And the theme of Meridian’s 2018 Rialzo charity gala is…

from TheStarPress

MUNCIE, Ind. — We know the dress colors. We know the cause. And after a press conference Wednesday, we know what theme and band Meridian Health Services has chosen for its ninth annual Rialzo charity gala.

Meridian announced its fundraising event will be called “Meridian’s Magic Carpet Ride: Elevating the Maternal Treatment Program.” Beth Clark, Meridian’s vice president of marketing, said this year’s theme coincides with the dress colors — jewel tones of pink, purple, orange, teal and gold — and the cause, one of the organization’s newest programs.

“We wanted to bring it back to the mission of Meridian and the cause, which is elevating the maternal treatment program,” Clark said. “Aladdin kind of got our interest because the magic carpet ride, and then also the song, ‘A Whole New World.’ The ‘whole new world’ is kind of the new beginnings. That’s what we want our babies getting, a fresh new start, a whole new world out of the environment that they would have been in.”

Décor for the event – set for April 14, at the Horizon Convention Center – will hold a “romantic” and “desert” theme. New this year will be private tents and a “Moroccan market” that will display items for sale and silent auction items.

Also announced Wednesday was the band. New to Rialzo, the Ballroom Blasters will perform about a three-and-a-half-hour set list.

During the press conference, Meridian officials also took local business representatives and community members through the Suzanne Gresham Center, which houses the purpose behind this year’s Rialzo party. The maternal treatment program provides treatment, care and support for drug-addicted mothers and their babies.

Scott Smalstig, Meridian’s vice president of fund development, said the program holds a maximum of 30 patients. The program has reached that number since its ribbon cutting in June. Also, seven babies have been born, and five have had little or no stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Smalstig said an average stay for a baby withdrawing from drugs is 21-28 days.

Money raised from this year’s Rialzo will help staff and provide more materials and resources for the maternal treatment program, according to Smalstig. Last year, Meridian was able to dedicate more than $150,000 to the program.

Meridian officials said ticket information will be available soon.


Audrey Kirby is a digital producer at Star Press. Follow her on Twitter @ajanekirby, and email her story ideas: