Wellness in brief: Community supports Poore, foundation names Chiang

HELP FOR A HERO: The local community has rallied to support Hendersonville Fire Department Capt. Josh Poore, who sustained a spinal cord injury in a mountain biking accident on June 13. A wide variety of fundraising events to help with Poore's recovery and rehabilitation are planned in upcoming weeks. Photo courtesy of the city of Hendersonville

Hendersonville Fire Department Capt. Josh Poore sustained a spinal cord injury while mountain biking on June 13. He was initially unable to move his arms or legs but has since regained some control over his legs. A firefighter since 2007 who also served in the U.S. Army Reserves in Afghanistan, Poore is being treated at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, which specializes in spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation.

A number of fundraising events have been held to benefit Poore’s recovery, and several more are planned, including:

  • Mountain Juicery, 637 Spartanburg Highway, Hendersonville, will donate 30% of all sales on Friday, Aug. 23, 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. avl.mx/6f4
  • Summit Crossfit South, 37 Maxwell Drive, Hendersonville, will present a fundraiser in partnership with the Hendersonville and Asheville fire departments on Saturday, Aug. 24, 8-10:30 a.m. avl.mx/6f5
  • Be Bold for Poore at Bold Rock Mills River Cidery, 72 School House Road, Mills River, Friday, Sept. 6, 5-9 p.m. The event will include a raffle, wristband and T-shirt sales, a firetruck and live music by Canaan Cox. avl.mx/6f6
  • Emergency Services Softball Tournament, Blue Ridge Community College Field, 300 East Campus Drive, Flat Rock, Saturday, Sept. 21, 9 a.m. Organized by Valley Hill Fire and Rescue, the tournament will feature up to six teams. Entry fee is $250 per team. The public is invited. For more information or to register a team, contact Jake Parris at 828-808-4114 or Corban Hossley at 828-329-2680. avl.mx/6f7
  • The Hendersonville Professional Firefighters Association Local 2645 is selling wristbands for $5 each at Hendersonville’s two fire stations at 632 Sugarloaf Road and 851 N. Main St., depending on staff availability.
  • A GoFundMe account to benefit Poore and his family is available at avl.mx/6f8.
  •  Any State Employees Credit Union branch in North Carolina will accept donations to the Josh Poore Family Tragedy Account.

Foundation names leader

BRAIN TRUST: Antony Chiang, left, will lead the Dogwood Health Trust as its inaugural CEO. DHT also announced that Donna Tipton-Rogers, president of Tri-County Community College in Murphy, was appointed to the organization’s board of directors. Photos courtesy of DHT

Dogwood Health Trust searched the nation for its inaugural chief executive and announced on Aug. 13 it had found its perfect match in Antony Chiang, 51, who currently serves as president of Empire Health Foundation, a similar organization based in Spokane, Wash.

Chiang will begin his new job in November, overseeing a foundation created to receive about $1.5 billion of proceeds from the sale of Mission Health System to for-profit Nashville-based HCA Healthcare. According to a press release, “Dogwood will educate and inform stakeholders, conduct research, convene experts and, beginning in late 2020, make grants to organizations aligned with its purpose, all to help collectively improve health and well-being across 18 counties in Western North Carolina.”

The WNC Health Equity Coalition and SEARCH, two community organizations that have been monitoring the Mission-HCA transaction and its aftermath, welcomed the news in an emailed statement. “Mr. Chiang is well known for work on health equity and empowering rural communities. We look forward to working with CEO Chiang, the Dogwood Health Trust board and staff and communities across the region to build a more just and healthy region.”

DHT also announced the appointment of Donna Tipton-Rogers, president of Tri-County Community College in Murphy, as the 15th member of its board of directors.

PFLAG Asheville hosts trans youth discussion

The local chapter of PFLAG, a national nonprofit that advocates for LGBTQ people, will host an educational event about supporting transgender youth at The Orange Peel on Saturday, Sept. 14. Dr. Norman Spack, who co-founded the country’s first program to medically treat transgender young people at Boston Children’s Hospital, will give a keynote address followed by a Q+A session.

Asheville-based LGBTQ advocates will then answer audience questions in a panel format. Panelists include Dr. Jennifer Abbott of the WNCCHS Transgender Health Program, Zeke Christopolous of Tranzmission, Allison Scott of the Campaign for Southern Equality, social worker Elizabeth McCorvey and parent advocates Julie Lehman and Michael Poulos. The event runs from 12-2:15 p.m.; tickets are $35 and available at The Orange Peel box office or online at avl.mx/6fq.

