A Dream Fulfilled: Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center

Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center

Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center

Alphonse Marie Louis, the 17th century French writer, poet and politician once said, “There is a woman at the beginning of all great things.”

When looking back to its humble beginnings, this was certainly the case for Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).

In the beginning

“I remember when the dream of having a Wellness Center in Boone was just that, a dream,” said Jodi Cash, Director of the Wellness Center.

Jodi Cash

Jodi Cash

Cash, a Watauga County native and fitness enthusiast, can clearly recall the excitement she felt 19 years ago when Richard Sparks, then President of Watauga Medical Center (WMC), first shared his vision for opening a Wellness Center. As a result of his vision, a needs assessment was conducted for a Wellness Center in Boone. The study revealed that, though the High Country is home to ample outdoor fitness opportunities, it severely lacked indoor wellness options for residents.

“I will never forget those early conversations I had with Richard,” said Cash with a reminiscent smile. “As a leader in the community in which I grew up, it was inspiring to watch him lobby for improvements in my hometown.”

Once the project was approved, she was hired to lead the initiative from its onset. Always known as one who could overcome obstacles, the swim coach, who grew up rock climbing with her father, felt up to the challenge. She fondly remembers her first work space as a couch outside of the Human Resources office. Soon after, a temporary fitness room consisting of a treadmill, a stepper machine and a desk for Jodi was set up right beside the WMC cafeteria.

“I spent most of my time in the beginning surveying different community groups to determine wellness interests,” said Cash. “The excitement around the project proved to be contagious and far reaching.”

Thanks in large part to the lead gift from Paul H. Broyhill and a host of more than 200 other donors, a total surpassing $2.5 million was raised over the years in support of the two-part massive construction project. A ceremonial ground-breaking took place in 1996 and in 1998 Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center opened its doors to the community.

The second phase took place in 2005, when the lap pool, therapy pool and more than 22,000 square feet were added to the facility.  

More than a Gym

The 63,000-square-foot Wellness Center includes an indoor track, two pools, racquetball and basketball courts, a variety of fitness classes, a fully equipped cardio gym, locker rooms, a massage therapy studio and childcare services. 

Beyond its extensive list of amenities the Wellness Center fitness staff is perhaps even more impressive. The highly trained and supportive staff all share backgrounds in either exercise science or health promotion.

Paul Moore, Assistant Director of the Wellness Center, is a registered dietitian who has won multiple awards through the North Carolina Dietitian Association (NCDA). Most recently, Moore received the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year Award in 2012 and the Young Dietitian of the Year Award in 2013. Thanks to Moore, members can learn about, measure and improve their nutrition as it aligns with their desired fitness outcomes.

“The goal from the very beginning has always been to establish a place for the community to connect.” said Cash. “Over the years, we have worked hard to create an inclusive culture by means of not just welcoming new members, but getting them plugged in.”

An example of this can be found in CrossFit Boone. CrossFit, a premiere strength and conditioning program, was brought to Boone in 2012. The program, which welcomes more than 400 visits a month, has become a community within a community for members of the Wellness Center.

Debra Williams, a work from home artist and mom said, “I love the community of CrossFit Boone. The members have become [for me and my husband] our family in Boone.”

In addition to CrossFit Boone, the Wellness Center offers an array of other adult fitness classes. A few of the most popular include Zumba, Yoga, Spin, Water Fitness, Triple Threat and Prenatal exercise classes. The Wellness Center also provides a variety of youth programs, including BLAST, Youth Strength and Conditioning and Kid Strong.  

Continuum of Care

As an invaluable component to the healthcare system, Sparks’ vision from the beginning was to have the Wellness Center also serve as a place for patients to have access to rehabilitation services. From the beginning, a section of the Wellness Center was allocated for physical therapy.

The current Rehabilitation Center, adjacent to the Wellness Center, was added in 2005 as part of the phase two expansion project. The location of the facility allows patients access to the Wellness Center’s strength and conditioning equipment and pools. The Rehabilitation Center staff offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary services including treatment for neurologic, orthopeadic, women’s health, Lymphedema prevention/ management and chronic health conditions.

In July 2013, ARHS opened Appalachian Regional Orthopeadic and Sports Medicine Center (AppOrtho). This step proved to be the capstone piece to the healthcare system’s ongoing effort to provide a comprehensive continuum of care for patients in the High Country. AppOrtho, the official sports medicine provider for Appalachian State University Athletics, consists of an expert team of two board certified orthopeadic surgeons and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician.

