On Saturday, September 30th, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital will officially close the Labor and Delivery department. After Saturday women going into labor will need to go to Marion or Ashville to deliver their babies in a hospital facility. At 7:30 that evening, five pastors from Mitchell and Yancey counties will lead a candlelight Vigil for Healthcare at Riverside Park in Spruce Pine. The pastors participating in leading this vigil are Bill Whiteside (Vian's Valley Presbyterian), Jeremy Troxler (Spruce Pine Methodist), Travis Wynkoop (Griffith Chapel), Tommy James (First Baptist, Burnsville), and Michael Lamm. All who are concerned about the reduced availability of surgery and the closing of Labor & Delivery at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital are urged to attend this candlelight vigil. We will gather at the amphitheater to reflect on our concerns as people of faith.
The Vigil for Healthcare is co-sponsored by SEARCH (www.searchwnc.org) and by the Yancey-Mitchell branch of the NAACP. SEARCH (Sustaining Essential and Rural Community Healthcare) is a recently formed organization of concerned citizens that seeks to "empower greater involvement in decisions affecting the healthcare of our residents" and "to preserve, strengthen and expand access to essential medical services in our area." The Yancey-Mitchell NAACP mission "is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons."