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Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Celebrates 20 Years

Gilda's Club logo

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is turning 20 today.  That means 20 years of free cancer and grief support for countless numbers of those in the Grand Rapids area. 

“It seems like just yesterday, we opened that signature red door and welcomed the community to come in and be able to have a place and space where they can talk about their cancer journey.”

While it seems like yesterday, today is actually a very special day for Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.  It marks 20 years and countless hours of free emotional healthcare to children, adults, families and friends on any kind of cancer journey or those grieving the death of someone in their life, due to any cause.   Here again is Shawn Ruetz, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Director of Development & Engagement.

“To be present in the community for the past 20 years and continuing to meet the needs is an important thing.”

Founded by cancer survivors, Gilda’s Club officially opened its doors February 15th, 2001.  However, the grassroots movement to bring a Gilda’s Club to this community actually started in the spring of 1996

“Twink Frey, Deb Bailey and Susan Smith coming together and really recognizing as people who were cancer survivors that there was a gap in services in our community and wanted to be able to provide that space for people to share those experiences with folks on the same type of journey.”

Gilda’s Club programming are sustained by the community and officials say, 100% of all dollars raised stays in West Michigan.  And the services remain free.

“Gilda Radner said that people with a cancer diagnosis have already paid an entry fee.”

If you or someone you know needs grief or cancer support, you go to their website at Gildasclubgr.org