The bonds of friendship kept Elizabeth Machen and Danielle Collie in each other’s lives over the years, but a shared passion for service has them teaming up to co-chair this year’s Bolo Bash Luncheon benefiting the Baptist Health Foundation.
Returning this fall, the signature event features a luncheon with keynote speaker Olympian Nastia Liukin and a fashion show, as well as a VIP reception the night before, all to support the Baptist Health Breast Center.
Soirée sat down with the duo to learn about the bash, the foundation and their heart for community at the center of it all.
How did you first get involved with the Baptist Health Foundation?
DC: My family has had a long history with Baptist Health, so when I was at an event a little over 10 years ago and met Missy Lewis and Rebecca Scalfe who both worked in the foundation at the time, it was a no-brainer when they asked me to join one of their Bolo Bash committees. I started on Bolo Bash Golf at the time, and the following year they created the Baptist Foundation Associate Board of Directors and asked me to be a part of their young professionals’ leadership group.
EM: I was recruited by Danielle! Danielle reached out and asked me to join the associate board. Since that time, my loyalty to Baptist has grown because both of my babies were born there (Dr. Wiedower is superwoman) and my dad now works at Baptist as a cardiovascular surgeon.
What kept you coming back and led you to Bolo Bash?
DC: I truly believe in the mission and vision of Baptist Health. I myself have had excellent care at the hospital, from a 28-day hospital stay in my teens to both of my babies being born at the hospital. The nurses, physicians and all the way up to the leadership team, they truly care about changing lives, healing Arkansans and serving our community to the best of their ability. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? As for Bolo Bash, I started attending the luncheon several years ago with a family friend and loved every minute. It’s always been a special event in Little Rock and helped to raise money for key needs for the hospital for many years.
EM: Baptist Health Medical Center in Arkansas — and the total Baptist Health System — is the largest in the state. Success for Baptist is success for the people of Arkansas. I want top-notch health care for my family, friends and neighbors, so I’m invested in the success of Baptist. Bolo Bash is such a great legacy event for central Arkansas, and I want to continue that legacy. I hope it is still around 30 years from now and my daughter is attending with her friends.
What's something you wish more people knew about the Baptist Health Breast Center?
DC: The Baptist Health Breast Center works in conjunction with the Baptist Health High-Risk Breast & Hereditary Cancer Clinic, and combined they care for over 40,000 women and their families annually. Baptist knows the importance of early detection and has an excellent team in place to help those at higher risk of breast cancer with not only genetic testing and screening for the patient, but also the same level of testing for family members since we know this can often be hereditary. It truly is so encouraging to get an up-close and personal look at the work being done here day in and day out.
EM: Early detection opportunities. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Early detection can increase survival rates by nearly 100%. It is essential that we make our health a priority.
Bolo Bash made its return last year, rejoining the annual event calendar. What new elements do you have in store for this year?
DC: We’re excited to be hosting this year’s event at a new venue, City Center Little Rock. Our new location is centrally located, has excellent parking and plenty of room for everyone to mingle during our pre-luncheon reception. We’re also very excited to present a more upscale and curated silent auction.
EM: This year will also feature a revamp of the private reception the night before the luncheon. We are hoping to introduce the next generation to the legacy of Bolo Bash.
What sort of insight are you hoping guests gain from keynote speaker Nastia Liukin?
DC: Nastia has always been an inspirational woman in the gymnastics world. We are excited to hear from her about her journey competing at the Olympic level, her career in broadcast journalism, as well as the launch of an exclusive clothing collab at Dillard’s with Giani Bini. Also, one of her gymnastics coaches is a breast cancer survivor, and Nastia found a lot of motivation and inspiration in her journey, so her ties to the cause make it extra special.
EM: I remember watching Nastia win her Olympic gold medals in 2008 in her Barbie pink leotard. I’ve grown up watching Olympic gymnastics, and there is nothing like it. I know Nastia will have a wealth of advice on work ethic, team building and dealing with adversity, and I always love hearing from strong women.
What are you most excited about for the event itself?
DC: The Bolo Bash Luncheon has always been one of my favorite events. It’s full of wonderful people in our community coming together for a lovely lunch and an interesting and inspiring speaker, all while supporting life-giving, healing ministries. Please join us at either the evening reception, luncheon or both. We’d love to have you!
EM: It is hard to narrow it down to one thing. I’m thrilled that we will be able to share the work of the breast center and hopefully provide awareness of the life-saving early detection services available. I also know the space will be beautiful, and I love a fashion show!
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