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Annual Fling Gala to focus on Mental Health

March 03, 2022

     The Fling Gala sponsored by the Fitzgibbon Hospital Foundation will have a new look and a new focus this year. The theme “Out of the Dark, Into the Light”, is a double entendre, so to speak, symbolizing the end of the darkness of the pandemic as well as helping to shine light onto the need to treat mental illness in our community. Proceeds from the much-anticipated annual event will benefit mental health treatment at Fitzgibbon Hospital and clinics. The gala will be held from 5:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday, April 8 at Jackson’s Event Center.

     “This year, we are focusing on mental health,” said Andrea Barr, Foundation Director for Fitzgibbon Hospital. “It is no secret that our family, friends and co-workers have really struggled through these last two years. With significant remodeling taking place in the inpatient Behavioral Health Unit at Fitzgibbon Hospital, plus the opportunity for new mental health services and telehealth, the call to end the stigma of mental health challenges is very timely.”

     The event will have a different look this year after the 2021 “virtual-only” Fling Gala. However, organizers of last year’s event learned valuable lessons that will make this year’s event even more enjoyable. In addition to using online options for registration and bidding, there will be other new twists for this year.

     “We will have a plated dinner instead of a buffet, as in years past. Along with that, we will have some live entertainment, which will be new for us,” said Barr. “Additionally, we will have our silent and live auctions. We are really excited for the new opportunities for this year’s silent auction.”

     This year, silent auction items will be available online beginning Sunday, April 3. The silent auction will close after dinner at the gala. Individuals can easily place their bids online through the week in a user-friendly interface and will be alerted when they have been outbid. Additionally, individuals can set a maximum bid amount for items they wish to win, and the system will automatically increase their bid as new bids are received up to their set dollar limit. “Buy-it-now” options for each item will still be available as well.

     “People can enjoy the wonderful dinner that night and not have to worry about getting up and adding another bid to the item they want to win by writing on a piece of paper,” said Barr. “And anyone who needs help can receive it from a number of volunteers who will be available that evening, just in case someone may have some challenges with technology but still want to participate. All of the silent and live auction items will still be displayed that evening for people to peruse, but they won’t have to leave their seats every time they want to increase their bid.”

     The dinner will be catered by Jackson’s Event Center and will include meal options of filet mignon, salmon or grilled portabella mushroom as the entrée. Attendees are asked to designate their meal choice at the time they respond. The live auction will begin at 8:15 p.m. with locally donated packages and artwork.  The total number of items to be auctioned will be pared down a bit this year in an effort to maximize the enjoyment of the evening. But individuals will still have an opportunity to give through popular options like the Wine and Whiskey Grab and the annual Fund-a-Need, whose proceeds will also be designated for mental health offerings at Fitzgibbon Hospital.

     The evening will conclude with an opportunity for attendees to “cut-a-rug” on the dance floor.  Tickets for the 2022 Fling Gala are $85 per person and include all food and drink for the evening, entertainment and dancing. They can be purchased online at http://bidpal.net/thefling22.