How does the lack of psychiatric beds affect Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital?


A delay in accessing behavioral health treatment creates longer wait times in emergency departments for psychiatric and non-psychiatric patients alike. The average length of stay or wait time to find appropriate treatment options for behavioral health patients is 16 hours at Watauga Medical Center and 18 hours at Cannon Memorial Hospital.

The inpatient behavioral health unit at CMH is the only one within a 40 mile radius. Treatment options for behavioral health patients are often far from home, community resources and social supports which make the recovery process much more challenging.

How will the expansion of behavioral health beds at CMH help the community?


By expanding the number of behavioral health beds available within the High Country, our healthcare system will provide more opportunity for High Country residents to receive treatment close to home. The additional beds will also streamline the referral process and decrease the wait time for behavioral health patients that visit our emergency rooms.

Will CMH still accept all types of hospital patients, or only accept behavioral health patients?


Although the expansion is focused on behavioral health, Cannon Memorial Hospital will meet the medical needs of the community by continuing to operate as a Critical Access Hospital. All services that are currently available will continue – inpatient medical care, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Cardiovascular Services, Emergency Services, Imaging and Lab Services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Surgical Services, and more.

What type of behavioral health patients will CMH accept? What measures are being taken to ensure the patients and community are safe? 


We will provide a wide array of Behavioral Health Services within our community. Our inpatient services will be housed in a secure setting where patients can receive high quality behavioral health care. Our behavioral health patients are also our community members – friends, neighbors, and family members who, at any given time, may be having a hard time coping with circumstances in their lives and need intervention. Cannon Memorial Hospital will provide a safe space for those who would otherwise have nowhere to go, or would have to travel a distance to find help. 

Why are there only 8 beds in the new inpatient medical wing? Will that meet the needs of our community for other things beside behavioral health?     


For the expansion, we based the number of inpatient beds on the average number of inpatients over the past 3-4 years. On any given day, we have an average of six patients in our medical beds. Eight is an optimal number based upon our admissions patterns.   

Latest Progress and News

Cannon Memorial Hospital Renovation and Expansion

Mission Accomplished: ARHS and Liberty Senior Living announce partnership

Mission Accomplished: ARHS and Liberty Senior Living announce partnership

Photo: FoleyCenter-Entrance-Night

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has agreed to a partnership with Wilmington, N.C.-based Liberty Senior Living (Liberty) to develop a senior living campus on the 68-acre tract at Chestnut Ridge in Blowing Rock, N.C.

Details of the partnership are still developing, but ARHS President and CEO Chuck Mantooth is very optimistic. He commented, “We have a contract and are awaiting just a few regulatory approvals. In the meantime, Liberty is consulting on the operation of The Foley Center and developing a milestones-based approach toward building the retirement facility. Eventually, The Foley Center and the retirement facility will operate together seamlessly as a full continuum of care.”

Mantooth added, “Back in 2012, our original plan was to develop a senior living campus at Chestnut Ridge. That’s why we bought 68 acres. Our concept was to develop a post-acute care facility in phase one and partner with another company to build a retirement village in phase two. This evolution is really the culmination of that original plan.”

Mantooth went on to say, “Throughout our contract discussions with Liberty, the synergies have been
remarkable. Their roots are in rural areas. They understand seasonal, destination markets like ours – as they have developed communities in Pinehurst, Wilmington, Mount Pleasant, and more recently in Pisgah Valley near Asheville. All of the facilities they’ve constructed are awe-inspiring and the quality reviews they receive are first-class. Liberty had everything we were looking for in a partner.”


About Liberty


From Left: Sandy McNeill, Ronnie McNeill, (Principals, Liberty Senior Living) and Chuck Mantooth (President and CEO, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System)

From Left: Sandy McNeill, Ronnie McNeill, (Principals, Liberty Senior Living) and Chuck Mantooth (President and CEO, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System)

Liberty is an experienced family-owned company that has been helping people manage their healthcare and residential needs for more than 125 years. Their principal owners, Sandy and Ronnie McNeill, are proud to call North Carolina home, and are the fourth generation of McNeill’s immersed in the healthcare industry.

The company founders, who opened their first pharmacy in 1875, established Liberty’s core values of quality, honesty and integrity that guide them to this day. Today, Liberty owns 29 skilled nursing, assisted living and retirement community developments throughout the southeast.

Liberty CEO Sandy McNeill discussed the plans at Chestnut Ridge by saying, “We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to work with the community to add senior living options in Blowing Rock and the High Country. We will be conducting focus group meetings to understand more about what the community wants and needs. When we actually visited The Foley Center, we were blown away by its beauty and quality. We knew this was a great opportunity.”


Planning Started 10 Years Ago


Sept 2017: Richard Sparks (Former President and CEO, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System) speaks at the Grand Opening of The Foley Center (Photo Credit: David Rogers, BlowingRocknews.com)

Sept 2017: Richard Sparks (Former President and CEO, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System) speaks at the Grand Opening of The Foley Center (Photo Credit: David Rogers, BlowingRocknews.com)

In 2009, former ARHS President and CEO Richard Sparks saw what is often referred to as the “silver tsunami” on the horizon. Data during that period suggested that, on average, a wave of 10,000 “Baby Boomers” would turn 65 every day and thus become Medicare-eligible. Sparks also recognized that the High Country was ill-prepared to meet the rapidly increasing healthcare needs of its aging population. In many cases, residents had to leave the mountain in order to find independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services.

