By Jessica Isaacs
One local family-owned business invites you to join them in Blowing Rock on Saturday for their annual fundraising event to support breast cancer awareness and research. They’ve seen firsthand the devastating impacts of the disease, they’re passionate about fighting back and they want you to be a part of the change!
In 2007, husband-and-wife team Trina and Randy “Doc” McCoy set out to help the community and its visitors better understand the “hidden gems” that lie within the Appalachian Mountains. They opened “Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine” on U.S. Highway 321 in Blowing Rock, which has since expanded to include its own coffee shop and a its own fossil museum.
“The business itself is an education-based gem mine. We get our dirt from local mines across the Appalachian Mountain Range,” Doc said. “People buy a bucket and look through it, and then we teach them about what they’ve found and where it came from.
“Our fossil museum is the largest collection of real dinosaur fossils on display in North Carolina, and maybe the east coast. When people come in to do mining we teach them about crystal formation, or how minerals form into crystals. At the fossil museum, we teach them how that process can make or turn bones into rock.”
Establishing their own business was a feat of its own, but their family experienced another significant change when Doc’s youngest sister, Rotina, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in April of the same year.
Rotina, who later lost her life to the disease, is just one of Doc’s three sisters, and each one has fought her own battle with breast cancer. The two who have passed away and the one survivor each serve as Doc and Trina’s motivation to stand up to cancer.
In 2012, the McCoy’s started an annual fundraising event called “Mining for a Cure” through which they donated the entirety of one day’s income to the Cancer Patient Emergency Fund at Watauga Medical’s Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center.
“You tie so much money into treatment and finding a cure that the patient kind of gets neglected,” Doc said. “A lot of them lose their jobs and they don’t have money for treatments. Some of them get help, but some of them can’t, and that’s what why this fund was set in place.”
The fund helps local patients pay for treatments and medication, provides them rides to and from the hospital and can help offset other unexpected expenses that they may face during their battle.
The McCoy’s chose to support this fund because 100 percent of their donations would go directly to patients here in North Carolina’s High Country.
“Cancer hits so close to home for us, and it’s terrifying. After we decided to give to the cancer fund, we actually learned that two of my sisters had actually used it, which we didn’t even know about,” Doc said. “It’s something personal for us, and this is our way to fight it.”
The inaugural Mining for a Cure event led to a $6,000 donation to the emergency fund. It’s been held every year since, and the McCoy’s have been able to contribute more than $25,000 to the fund to date.
“We set a goal every year for about $10,000, and last year we came pretty close with more than $9,500. A family came in after closing that day and knocked on the door to ask us if we made our goal,” Doc said. “We told the man that we fell short but got really close. He wrote us a check for $1,000 on the spot to put us over our goal. Everyone in the building cried.”
If you want to help the McCoy family support local patients, stop by this year’s Mining for a Cure event on Saturday.
In addition to the gem mining, the coffee shop and the fossil museum, you can enjoy raffles for great local prizes every half hour or more and a chance to win one of four gemstones valued at more than $1,000 in total. Stones offered as prizes include a 1.9-carat pink star sapphire, a 3.2-carat tanzanite, a 0.7-carat moissanite (an impact diamond formed from a meteorite) and a 3.2-carat green amethyst.
The fun will take place during regular business hours at Doc’s from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will also include games, literature from the oncology center, massage therapy for donations and a silent auction featuring great prizes from establishments in the Boone and Blowing Rock communities.
“We’re donating 100 percent of it,” Doc said. “Every penny brought in by all three businesses that day.”
Want to go above and beyond? The McCoy’s anticipate welcoming a large crowd on Saturday, and they could use your help if you’re interested in volunteering to make it all happen.
“Just call or show up that day and say, ‘Hey, what can we do?’” Doc said. “Volunteers are definitely needed.”
If you want to make a donation to the fund, write your checks out to Doc’s Rocks or to the hospital and write “emergency fund” in the memo.
Visit Doc’s Rocks online to learn more or follow them on Facebook.
Check out these photos from last year’s event: