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Last updated: July 21. 2014 11:25AM - 1510 Views
By James Johnson jamesjohnson@civitasmedia.com



James Johnson | The Robesonian Lumberton Outback Steakhouse managers Mandi Parker, left, and J. Sims, are hoping this year's fundraiser will be bigger than any they have previously held before.
James Johnson | The Robesonian Lumberton Outback Steakhouse managers Mandi Parker, left, and J. Sims, are hoping this year's fundraiser will be bigger than any they have previously held before.
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LUMBERTON — On Saturday Robeson County residents are being invited to take part in a good old-fashioned Australian walkabout, or perhaps more accurately, a “run-about,” as Lumberton’s Outback Steakhouse holds its first ever Aussie 5K run event.


The event, which will begin at 9 a.m. on Chestnut Street and end just behind the downtown courthouse, will cost $10 to participate in. Proceeds from the event and the sell of $10 T-shirts will go to the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance.


According to Mandi Parker, key manager at the eatery, this won’t be the first time that Outback will have held a fundraiser for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, but this year the staff is hoping that this will be the biggest fundraiser to date.


“We were trying to find all sorts of different ideas to raise money,” Parker said. “We have done car washes and bake sales, but that can only raise a few hundred dollars. This year we wanted to get the community involved and raise awareness, to make it bigger than ever.”


The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance was founded in 1998 as a way of raising money for research into finding a cure for Friedreich’s ataxia, an inherited disease known to cause damage to the nervous system.


“We have been working with the Research Alliance since 2009,” said J. Sims, Lumberton managing partner of Outback. “It is a charity that has a special place in the heart of one of the company’s founders, who I believe has had a child diagnosed with the disease.”


According to Sims, out of all of the Outback Steakhouses in North Carolina, Lumberton’s steakhouse has regularly raised the most money for the fundraiser.


Outback Steakhouse is an Australian-themed family restaurant that was founded in 1988. I has more than 900 locations across the United States, Canada and South Korea. Besides standard family steakhouse fare, the restaurant has become famous for its signature Bloomin’ Onion dish.


This year the fundraiser has received some help from the Robeson Road Runners and Jef Lambdin, the group’s president.


“Jef is the best, and it has been really important to us to have the community so involved and interested,” Parker said. “So far we have had a lot of people say they are going to attend, even some from out of town. We are hoping to get at least 100 participants.”


To register on the day of the event, organizers are asking participants to meet just behind the Robeson County Courthouse.


James Johnson can be reached at 910-272-6144, or on Twitter @JJohnsonRobeson.


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