Health: Wellstar online gala this evening supports COVID relief fund; features Northwest Georgia performers.

Health: Wellstar online gala this evening supports COVID relief fund; features Northwest Georgia performers.

Wellstar Health System’s first Wellstar Foundation virtual gala and interactive online fundraiser is this evening from 6 to 7 p.m. with donations benefiting the Wellstar Foundation’s COVID-19 relief fund. The virtual gala is free and open to all. You can register for online auctions and other planned events by visiting

The COVID-19 relief fund supports Wellstar’s 11 hospitals, six health parks including Acworth, pediatric centers, hospice facilities, and other medical offices. The fund also offers supplies and educational materials to members of the community, procures tablets that connect patients with loved ones, and provides aid to Wellstar team members in need because of the pandemic.

The event has a “local” feel as among those taking part is the Rome-based group, Kindred Fire. Musicians Austen Earp and Haley Morgan Smith met as students at Shorter College in 2007. From there, both played in various bands, had various successes with major record label deals, touring, and song writing. A decade later, Austen and Haley both found themselves trying to find the fire and passion that music had brought them when they were younger … before it became work. They found they were kindred spirits. Austen lives in Rome with his wife, Emily; Haley lives in North Georgia with her dog Boone and three chickens T-boz, Left Eye and Chili. Click: kindredfiremusic

Nappy Roots also will be part of the gala. The line-up likewise includes rock singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer Michelle Malone; Atlanta Braves opera singer Timothy Miller (a frequent contributor to Rome Braves’ games); and country music group Brian Collins Band.

WSB-TV anchor Fred Blankenship will serve as the emcee. Sponsored by ApolloMD and Bank of America, the benefit will feature performances, a live silent auction and wine wall, and a virtual photo booth.

“Our hope is to make the virtual gala just as fun as our annual live event is each year, with the bonus of being able to invite and engage with many more people on the online platform,” said Lisa Mello, Wellstar Foundation director of Strategic Giving. “What a unique opportunity to share how donations to the Wellstar Foundation are helping make Georgia well, now and in the future!”


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