Merapi, the most active of more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, erupted Saturday and unleashed a mixture of rock, lava and gas that traveled up to 4.3 miles down its slopes.

MUSC Health Orangeburg is planning for an evening mirroring the extravagant allure of Havana nights at a fundraiser supporting health care in the community.

The Medical University of South Carolina is now leasing the former Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties, which is owned by the two counties.

RMC officially became MUSC Health Orangeburg on March 1. However, the RMC Foundation has kept its name.

The 26th annual RMC Foundation Gala will be held from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, March 25, at the Orangeburg Country Club.

A silent auction will be featured, along with a live auction. The theme for this year’s gala, which has Zeus Industrial Products Inc. as its title sponsor, will be “Havana Nights.”

The event is being chaired by Orangeburg couples Dr. and Mrs. Dion and Laura Franga and Bryson and Brooke Jennings. The proceeds will go toward the general fund of the RMC Foundation in support of medical technology.

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RMC Foundation Coordinator Eryn Radowitz said, “It just gives us the ability that, whenever the hospital has a need outside of the scope of cancer, diabetes and things like that, we can be very flexible when it comes to technological needs.”

Dr. Franga said the theme was chosen for a reason.

“We thought it was a fun theme. Some of the other ones were very prim and proper type themes, but this one seems to be a little more whimsical and fun,” he said.

“We’ll have some good signature cocktails,” Bryson Jennings said, along with dancing to the high-energy dance music of the Right to Party band of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dr. Franga said, “We’ll obviously have food with sort of a Cuban flair.”

Churros, street tacos, paninis and signature coffee drinks are among the food and drinks that will be served during the gala.

Devins Flowers and Events of Orangeburg is in charge of floral arrangements.

“We also have some folks hand rolling cigars that we intend to sell, with the proceeds obviously going to the foundation,” Dr. Franga said.

Brooke Jennings said the attire is black-tie optional, but theme attire is welcome, including fedoras and the bright, vibrant colors of Havana.

Everything from trips to the Virgin Islands and Montana, to golf packages and catered dinners, will be among the auction items.

Margaret Frierson, senior director of foundation relations, said more than 20 items have already been collected for the silent auction, with more coming in.

Laura Franga said, “For the live auction, there will also be a Clemson University fan package and a University of South Carolina fan package.”

Frierson said the 2020 gala held under the theme “A Sterling Affair” netted more than $250,000 in proceeds, making it one of the most successful in the history of the gala’s existence in terms of fundraising.

“A large portion of the proceeds were used to purchase personal protection equipment for our frontline medical care workers as the COVID-19 pandemic broke out,” Frierson said.

Laura Franga said the goal is to meet or exceed 2020’s fundraising amount with this year’s gala.

The 2023 event is steered by an approximately 20-member committee.

Frierson said she is looking forward to this year’s event at the Orangeburg Country Club.

“I’m so excited. We know by having it here, that it will be flawless. It always is,” she said.

The cost per person is $150, or $300 per couple. To make reservations, learn more about the 2023 gala, or donate, call the RMC Foundation at 803-395-2321 or visit online at

“Invitations have gone out. So there is still the option to send back a reply card (by Friday, March 17); however, we have actually created a website. So there is a QR code and a link where people can register online,” Brooke Jennings said.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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