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Fifth Annual Boots & BBQ Barn Bash features “The Voice” star, Johnny Hayes; Event benefits one of the largest pediatric rheumatology programs in the U.S.

MOBILE – The fifth annual Boots & BBQ Barn Bash kicks off Thursday, October 25 to benefit the Children’s of Alabama Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic in Mobile. Guests are invited to enjoy an evening of live music and barbecue at Moe’s Original Bar B Que located at 701 Springhill Avenue.

Festivities start at 6:30 p.m., with live music from Johnny Hayes and the Loveseats. Mobile local Johnny Hayes competed in Season 12 of NBC’s “The Voice” in 2017, turning chairs and heads as he advanced into the top 24 live rounds. Since Johnny’s debut, he and the Loveseats have begun their tour with a unique brand of rock ‘n soul music smothered in Southern charm. Guests are encouraged to wear their best pair of cowboy boots and come out to support a great cause for local children suffering from autoimmune disorders.

The Boots & BBQ Barn Bash is presented by Children’s of Alabama and Rheum4y’AL, an advocacy group that works with children across Alabama suffering from juvenile arthritis. This year’s event honors 17-year-old local Children’s of Alabama patient Lauren DeMarco. DeMarco was diagnosed with Calcinosis, Raynaud's Phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, scleroderma, and telangiectasia (more commonly known as CREST syndrome) when she was nine years old. A few years later, DeMarco was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) and juvenile arthritis as well. After being referred to Children’s of Alabama, DeMarco is now a happy 17-year-old who enjoys playing in her school marching band and assisting in dance class.

The inspiration behind the annual event is Children’s of Alabama patient Mary Carlton Johnson of Mobile. Johnson was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of two. Her family remains hopeful for a cure and works closely with the Rheum4y’AL advocacy group.

Proceeds from the Boots & BBQ Barn Bash will provide funding for pediatric rheumatologist Dr. Melissa Mannion to hold clinic in Mobile to treat the many children along the Gulf Coast suffering from autoimmune disorders such as pediatric rheumatoid arthritis. Currently, these children must travel four hours to Birmingham for treatment.

The Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic at Children’s of Alabama diagnoses and treats children with autoimmune disorders including juvenile arthritis, lupus, myositis, scleroderma, and various vasculitides. Clinical research aims to optimize the treatment of juvenile arthritis through diverse projects and depends on fundraisers like the Boots & BBQ Barn Bash to make this possible. For sponsorship information, please contact Kerrie Benson, the Gulf Coast coordinator for Children’s of Alabama, at or 251-610-4969. 

Admission is $40 per person. To register online, visit Further updates can also be found on the event’s Facebook page.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient surgery and diagnostic imaging services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen offices in communities across central and north Alabama. The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children is the only hospital in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet-designated hospital for excellence in nursing care. For the past three years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. It is a private, not-for-profit hospital that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. Last year, patients made more than 634,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 47 other states. More information is available at