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Hope Regala Raises Record Amount for Clinic with a Mission
Over $140k raised to help those in need
June 13, 2019

he 2019 Hope Regala Weekend, Hope Clinic’s largest annual fundraiser, grossed more than $140,000 during the weekend event. Executive Director Sheri Rettew said it was the most successful fundraiser in the clinic’s history.

Hope Regala 2019
The ice sculpture of the Hope Clinic logo withstood the heat and humidity, but barely.

Despite a rainy weekend, the tents were packed. 200 attended Friday night, eating Brinson’s BBQ and listening live music from Harbor Sounds. Saturday night, 220 attended. The Flame Catering and Banquet Center in New Bern catered the event.

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A note from the center piece, a golden ticket, and music students entertain the crowd.

More than $32,000 was raised in the live auction alone. The audience bid on a week-long trip to Anguilla, box seats at the 2020 Kentucky Derby, a day sail on the Chesapeake with famed sailor Gary Jobson, a private tour of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, and more.

Each year, 200 tickets are raffled off for $100 each. Half the money goes to the clinic and the other half to one lucky winner. This year, Matt Deaton, of Deaton’s Yacht Service, won the 10k Golden Raffle ticket. Matt chose ticket #13 when he made his purchase, and it proved to be the lucky number. Last year, the Golden Ticket winner returned the money to the Clinic. This year, and going forward, the winner was forbidden from doing so.

Hope Regala 2019
Regala Chair Jean White and Executive Director Sheri Rettew present Matt Deaton with his $10k Golden Raffle Winnings.

At the end of the evening, paddles were raised to pledge monthly donations – not for a prize, but for charity. This year’s Regala pulled in $20k more than last year, grossing more than $140k total. It represents 25% of Hope Clinic’s yearly operating budget and, says Sheri Rettew, “says how very much our community supports the work of Hope Clinic, saving lives.”

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At Friday night’s BBQ, volunteers from Reelsboro United Methodist Church served up David Brinson’s BBQ. Harbor Sounds played, along with some of Dixie Gatlin’s students.
Hope Regala 2019
Dixie Gatlin of Harbor Sounds lights up her bow as the sun begins to set at the Friday night BBQ.
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Chef Smoke of The Flame Catering and Banquet Center in New Bern catered the Gala.
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Executive Director Sheri Rettew.
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Hope Clinic provides relief at each table, Rusty Huffines’ pink short pants make a return, and a table set with the live auction items.
Hope Regala 2019
220 attendees packed the tent Saturday night.
About Hope Clinic

It began as an outreach ministry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in 1998, offering free health care to the medically needy. The next year, it transitioned into a non-profit powered by volunteers. Today, it is staffed by 7 part-time staff members, 1 executive director, and more than 100 volunteers (including doctors and nurses) who manage patient cases, extensive paper work, and transportation and referral arrangements for the adults who seek their services.

On Thursday nights, two volunteers, a nurse, and a pharmacist take up stations in a small room, partially fenced room inside the Pamlico County Health Department. Shelves of white plastic bottles line three walls. Beyond the door, patients wait in the halls for their medications.

The clinic dispenses over $2m a year in free prescription drugs (no controlled substances are housed at the pharmacy), most of which have been obtained through patient assistance programs sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies.

Hope Regala 2019
Pharmacy night at Hope Clinic – volunteers and staff work in the small space to fill prescriptions.

“Every thing that we can get for free, we do,” says Executive Director Sheri Rettew.

She explains that the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) and Medicare do not cover adults unless they have extraordinary circumstances. Medicaid only covers those younger than 21 or older than 65, or those who are blind, ruled to be disabled, or who need long-term care. In North Carolina, the Affordable Care Act only covers those who make more than $12,490/year. It leaves a large part of able-bodied population un or under-insured.

Many clinic patients are living in poverty and cannot afford multiple copays, diagnostic tests, or their medications. These costs limit the insurance options and after paying rent, electricity, transportation costs, and food, little left over to pay for healthcare.

“When you’re in a small, rural county where the poverty is generational and the resources are few and far away, you get stuck. People are just trying to do the best they can,” Rettew explained. “You get people that have chronic illnesses. You find cancer – all kind of things – that they just let go because they didn’t know. They couldn’t afford it anyway if they did know. So you get a lot of people that are really, really sick.”

Hope Clinic staff spend much of their time managing cases – reading lab reports and filling out drug assistance requests to scheduling specialist referrals and lining up transportation. But tending to the physical health of their patients is not enough.

Hope Regala 2019
Sheri Rettew speaks with Hope Clinic staff in their shared office.

Rettew recognizes that many of the medical problems facing the hundreds of people Hope Clinic serves are not just a result of poverty, but a convergence of several issues stemming from social, economic, and generational obstacles.

Some patients are illiterate. Others suffer with mental or physical trauma. Drug addiction is a common coping method. Rettew has added mental health counseling to Hope Clinic’s offerings and, with the support of Sheriff Chris Davis, the New Beginnings outpatient opioid and alcohol addiction program.

Currently, Hope Clinic shares a building with the County Health Department, tucked away behind the courthouse in Bayboro. The two entities share space – offices, exam rooms, waiting rooms – juggling schedules and filling every available space with people or equipment. Rettew hopes for a future where Hope Clinic has a dedicated building on Highway 55. The visibility would help them reach more people who need them. And it would allow them to do more in the community, like hosting literacy and occupational programs.

It’s why fundraisers, like the Hope Regala, are so important. Rettew will tell you, it helps save lives.

If you would like to donate to or volunteer at Hope Clinic, visit them at HopeClinic.net

Hope Regala 2019
The Health Clinic and Hope Clinic share space behind the Bayboro County Courthouse. On the wish list for executive director Sheri Rettew: space enough for them both.

Posted Thursday June 13, 2019 by Allison DeWeese

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