“We have come a long way in the past 16 years,” said Sparks. “Thanks to the addition of AppOrtho, patients, in most cases may now stay on the mountain for their surgery, rehab and transition back to wellness.”

THRIVE, is one of the programs that has originated as a result of the continuum of care available through the healthcare system. THRIVE is a medically supervised program at the Wellness Center that transitions patients from more acute phases of chronic disease management to wellness. The program, which requires a physician referral, consists of a Cardiopulmonary Track as well as an Oncology Track. Since its inception in 2011, THRIVE has helped 110 patients improve their quality of life.

Looking Forward

When asked about future plans for the Wellness Center, Cash simply smiled and answered, “Making our wellness community even stronger.”

“We are constantly looking to see how we can flex and grow our programs to reach and benefit more people in our community,” she said.   

In 2013, the Wellness Center began offering the Silver Sneakers program to members who qualify. Silver Sneakers is an energizing program that helps older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging physical activity.

In the months ahead, another new addition to the Wellness Center is being made thanks to funds raised through ARHS Foundation. In an effort to provide a safe wellness home for everyone, the Foundation purchased an Apex Challenge 7,000 machine optimized for wheelchair users. This unique piece of equipment will allow these members to perform a variety of exercises at the Wellness Center independently.

The Wellness Center, home to more than 2,200 active members, has truly grown from its humble beginnings. Its state-of-the-art facility, paired with its invaluable partnership with the healthcare system, has made the Wellness Center a pillar of fitness, health and community in the High Country.

“To be honest, I get emotional just thinking about how the dream has become a reality over the years,” said Cash. “I truly feel honored to be a part of something much bigger than myself that is doing so much good for our community.”

To learn more about the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center visit www.apprhs.org/services/wellness-center.

Digital Mammography now available at Cannon Memorial Hospital

Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital (CMH) is excited to be the first in Avery County to offer breast cancer screenings using full field digital mammography. With the recent installation of the Selenia® Dimensions 2D full field digital mammography system, all mammography patients at CMH will be imaged with the most state of the art equipment available.

“Now that we have Full Field Digital mammography, the women of Avery County can receive the breast care they deserve close to home,” said Martha Daniels, Lead Mammographer at CMH. “We are very excited to be a part of offering the latest technology to women in the High Country.”

Digital mammography is different from conventional or film-screen mammography in how the image of the breast is acquired and, more importantly, viewed. The radiologist can magnify the images, increase or decrease the contrast and invert the black and white values while reading the images. These features allow the radiologist to better evaluate micro- calcifications and better evaluate any areas of concern.

For most women 40 and over, an annual mammogram is the best way of finding breast cancer early. Mammograms play a central role in the early detection of breast cancer because they can detect changes in the breast that may be early signs of cancer, but are too small or subtle to be felt.

The use of mammography and in particular, digital mammography, has greatly enhanced the ability to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, when it’s most treatable. Digital mammography detected significantly more cancers than screen-film mammography in woman 50 and younger, premenopausal and perimenopausal women, and women with dense breasts, according to results from the American College of Radiology Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST).

Breast cancer statistics are staggering:

  • One in eight women living in the U.S. will get breast cancer in a lifetime.(1)
  • Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. It’s the leading cause of death in 35 to 65 year old women. (2)

The installation of full field digital mammography at CMH, part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS), allows radiologists to view breast images taken at Cannon Memorial Hospital or Watauga Medical Center at either facility. ARHS is committed to the fight against breast cancer, providing high quality, acute healthcare and preventative medical care in a compassionate and professional manner to all people who live, work or visit the high country.

For more information, please visit our web site at www. apprhs.org, or call to schedule an appointment at 828-258-9037 or toll free 800-443-7385.

(1) 2009-2010 American Cancer Society, breast Cancer Facts and Figures
(2) World Health Organization

Meet Paul Moore: Assistant Director for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Wellness Center

Moore_PaulPaul Moore, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, CSCS*D, NSCA-CPT*D is  Assistant Director for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center and an Adjunct Instructor in the College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University.

Although Paul Moore works full-time at a hospital-based wellness center, where he serves as the facility’s assistant director, he finds time to fit in a variety of other roles, including teacher and volunteer. As an adjunct instructor at Appalachian State University, Moore enjoys teaching a general nutrition course and encouraging students to make life-long healthier choices. But the course he enjoys teaching the most is “Nutrition for Children,” which often is inspired by his experiences as a father of two young kids.

