Gilda’s Club Quad Cities is nearing the finish line on a capital campaign that will enable it to expand its cancer support services to both the region’s hospitals and both sides of the river. “Today we announce the public launch of our $1.6 million campaign to expand services through a partnership with Genesis Health System […]
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Gilda’s Club Quad Cities is nearing the finish line on a capital campaign that will enable it to expand its cancer support services to both the region’s hospitals and both sides of the river.
“Today we announce the public launch of our $1.6 million campaign to expand services through a partnership with Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health-Trinity,” Joy McMeekan, executive director of Gilda’s Club Quad Cities, said at a news conference Wednesday, April 13. “We’re just under $300,000 of meeting our $1.6 million goal.”
First launched in 2020, Gilda’s Expanding Hope Capital Campaign is supporting the construction of two new clubhouses inside the hospitals to replace the iconic mansion on Davenport’s River Drive that has housed Gilda’s Club for 22 years.
“We’ll expand to both sides of the river with new locations at Genesis West Campus Davenport … and we also are at UnityPoint-Trinity at their Moline campus,” Ms. McMeekan said during the news conference at Genesis West Campus. “Co-locating within each hospital will allow Gilda’s Club to serve more members with greater access to our programs. The new spaces will be custom-built so they retain that homelike feel that has been a refuge for cancer patients and their families.”
In addition to the hospitals’ financial commitment, she thanked the Scott County Regional Authority and the Riverboat Development Authority for providing multi-level grants that supported the expansion. The two clubhouse expansions represent a $1.1 million investment.
In 2021, Genesis and UnityPoint-Trinity came to Gilda’s rescue when the cancer support group sold its longtime club – with its signature red door – in just two days, she said. “When we moved out of our house on River Drive at the end of 2020, I knew we were headed in the right direction when it came to our members and what they needed; but I also knew we were going to need a lot of help to make it happen.”
She praised the two hospitals, which are donating 50% of the costs of their respective clubhouses and for helping Gilda’s “make sure cancer patients and their families are cared for. I credit their mutual willingness for our future success.”
After the mansion’s unexpectedly quick sale, she said the campaign had already raised enough to build out its clubhouse at UnityPoint – Trinity, Moline. It opened in February 2021 down the hall from UnityPoint’s cancer center.
A few weeks ago, Gilda’s began construction on Phase II: a new clubhouse at Genesis West Campus. The new 8,500-square-foot clubhouse is being built on the second floor and directly above Genesis’ Cancer Care Institute.
“As research has demonstrated, co-locating within hospitals benefits the patients’ treatment … ” Ms. McMeekan said. “Programs such as those that we offer at Gilda’s Club combined with great treatment that we have here locally have been found to reduce physical pain and minimize the effect pain has on performing daily activities … ”
Hospital leaders also praised the new partnership and expanded access for their patients.
“Knowing that we’re able to partner with Gilda’s Club allows us to also focus on the care of patients while … (Gilda’s Club) is able to focus on the psychosocial and emotional needs of both patients and their families,” said Mary Macumber-Schmidt, president of UnityPoint Trinity Foundation.
Having witnessed Gilda’s impact on the Moline campus, she said patients and their “families are able to go down to the clubhouse and have a little bit of time to either educate themselves or just relax. That’s very meaningful … We are truly proud to be a partner in this endeavor.”
David Weiser, president of Genesis Health Group, echoed those sentiments, saying “Cancer patients, survivors and their families will now have even more access to Gilda’s Club life-enriching programs on both sides of the river.”
Mr. Weiser, whose duties include overseeing Genesis’ oncology department, said having Gilda’s Club’s resources on site “perfectly aligns with the inclusive team approach to cancer care available from the Genesis Cancer Care Institute.”
The new clubhouse, which should be complete in August, Mr. Weiser said “Will add another level of convenience, resource and peace of mind for our patients and their families.” He thanked all the partners for their support “as we build a future where no one faces cancer alone.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.gildasclubqc.org/hope.