Press Release

For Immediate Release
Mar 10, 2015
Contact : Marisa Tranchina, Public Relations Specialist  
(732) 751-5106

18th Annual Sweetheart Ball Successfully Raises More Than $200,000 in Support of Meridian Cancer Care


Neptune, NJ - Meridian Health Foundation’s 18th Annual Sweetheart Ball, held on Saturday, February 23, 2015 at Ocean Place Resort & Spa in Long Branch, NJ attracted more than 450 guests, the largest in the event’s history, and raised over $200,000. Proceeds from the event will support cancer research at Meridian Cancer Care and provide residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties with access to the most advanced cancer treatment options.


According to Mark Krasna, M.D., corporate medical director of Oncology, Meridian Cancer Care, “Meridian Health is amidst a tremendous Cancer Center expansion that includes growth in our facilities and technology all designed to provide the best possible experience for patients dealing with cancer.  By supporting clinical research, this year’s Sweetheart Ball enables Meridian Cancer Care to continue to grow and provide the newest, most innovative cancer therapies for our community.”

In 2010, Meridian Health established the Meridian Health Clinical Research Center to bring together the services required to offer state-of-the-art clinical trials for patients across our hospital system. Today, in collaboration with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and the National Cancer Institute, Meridian offers oncology patients over 80 active clinical research trials dedicated to advancing tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs.

Steve G. Littleson, FACHE, executive vice president of Meridian Health, adds, “This is a very exciting time for Meridian Cancer Care. Over the next few years, our family of hospitals and Meridian Health Village at Jackson will undergo remarkable transformations in cancer services. Funds raised through events like the Sweetheart Ball truly help support this meaningful growth.”

This year’s Ball was chaired by Mary Ann Larkin, Ann Nahum and Ken Nahum, M.D., Marilyn and Phil Perricone, Dawn and John Reinhardt and Carol Stillwell. Additionally, Robert S. DiPaola, M.D., Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey received the William C. Black Award of Hope. “Dr. DiPaola is an outstanding researcher, leader and advocate for cancer research and patient-centered cancer care. He continues to lead by example within The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the expansive community our partnership touches,” shares Joseph Stampe, President of Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations. “We are thrilled to present Dr. DiPaola with this award.”

The award, named after the late Mr. William Black, is presented annually to individuals or organizations that support Meridian commitment to providing the best health care experience. Mr. Black previously served on the Meridian Board of Trustees, as well as Jersey Shore’s Board of Governors.

About Meridian Health

Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization in New Jersey, comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, fitness and wellness centers, and outpatient centers. In September 2014, Meridian Health and Raritan Bay Medical Center signed a Letter of Intent to merge. In October 2014, Meridian Health and Hackensack University Health Network signed a Memorandum of Understanding to merge. Meridian Health has consistently been rated among the top performing health systems in New Jersey for clinical quality, is one of the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” for five consecutive years, and is the recipient of numerous state and national recognitions for patient care and nursing excellence. Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium alongside six of the nation’s leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies. With more than 100 convenient locations, over 1,800 beds, nearly 13,000 team members, and affiliations with more than 2,000 of the area’s finest physicians, Meridian Health is a leading health care provider in New Jersey, providing quality health services, facilities, and programs. For more information, please visit