Meanwhile, a new trend emerged in healthcare known as post-acute care. Designed with the patient in mind, post-acute care facilities serve as a cost-saving alternative for patients that are healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital, but not quite ready to safely return home. Patients in these facilities often benefit from short-term rehabilitation after surgery, as well as assisted living and long-term care. Sparks, ever the visionary, saw an opportunity in the making. Knowing in his heart that it was the right thing to do, he proposed that the healthcare system replace the outdated Blowing Rock Hospital, which had converted into a long-term care facility in 2013, with a brand new medical clinic and post-acute care center. ARHS would then identify a partner to establish a Continuing Care Retirement Community or CCRC in the heart of Blowing Rock.

In 2010, ARHS took the first step in this process by purchasing a beautiful 68-acre tract of land alongside US 321 in Blowing Rock. In 2012, Sparks formed the group of local business, education and civic leaders. They were all very passionate about finding a retirement community partner to co-locate on the 68-acre tract.

Members of the task force included; Dr. Ted Waller, Dr. Ken Peacock, Dr. Lauren Baumhover, Dr. Lori Gonzalez, Richard Sparks, Jerry Hutchens, Rob Hudspeth, Larry Nance, Dennis Quinn, Ken Wilcox, Reba Moretz and Keith Tester.

The task force visited several retirement communities in the region and over a year’s time developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) which would be sent to 27 retirement community organizations to determine their interest in building a retirement community at Chestnut Ridge.

ARHS Board of Trustee member and local businessman Kenneth Wilcox, who served on the task force, recalled the difficulty in getting any retirement community interested. “In 2012 the economy was still slow, the real estate market had not begun to adequately recover and our project was not typical. I remember us meeting with a retirement developer from South Carolina who told us to be patient. The phrase he used was, ‘You will get this thing off the ground, it’s just going to take a longer runway.”

After receiving only seven responses to the RFP, none of the communities were very interested. Wilcox added, “They all suggested that the risk was too significant.”


Taskforce Revived


After The Foley Center opened in 2017, ARHS’s new President and CEO, Chuck Mantooth, reconvened the retirement community task force. The new group began meeting monthly and subsequently commissioned a market study to really understand the feasibility of developing the 68-acre tract into a senior living community.

The results from the study were compelling. Because the economy had improved, the new study projected a significant demand for residential units over the next 10 years. As a result of the new study, ARHS issued a new RFP to 33 potential retirement community partners. The results were different this time. Many retirement communities expressed interest, but Liberty Senior Living stood out.

Mantooth commented, “After a few meetings with them, it was an obvious match. Their culture aligned with ours. We knew we could work together.”


Meeting a Need


As Sparks predicted, a significant number of High Country residents have been leaving the community in order to find the senior living services they need in urban areas. Reba Moretz, a lifelong Boone resident, is excited about the future of retirement living at Chestnut Ridge. “Over the past few years I have had many friends leave the area because there are few retirement options here. They reach the point that they cannot maintain their homes or adequately care for their spouses. They need extra help. In many ways it’s a sad situation when people are forced to leave their community, their family and friends, and their social network because they have no local options for retirement. That’s why I’m pleased about this partnership with Liberty.”

In summing up his thoughts about the future for a senior living campus, Mantooth added, “This partnership is a mission accomplished and a dream fulfilled for this community. And although we faced challenges along the way, such as the harsh realities of developing a mountainside during a recession, we never gave up on the original vision.”

Today, thanks to that vision and this new partnership with Liberty Senior Living, seniors will now be able to stay on the mountain with convenient access to healthcare services for generations to come.

To learn more about Liberty Senior Living visit libertyseniorliving.com.

Photos: Cannon Memorial Hospital Groundbreaking

Photos: Cannon Memorial Hospital Groundbreaking

The renovations at Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital (Cannon Memorial Hospital) in Avery County, North Carolina have begun. Thank you to everyone who attended Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s (ARHS) groundbreaking ceremony on June 4, 2019.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (NCDHHS) has selected Cannon Memorial Hospital to receive a $6.5 million grant award to expand the availability of behavioral health beds in the western region of North Carolina.

On June 4, 2019, ARHS-funded renovations began to create a new 8-bed acute care unit, followed by grant-funded renovations to add an additional 27 behavioral health inpatient beds.

The funding for this grant originated from the Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund, which was created by the North Carolina General Assembly from the sale of Dorothea Dix Hospital in 2015. The Dorothea Dix Hospital Property Fund was established as part of NCDHHS’s plan to expand the number of beds that provide crisis stabilization and inpatient behavioral health care. The plan calls for 150 new behavioral health inpatient beds across the state.

With the recent increase in the demand for behavioral health inpatient beds across the region, ARHS is proud to be given the opportunity to expand and continue meeting the needs of the community on a larger scale. Although the expansion is focused on behavioral health, Cannon Memorial Hospital will continue to meet the medical needs of the community by operating as a Critical Access Hospital.

Latest Progress and News

Cannon Memorial Hospital Renovation and Expansion