BBQ

A plastic surgeon, a brewery, a BBQ joint and cancer care: How ‘BoobieQue’ was born

‘BoobieQue’ co-founder Dr. Emily McLaughlin, second from right, at a previous ‘BoobieQue’ event. McLaughlin, a plastic surgeon, helped found the beer-and-barbecue bash to help provide support for cancer patients. From left: Jeff Knipper (McLaughlin’s husband), Fritz Rahr (the event takes place at Rahr & Sons Brewing on Fort Worth’s Near Southside), Matt Wallace (a board member of Fighting Right, the organization behind the event), McLaughlin, Danielle Leblanc (also a plastic surgeon, and Wallace’s wife).
‘BoobieQue’ co-founder Dr. Emily McLaughlin, second from right, at a previous ‘BoobieQue’ event. McLaughlin, a plastic surgeon, helped found the beer-and-barbecue bash to help provide support for cancer patients. From left: Jeff Knipper (McLaughlin’s husband), Fritz Rahr (the event takes place at Rahr & Sons Brewing on Fort Worth’s Near Southside), Matt Wallace (a board member of Fighting Right, the organization behind the event), McLaughlin, Danielle Leblanc (also a plastic surgeon, and Wallace’s wife).

Sunday afternoon, an event called “BoobieQue 3” will take place at Rahr & Sons Brewing on Fort Worth’s Near Southside. BoobieQue’s unofficial slogan is “Beer + BBQ + Boobs.”

The beer comes from Rahr; the BBQ comes from Heim Barbecue on West Magnolia Avenue. The third part of the slogan is slightly more complicated.

When Heim transformed from a barbecue trailer to its Magnolia brick-and-mortar in 2016, Emily McLaughlin and her husband were first in line.

McLaughlin is the first female plastic surgeon to open a practice in Fort Worth. Her West Magnolia Plastic Surgery is across the street from Heim. But she’d been a fan since Travis and Emma Heim’s days of setting up a trailer in the parking lot of Republic Street Bar, where McLaughlin and her husband also often tried to be first in line.

McLaughlin is a co-founder of Fighting Right, the organization that founded BoobieQue. The organization has several sponsorship levels, including “A cup” to “DD cup.”

Obviously, there’s a sense of humor at work here. The signature event is called BoobieQue, after all. But the roots are serious.

As a plastic surgeon, McLaughlin had done her share of reconstructive surgeries, and she has undergone elective surgery herself. The idea of surgery didn’t scare her.

But then she received her own breast-cancer diagnosis, and found herself on the other side of the equation. She discovered that, as a patient, she had a lot to go through that she hadn’t previously thought about.

“When cancer is the driving force, it’s a different ballgame,” McLaughlin, says in a phone interview. “Navigating the system as a patient, even when you’re an insider — I mean, I had the surgery at a hospital where I’m on staff — there were so many things that were occurring.

“They weren’t necessarily bad, but they were about the care of the patient, and is the system really thinking about the patient. Are we taking into consideration that you might be scared and we’re gonna take you for this test without your people coming with you, your support system.”

Although McLaughlin’s double-mastectomy surgery went well, and she had a strong support group to lean on, her eyes were opened. to cancer. About four months later, she was having a conversation with a friend, Carrie Carter. They felt like they could do something to raise some money to help groups that provide emotional support to patients.

Which is how “BoobieQue” was born in 2016. McLaughlin also knew Fritz and Erin Rahr from Rahr Brewing. When she approached the Rahrs and Heims about putting together an event, she says, their response was “What can we do?”

“We weren’t really sure what we were capable of,” McLaughlin says. “The first BoobieQue came together in six weeks, with zero funding. It was a privately funded ‘Hail Mary’ to see if we could have a party and raise some money ... sort of not knowing what we could expect from that first one, we raised $80,000 on a Sunday afternoon..”

McLaughlin, Carter and others established Fighting Right, which has raised more than $200,000 for cancer care since its inception. They chose Cancer Care Services, a Fort Worth-based organization founded in 1946 that provides support to cancer patients, their families and their caregivers, as their primary beneficiary.

“My heart and soul is in this for every reason, because of what we’re doing for other people,” McLaughlin says. “There are few things more powerful than philanthropy, I’ve learned. It’s a very, very rewarding thing.”

In its young life, BoobieQue has grown quickly. Sunday’s party will be bigger than the first one, with music by Fort Worth-based R&B band Legacy 4 and games including “bra pong” and the “tata toss.” There will be live and silent auctions, and DFW Selfie Station will have a photo booth.

“We had a shoestring budget that first year,” McLaughlin says. “It was still a great event, but it didn’t have the finesse that I think bigger events do. This year, because of our previous success, it’s just a more streamlined, sophisticated event. It’s the same spirit, it’s the same fun. It’s barbecue, beer and boobs.”

BoobieQue 3 will be noon-4 p.m. Sunday at Rahr & Sons, 701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth. Tickets are $50 in advance for adults, $60 at the door. Children’s tickets are $10. For tickets, visit https://www.muradauctions.net/boobieque/tickets. All proceeds benefit Cancer Care Services.

For more information, email info@boobieque.org or follow BoobieQue on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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