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Excursion benefits Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center

August 13th, 2012 11:28 am by Marsha Salley

Excursion benefits Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center

Richard Carter and Allen Booth will ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, Sept. 7-16, to raise money for Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center.

Early September is a great time to enjoy a leisurely excursion up the Blue Ridge Parkway. Richard Carter and Allen Booth are planning such an excursion, Sept. 7-16, but leisure will be the last thing on their minds.

The two men are biking the entire length of the parkway as a fundraiser for the Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center.

"It's 470 miles total, with 48,000 feet of mountain passage to cover," said Carter.

Carter is a retired anesthesiologist and Booth an engineer from Eastman Chemical Company. Their friendship was formed over their mutual interest of bike riding, as well as community service. Carter serves on the board of directors of the Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center, and last year did a solo ride to promote the organization. The center is a nonprofit agency that provides treatment for children and adults for a variety of speech and hearing impairments including hearing loss, speech issues like stuttering, autism-related communication problems and swallowing difficulties. 

Paying for these needed treatments is difficult for many families.

"Some patients are uninsured but even those who have insurance find their policies don't cover all the services or the co-pays are extremely high. And when a patient had multiple conditions paying for all the treatments can put a real financial burden on any family," says Keltie Kerney, the Executive Director of Mountain Region. "One third of our patients need scholarship assistance and the average need for a scholarship is $1,200."

Last year, Carter's ride brought in $23,000 for patient scholarships.  

It has been Carter's dream to do a cross country bike ride and drawing attention to a worthy cause while riding, just gives him an added bonus.  Booth's wife will drive her car alongside the bikers and then the three will camp at night. The entire ride will take eight days, weather permitting. That schedule includes a couple of days with no riding so the pair can rest. 

The staff of Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center is thrilled to have such committed volunteers helping them treat the needs of the region.

"We can't say thank you enough to Dr. Carter and Mr. Booth for drawing attention to the needs of these patients," says Kerney. "Of course we appreciate donations of any amount but, in view of the 48,000 feet of climbing, we suggest donations in increments of 48, such as $48, $96, $144, etc. For those who are able, we would encourage them to sponsor an entire scholarship of $1,200."

Tax deductible donations can be mailed to: Mountain Region Speech and Hearing Center, 301 Louis Street, Suite 101, Kingsport, TN 37660.     


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