“Having children of my own is when I really turned the corner in understanding the impact that nutrition has on our lives,” Moore says. “Watching them learn to eat and seeing how it affects them has inspired me in all areas of practice and made me more passionate about the field.”

Currently, Moore also serves as the 2013-2014 North Carolina Dietetic Association (NCDA) president and volunteers as an editor for the Weight Management Matters newsletter, published quarterly by the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group. Though he’s busy with his full- and part-time jobs as well as his family, Moore says he believes in the importance of dietitians becoming more involved in professional associations and outside opportunities. That’s why he’s taken an active approach to engaging more NCDA members. One major change has been switching from one annual meeting (two to three days in length at one location) to four, one-day meetings held across the state and throughout the year. “We’re also trying to connect members with a monthly webinar so that regardless of where they live or how busy they are, they can still be engaged,” he says.

In addition, Moore is making a difference in his local community of Bonne, North Carolina, with a medically supervised program called THRIVE for patients with chronic disease. “Patients have really loved the program, and we’re getting a lot of success stories,” he says. “People will come in telling us their doctor made them, but two years later, they’ll still be coming every day. It’s inspiring.”

App State Women’s Basketball Team visit the Cancer Center

The Appalachian State Women’s Basketball team took a break from the hardwood last week to visit Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center.

The App State Women's Basketball team delivered gifts to the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center  staff and patients in honor of their Think Pink game on February 15.

The App State Women’s Basketball team delivered gifts to the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center staff and patients in honor of their Think Pink game on February 15.

The Mountaineers, led by Head Coach Darcie Vincent, scheduled the visit in anticipation of their 3rd Annual Think Pink basketball game against UNCG on Saturday, February 15.

Sandi Cassidy, Director of Oncology Services at the Cancer Center, greeted the student athletes and gave them a tour of the facility. The team asked questions, posed for pictures and exchanged hugs with staff and patients as they explored both the medical and radiation oncology units.

“This Think Pink game is about so much more than basketball,” said Coach Vincent. “It’s about celebrating life and showcasing our love and support for those families impacted by this disease.”

Perhaps the most meaningful moment of their visit took place when the team visited the patients in the chemotherapy infusion room. These patients, often confined to their treatment chairs for hours at a time, were delighted to share a moment of encouragement with the lady Mountaineers. During the visit, the team distributed goodie bags and invitations to attend their Think Pink Play4Kay basketball game.

The Think Pink game day will feature a double header with the ladies playing at 1:30 pm and the men at 4:30 pm against Wofford. Admission to the games is free, but the lady Mountaineers hope fans will donate to the Play4Kay Kay Yow Cancer Fund at the door. Play4Kay, established in honor of former NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, is an initiative to raise awareness about breast cancer and funds for research on the court, across campuses and in communities. Last year, $4,000 was raised in support of cancer research through the Mountaineers Think Pink basketball games.

“My dad is a cancer survivor,” said sophomore, biology major Ashley Bassett-Smith. “I think it’s wonderful that as a team we can give back to the medical community and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

For more information about the Think Pink game visit www.appstatesports.com. To learn more about Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center call 828-262-4332 or visit www.apprhs.org/cancer-center.

Get ready to Dance: Zumbathon is on February 21st

February is heart month and to help you get your heart pumping, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is sponsoring a Zumbathon on Friday, February 21 from 4 – 7 pm at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, located at 232 Boone Heights Drive in Boone. The Zumbathon is an extension of the 2nd Annual Heart Shape event, which is taking place on Saturday, February 8 at the Wellness Center

Registration for the Zumbathon costs $10 and all proceeds will benefit the ARHS THRIVE Scholarship Program. THRIVE is a medically supervised program at the Wellness Center that transitions patients from more acute phases of chronic disease management to wellness. The program, which requires a physician referral, consists of a Cardiopulmonary Track as well as an Oncology Track

You can purchase your Zumbathon tickets at the Heart Shape Event on February 8th, or at the front desk of the Wellness Center.  

“I am honored to be able to take part in this Zumbathon,” said Gwen Dhing, Aerobics Instructor and Zumba leader at the Wellness Center. “Knowing that 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward such a worthy cause is truly heartwarming.”  

Since its inception in 2011, THRIVE has helped 110 patients improve their quality of life. The THRIVE Scholarship Program was established to ensure that all patients, regardless of financial barriers, would be able to benefit from the program.

Heart Shape T-shirts will be on sale for $16 dollars at the Wellness Center during the month of February while supplies last. On average, 40 percent of all T-shirt sales will go toward the THRIVE Scholarship Program. Additional cash or check donations may be made during the event.  

For more information about the Zumbathon or Heart Shape visit www.apprhs.org/heartshape or call 828-268-8960. To learn more about the THRIVE program visit www.apprhs.org/thrive.

The Wound Care Center heals the wound and quality of life for Mario Perret-Gentil

Hope was all but lost for Mario Perret-Gentil, 62, who was coming to grips with the reality that his lingering 10 year-old wound would never quite heal or stop hurting. That was until he discovered The Wound Care Center of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).

Mario Perret-Gentil

Mario Perret-Gentil

A native of Curacao, an island in the West Indies, Mario moved to Boone in 1993 with his wife Diana in hopes of discovering the American dream. Shortly after his move, Mario had a conversation with a few college students who shared that they wished Boone had a fun indoor activity option during the winter months. This request led Mario to open Boone Bowling Center, where he has faithfully served students and the High Country community for the last 29 years.

In 2003, while working in his yard, a stone struck Mario in the shin causing a wound that would haunt him for the next 10 years. 

“Despite countless trips to the doctor and a variety of medications, my 8 millimeter wound did not want to close,” said Mario while massaging his leg. “Before I knew it, 10 years had passed and I was still suffering with a lot of pain caused by my wound. Eventually, I discovered that there was a Wound Care Center in Boone and that the team there is outstanding.”

Conveniently located at 169 Doctors Drive in Boone, The Wound Care Center began seeing patients in 2010. The Wound Care providers include Shelly Smith, a wound-educated PA-C (Advanced Practitioner) and June Smith, a certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN). Harold Frazier, Jr., MD of Watauga Surgical Group serves as the Medical Director of the Wound Care Center.

“At first, Mario was frustrated and did not have a lot of confidence that we would be able to help him,” said June. “In many cases the first step to healing a wound consists of overcoming any anxiety the patient may have as well as gaining confidence in the care that we provide.” 

Mario’s wound was a direct result of Venous Stasis disease, a condition in which faulty venous valves allow blood to collect in the lower leg. At first, The Wound Care Center provided Mario with an Unna boot, which is a special gauze bandage used for the treatment of wounds caused by insufficiencies in the leg. However, the long hours and often laborious work involved in running a bowling alley left Mario with swelling at the end of the night.

“In wound care you have to diagnose more than just the wound,” said Shelly empathically. “As a team, our goal is to listen to each patient and understand their daily lifestyle in order to determine the best individualized treatment plan.”

A polymeric membrane dressing was applied in place of the Unna boot to address the swelling issue. This relatively new treatment option is designed to alleviate pain and absorb drainage. This dressing, paired with compression stockings, allowed the wound to heal and Mario to work without side effects or the need for oral medication.

“In a lot of cases, the wound ends up defining the person,” said Shelly. “It is disheartening when we hear patients say they have had their wound for so long that it has completely hindered who they are as a person. Knowing that is a reality, it is very rewarding for us when we are able to help a patient like Mario heal from a wound and return to normal daily activities.”

Mario, who enjoys the serenity of building model ships at his home after long days at work said, “This is the first time in 10 years that I have felt free from my wound and the pain. Now I can enjoy my job, my family and my hobby. I would recommend The Wound Care Center to anyone, as it has restored my health and my quality of life.”

For more information about The Wound Care Center, call 828-262-9520 or visit www.apprhs.org/services/wound-care-center.

Hospital Visitation Restrictions Requested

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also important that during this time of increased flu and flu like illness in our area, visitors 12 and under should refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is on the rise in the U.S. with all 50 states reporting sporadic to widespread illness. North Carolina is reporting widespread illness.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness. While everyone who presents is not tested for the flu, the System’s facilities have reported more than 320 have been tested for flu since November 2013.

“Patients are very vulnerable while in the hospital, so we are appealing to those community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities,” stated Dr. Herman Godwin, Chief Medical Officer for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients safe.”

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. There are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu: Protect yourself, your family and your community
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
  • In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit www.flu.gov/.

Don’t skip a Beat: Heart Shape is February 8th

February is heart month and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is proud to sponsor its 2nd Annual Heart Shape event on Saturday, February 8, from 9 am – 1 pm at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, located at 232 Boone Heights Drive in Boone.

Free and open to the public, Heart Shape offers participants an opportunity to explore the Wellness Center while learning about heart health and cardiology services available in the High Country.

The event will feature a comprehensive health fair with a variety of free screenings and information about ARHS services. The first 30 participants to visit the cardiology table may schedule a free pocket electrocardiogram (EKG) at the Cardiology Center. EKG vouchers will be sold afterwards for $20.

In addition, ARHS is proud to announce that its first Health Talk series of 2014 will take place during Heart Shape. The two-part series will begin with a talk entitled “Atrial Fibrillation” by Cardiologist, Dr. Andrew Hordes at 10 am. The second talk entitled “Cardiac Disease” by Cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Helak will be given at 11 am. Both talks will feature prize drawings and an opportunity to ask questions.

Free fitness classes are also available for participants who would like to get their hearts pumping. The fitness class schedule includes Spin and Yoga at 9:15 am, followed by Zumba and Water Fitness at 10:15 am.

Heart Shape will conclude with a healthy cooking demonstration offered at noon. Additional healthy snacks will be provided throughout the morning by Earth Fare and Bare Essentials.

For more information about Heart Shape, visit www.apprhs.org/heartshape or call 828-268-8960.

The New Year looks bright for Jerry Markland

Jerry Markland, 65, has a lot to look forward to in 2014 thanks to the Appalachian Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program (ACRP) in Avery County.

Markland, a West Virginia native and Air Force veteran is thankful to finally be receiving positive health results after fighting the battle of his life. Since being diagnosed with coronary artery disease, Markland has persevered through two heart attacks, two open heart surgeries in which 11 vessels were bypassed, multiple stents and the installation of a pacemaker over the past 11 years.

“Those were challenging years for me, my wife Phyllis and our three sons,” said Markland. “Everyone wanted to help but I caught myself pulling away.”

Despite all of his surgical procedures, Markland was disappointed to learn that he was still displaying very limited heart function. His lowest point came in 2009, when he was deemed disabled and unable to continue to work.

Dr. David Kimmel of Elk River Medical Associates

Dr. David Kimmel of Elk River Medical Associates

In search of nonsurgical alternatives, Markland turned to his trusted physician of 26 years, Dr. David Kimmel of Elk River Medical Associates.

“I have known Jerry for a long time and could tell how frustrated he was with his long suffering heart condition,” said Dr. Kimmel. “That’s why, after witnessing his motivation to get better and reviewing his medical history, I suggested that he participate in our Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program.”

In 2010, Markland enrolled in ACRP. A resident of Elk Park, Markland appreciated the convenient location of the program located in the Sloop Medical Office Plaza adjacent to Williams YMCA of Avery County.

ACRP is a collaborative effort between Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and Appalachian State University’s Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science. The 36 session medically supervised exercise program is designed to reduce the cardiovascular risk factors of the participant’s medical history by improving their heart function and their exercise threshold.

As a new participant, Markland took part in an orientation session, which included a comprehensive assessment of his needs and goals. After completing the assessment, Markland participated in a pre metabolic exercise test which includes an electrocardiogram (EKG) test to determine his baseline aerobic fitness capacity. At which point, an individual exercise plan was created for Markland to follow throughout the course of the program.

As is customary with each participant, Markland’s EKG, heart rate and oxygen saturation levels were monitored during each of his exercise sessions for safety and measurement purposes. Beyond the exercise component of the program, Markland took advantage of the information sessions and the group support available through ACRP.

Upon his successful completion of the program, Markland noticed a significant improvement in his heart function, attitude and ability to perform his daily living activities without requiring a break. 

Jerry Markland with Beth Ann Scott CES Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Jerry Markland with Beth Ann Scott CES Clinical Exercise Physiologist

“I was blown away at how my health had dramatically improved since starting cardiopulmonary rehab,” said Markland with a grin. “After reviewing my progress in my post metabolic and EKG scores, I was eager to sign up for another session.”

As is the protocol with ACRP, Markland was reevaluated and his therapy plan modified to maximize his benefit prior to beginning another round of rehabilitation.  

“It’s like he has gotten his life back,” said Beth Ann Scott CES Clinical Exercise Physiologist and member of the ACRP team. Scott has worked with and encouraged Markland over the last two years by planning out his exercise program and charting his progress. 

“I still remember my first session,” said Markland with a smile. “I was barely able to walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes. Now, after everything I have been through, I can exercise for more than an hour.”

Markland’s restored function comes as an answer to a long awaited prayer. His improved condition has been verified by his doctors, the ACRP team and most importantly his wife Phyllis. The couple plan to celebrate Markland’s recovery with trips to Italy and Africa later this year.  

“I could not have done it without the help and encouragement of the ACRP team,” said Markland who is now a three time graduate of the program. With no plans to reenroll, Markland, has already joined Williams YMCA of Avery County and is exercising on his own – a feat few thought would be possible a couple of years ago.  

For more information about the Appalachian Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Program offered in both Linville and Boone, call 828-737-7069 or visit www.apprhs.org/cardiac-rehab.  


Cancer survivor Jane Eberle benefits from the new Thrive Oncology Program

Cancer survivor, Jane Eberle, is thankful for the compassionate cancer, surgical and rehabilitative care she received from Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS).  

In her early twenties, the ambitious Watauga County native left her home in Blowing Rock with eyes set on Washington D.C. Always fascinated by politics, Eberle spent the next 35 years working in and around Capitol Hill. Her impressive career includes, serving under Congressman Jim Broyhill, as well as, former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.

Eberle’s perennial devotion to her exciting career was eventually overshadowed by the familiar allure of the mountains. In 2002, Eberle decided to move back to the High Country to retrace her favorite hiking trails and spend some more time on the golf course.

Tragedy struck in 2006 when Eberle was diagnosed with breast cancer. Devastated, Eberle elected to have her mastectomy preformed at Watauga Medical Center.

“I love Watauga Medical Center,” said Eberle through a tearful smile. “It is convenient and has provided excellent care for me over the years through each of my procedures.”

In 2009, Eberle was once again a patient at Watauga Medical Center when she had her right hip replaced.

“After my successful hip replacement, everything was going fine. Until last year, when the cancer raised its ugly head again,” said a frustrated Eberle. “I noticed suspicious tumor markers last August and I was diagnosed in October with triple negative breast cancer.”

One of the unfortunate outcomes of triple negative breast cancer is that the only treatment option available is chemotherapy. In January, under the direction of Medical Oncologist, Anne Sobol M.D., Eberle began chemotherapy treatments at the Seby B. Jones Cancer Center. Regrettably, the cancer morphed into metastatic breast cancer and spread to her lower spine and lymph nodes.

Discouraged by the prognosis that chemotherapy would be a necessity for the remainder of her life, Eberle found solace in Paul Young, RN, OCN, Oncology Nurse Navigator at Seby B. Jones Cancer Center. Young has 14 years of experience working with cancer patients. He does a remarkable job partnering with patients and their families, offering assistance with education, emotional support and help obtaining financial assistance.

“Paul is a wonderful encourager,” said Eberle. “He is very attentive to my condition and he recommended that I participate in the Thrive program.”  

Offered at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, Thrive is a medically supervised program that transitions patients from more acute phases of chronic disease management to wellness. Thrive consists of three components – Rehabilitation, Cardiopulmonary and Oncology.

“Jane was a good candidate for Thrive because she was suffering from the draining effects of chemotherapy,” said Young. “She was very upbeat about the opportunity and willing to take part in the program.”

The Thrive program, offered three days a week, provides a multidisciplinary team approach to wellness. The wellness staff works in collaboration with the patient’s physician to measure outcomes as they transition to a healthier lifestyle.

Eberle shared that she felt exhausted and depressed after each chemotherapy treatment. However, since joining the Thrive program, a little over four months ago, she has regained her strength and joined a support group.

“I cannot say enough good things about the Thrive staff,” said Eberle. “They keep a good eye on us as we make our way through a variety of exercises each session. Besides feeling better, I would have to say the most encouraging part is forming instantaneous friendships with other cancer survivors. We are all there for the same reason and we encourage each other.”

Eberle, who recently decided to have her left hip replaced at Watauga Medical Center, shared that she is very impressed with how health care has advanced in the High Country during her lifetime.

“When I was growing up, the hospital was still located across from where Stick Boy Bread is now, said Eberle. “We in Watauga County are so blessed to have our present facilities.  It enables the residents to have quality healthcare without having to go off the mountain.  I am so impressed with Richard Sparks and how the care is now so expansive.”

Eberle, who is looking forward to winter so she can wear sweaters once again said, “My faith is what keeps me going. I believe God has a plan so I can have hope.”

For more information about Thrive, call 828-266-1060 or visit www.apprhs.org/thrive.

For more information about Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, visit www.apprhs.org/sbjcc.