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Local Fourth Grader Donates His Birthday Gifts to Hospitalized Patients of Appalachian Regional Healthcare

Aug. 2, 2013. What could be better than a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed birthday party? For nine-year-old D’Artagnan McCoy, the answer was simple. McCoy asked his party guests to bring a gift that would be donated to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) and shared with kids who are hospitalized.

“I already have lots of toys,” said the rising home schooled fourth grader.

“I like to help people. It make everyone, including myself, feel good.”

D’Artagnan, named after the famous leader of the Three Musketeers, lived up to his name when he shared his selfless idea with his parents, Randy “Doc” and Trina McCoy, owners of Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine. 

Together, the McCoys discussed who should be the beneficiary of the birthday gifts, but the final decision was left up to D’Artagnan.

“Being a parent, you wonder if you are doing the right things,” said Trina with a smile. “However, with D’Artagnan, this certainly is confirmation. He has a huge heart and is a blessing to everyone who meets him.”

The McCoys shared the birthday gift idea with their friend, Jessica Powell, MBA, CFRE, the Annual Giving Coordinator at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation.

777Powell and the McCoys first crossed paths last summer when they notified ARHS that Doc’s Rocks had been fundraising all year for the cancer center and were prepared to donate $6,350 to the Cancer Patient Emergency Fund. The family was moved to support the Cancer Patient Emergency Fund after Randy’s sister lost her battle with breast cancer in 2007. The fund provides assistance to patients undergoing cancer treatments to help with the daily life essentials including medication, gasoline, electricity, etc. 

“The McCoys are a generous and kind family,” said Powell. 

“They care so much about our community and their son D’Artagnan is an amazing young man, full of compassion and a heart willing to share with others.”

On June 19, the family loaded the Doc’s Rocks truck with boxes full of birthday gifts and headed to Watauga Medical Center to make D’Artagnan’s donation. With big smiles on their faces and their arms full of gifts, D’Artagnan, his parents and grandparents entered the hospital and met Powell, who was waiting with a wheeled cart. There were so many gifts that they barely fit on the cart. 

Powell led the family down the hall to meet Barbara McGuire Campbell, RN, BSN, BS, MPH, Watauga Medical Center’s Director of In-Patient Operations, while D’Artagnan pushed the cart. 

“This young man is an example of family values manifesting into the next generation,” said Campbell. “We are a community and as a community we care for  each other. Caring can be anything from a coloring book to a pledge donation.”

D’Artagnan grinned attentively as he sat in Campbell’s office, surrounded by a host of presents and admiring ARHS employees, and discussed with Campbell how the gifts would be distributed. The two agreed that it would be best to share D’Artagnan’s birthday presents with children that are admitted to the hospital and with children visiting that would like a toy or coloring book.

778Once word got out about D’Artagnan’s generous birthday gift idea, friends, family and customers began stopping by the family’s house and the gem mine to donate an extra gift for his cause.

For the past two years, Randy and Trina have donated the proceeds of each rose quartz gem, the breast cancer stone, cut at Doc’s Rocks to the Cancer Patient  Emergency Fund. They also donate the proceeds earned on the last Saturday in October. It’s easy to see why D’Artagnan’s desire to give back has flourished. 

“He is with us all day at the mine, and he witnesses others volunteer their time and money,” Randy said proudly. “We like to donate to what we believe in.”

As the McCoys left the hospital that day, a multitude of hugs, smiles and high-fives were shared with D’Artagnan.

“The impact of a selfless gift is limitless,” said Campbell as she waved goodbye to the family. 

“A smile, a moment of creativity, a birthday gift shared, all lead to the most important thing, a patient who knows someone cares and a donor who is fulfilled.”

For more information about making a donation, call Jessica Powell at 828-268-9051 or visit www.apprhs.org/foundation.

For more information about Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, visit www.apprhs.org.