In conjunction with World Autism Month, Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) and its foundation, the PMC Foundation for Quality Healthcare, are teaming up with the Appalachian Center for the Arts (APP) to announce a benefit performance of the Marvelous Wonderettes to both promote the mission of and raise funds for the expansion of the Appalachian Valley Autism (AVA) Center. This dinner theater performance on Sunday, August 8th, 2021 at 5:00pm, will benefit the ongoing Speak from the Heart fundraising campaign which is working to provide the AVA Center with enough space for every child in our community on the autism spectrum in need of life-changing Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapy.

Pikeville Medical Center President/Chief Executive Officer, Donovan Blackburn, says demand for services provided by the AVA Center has far exceeded the initial expectations. “Since opening in May of 2020, we have quickly progressed from Phase I to Phase III, and we are looking ahead to future phases to allow us to meet the overwhelming demand for these services,” explained Blackburn.  “Simply put, we have no more available space and are seeking the public’s support to allow us to expand.   I am grateful to the folks at the APP for their unwavering support of those on the autism spectrum.”

To date, nearly $500,000 has been raised toward funding the $1.4 million AVA Center expansion project.  However, PMC Foundation Executive Director Andrew H. Scott says there is still a long way to go to reach the goal.

“This new collaboration is pivotal to both spreading awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in our region and completing Phases IV and V of our expansion,” said Scott.  “Since day one, the APP has been extremely supportive of the AVA’s Center’s mission and I am extremely excited to work with their leadership team.  Our region is truly blessed to have this amazing group in Eastern Kentucky.”

Robin Irwin, Executive Director of the APP as well as an award-winning actor, educator, and Director in her own right, is equally as excited for this performance.   Irwin says  she believes there is true potential for teamwork among community organizations to grow and impact the lives of children on the autism spectrum.

“If the money raised by this performance changes the life of just one child, I’ll be over-the-moon happy,” said  Irwin. “We know the residents of Pikeville and surrounding communities will join together with us and ensure that many lives are changed by this performance, not just one. So, the sky’s the limit!”

Tickets for the APP’s Dinner Theatre performance of the Marvelous Wonderettes to benefit the Appalachian Valley Autism Center are now on sale and can be purchased online by  visiting or by calling the box office at (606)262-4004.

For more information about the Speak from the Heart fundraising campaign or how to donate, please visit


About the Appalachian Center for the Arts (APP)

 The APP, founded in 2019, is an arts and entertainment venue seeking to create a regional arts hub in Pikeville by championing, cultivating and presenting the stories of our town, our region and our world. To learn more about the APP, please visit .

 About The PMC Foundation

 The PMC Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Pikeville Medical Center, Inc., a not-for-profit, 348-bed regional healthcare organization serving the heart of central Appalachia. The Foundation’s sole function is to support and promote Pikeville Medical Center’s mission of providing world-class, quality healthcare in a Christian environment. To learn more about the PMC Foundation, please call Executive Director Andrew H. Scott at (606)794-3312 or visit .

About The Appalachian Valley Autism (AVA) Center

 The AVA Center is the first comprehensive center of its kind in Eastern Kentucky to offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Speech, Occupational, and Feeding therapies for children on the autism spectrum. To learn more about the AVA Center, or to donate, please visit .