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  • Writer's pictureCCN - Columbus County News

Cheers to Ten Years!

The 10th Annual UNC Health Southeastern Foundation Advocates’ Boots & BBQ Denim & Diamond Celebration presented by Lumber River United Way, Robeson County Board of Commissioners, and Robins & Morton, will be held Friday, October 28 from 7-11 p.m. at the Southeastern NC Agricultural Center Arena in Lumberton. The long-awaited return of Boots & BBQ will celebrate the Foundation Advocates championing UNC Health Southeastern while raising funds needed to support renovations to the Emergency Department. Proceeds from this year’s event will help provide an enhanced patient experience, focusing on patient safety, privacy, and comfort.

It was 12 years ago when the UNC Health Southeastern Foundation Board of Trustees sought to engage a group of young professional advocates who understood the importance of our regional health care system to the well-being of our community. Their mission was to assist in raising awareness of UNC Health Southeastern, its programs, community efforts, and to promote health. What the board found was a dynamic group of individuals working together to passionately support our community, its health initiatives and needs, which were identified by UNC Health Southeastern leadership and its Board of Trustees.

Since 2011, the Advocates have only been able to host nine Boots & BBQ events due to devastating effects of Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic. Even though Boots & BBQ had to be postponed following the hurricanes for the group to focus on addressing the needs of our neighbors and community, they came back stronger than ever to support original fundraising efforts while also raising funds for impacted UNC Health Southeastern team members and the Robeson County Church and Community Center’s Durable Medical Equipment Assistance Program.

Through Boots & BBQ, the Advocates, along with event sponsors, donors and guests, have helped raise almost $500,000 to support a wide range of efforts on behalf of UNC Health Southeastern and its Foundation. The group has advocated for the efforts previously mentioned as well as: BakPak Pals, walking trails at all the elementary schools in Robeson County, specialized wheelchairs, Maternal/Child Health departmental support including various neonatal and NICU equipment, Pediatric Rehab and Pediatric Hospice, bringing the region’s first exoskeleton to WoodHaven Short Term Rehab, proudly supporting the initiatives of Best Health Forward through Community Health Services, and the current campaign to support renovations to one the state’s busiest emergency department.

The Foundation Advocates have always set the bar high with their support in reaching great goals, and this year is no exception. They are determined to make a difference and have fun doing it! This year’s live entertainment presented by Healthkeeperz will be 20 Ride and catering will be provided by Fuller’s Old-Fashioned BBQ.

Since the Advocates began over a decade ago, many of its members have had personal experiences with how vitally important UNC Health Southeastern and its care providers are to our community, their health, and the health of their own families. These experiences only deepen their commitment to making long-lasting efforts to support UNC Health Southeastern for decades to come.

Heather Walters is the UNC Health Southeastern Foundation’s Annual Giving Specialist. Join us Friday, October 28 to celebrate UNC Health Southeastern and its health care providers, as well as the work of the Foundation Advocates and the community programs they have championed including their current campaign to support renovations to the UNC Health Southeastern Emergency Department. Visit to purchase sponsorships, tickets or make a direct donation if you are unable to attend. Contact the UNC Health Southeastern Foundation at (910) 671-5583 or for any additional information.

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