Health programs and events

  • Buncombe County Schools tobacco-free signage
    CUT IT OUT: New signage to be installed at Buncombe County Schools emphasizes that e-cigarettes are included in the system’s tobacco-free policy. Graphic courtesy of Buncombe County Schools

    End-of-life care provider Four Seasons has renamed its child and adolescent bereavement program Compass to reflect its mission of helping young people find a path through grief. Previously called Heart Songs, the program is offered at no cost to families and includes events and individual sessions throughout the year. More information is available at info@fourseasonscfl.org.

  • Pardee UNC Health Care will host free community skin cancer screenings on Thursday, Aug. 22, 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at the Pardee Cancer Center, 805 Sixth Ave. W. in Hendersonville. Appointments are required and available by calling 828-698-7317.
  • On Saturday, Aug. 31 — International Overdose Awareness Day — six local organizations will host an event to promote human connection and compassion for addiction at Carrier Park, 220 Amboy Road, 2-8 p.m. The free gathering will include a community meal, nonreligious sanctuary space for grieving, local artists and  musicians, and a speaker’s panel featuring local officials and community members. The evening will conclude with a candlelight vigil to honor those lost to overdose.
  • Early registration discounts are available through Saturday, Aug. 31, for the 15th annual Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. This year, organizers expect over 1,000 women to gather Friday-Sunday, Oct. 11-13, at Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center outside Hendersonville. More information at sewisewomen.com.
  • The Haywood County Health and Human Services Agency will offer a free diabetes prevention program consisting of a series of 24 one-hour group classes beginning at noon Thursday, Sept. 5. The classes provide information and tools for maintaining a healthy weight, preparing healthy meals and incorporating regular physical activity to reduce the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. More information is available at 828-356-2272.
  • Buncombe County Schools will install new tobacco-free signs reminding students, staff, parents and others that e-cigarettes are not allowed on school grounds or during school-sponsored events. E-cigarettes, the usage of which by young people is a growing concern across North Carolina, are not shown on the existing signs, which were installed in 2008.
  • The American Cancer Society hosts the kickoff for its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Highland Brewing Company on Tuesday, Aug. 27, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Candidates for the Real Men Wear Pink fundraising challenge will be presented at the event.

Wilderness connects with wellness at WCU

UP IN THE AIR: Mike Libecki pauses to check his rock climbing equipment during an expedition on Socotra Island in Yemen. Photo by Josh Helling courtesy of Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University will kick off a semesterlong exploration of the connection between wilderness and wellness with a Thursday, Aug. 22, presentation and panel discussion featuring mountaineer and climber Mike Libecki, National Geographic’s 2013 Adventurer of the Year.

The free presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the theater of A.K. Hinds University Center and will be followed by a panel discussion. In addition to Libecki, panel participants include moderator Jeremiah Haas, an associate director for campus recreation and wellness who oversees Base Camp Cullowhee, the university’s outdoor programming organization; Dale Brotherton, retired professor of school counseling; Paula Demonet, a counselor from the university’s Counseling and Psychological Services office; Dr. Jessica Ange, a physician with WCU Health Services; Debby Singleton, an instructor in the Parks and Recreation Management Program; and Brett Riggs, the university’s Sequoyah Distinguished Professor of Cherokee Studies.

All creatures great and small

Mills River Presbyterian Church will host its annual blessing of the pets on Saturday, Sept. 7, at 10 a.m. All types of pets, from dogs and rabbits to cats and guinea pigs, are welcome.

The service takes place on the front lawn of the church at 10 Presbyterian Church Road in Mills River. Humans should bring lawn chairs or blankets for themselves, while dogs should be on leashes and cats in carriers.

According to a press release, the service led by Pastor Randall Boggs will include “tributes to pets lost during the past year, adopted animals and rescued pets.” An offering collected during the service will benefit the New Hope program of the Blue Ridge Humane Society.

Grants power health programs

  • AdventHealth Hendersonville’s Emergency Department will soon add a new tool to help victims of sexual assault. The Perry N. Rudnick fund administered by the Community Foundation of Henderson County has awarded a $15,468 grant for the purchase of a hands-free specialty camera for collecting forensic evidence.
  • Asheville-based Campaign for Southern Equality awarded $30,000 in community grants to boost LGBTQ health equity to organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. Western North Carolina Community Health Services, which is based in Asheville and serves 18 WNC counties, received a $10,000 grant.
  • The 222-bed Pardee UNC Health Care, as part of UNC Health Care, has received a grant from the Duke Endowment Foundation to improve the hospital experience for dementia patients. According to a press release, “The protocol from the grant is intended to meet the unique needs of patients who have dementia by ensuring hospital staff are trained to recognize dementia in their patients and provide dementia-friendly care.”
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