Margaret McCaffery to headline Gilda’s Champions of Hope

MUSCATINE, Iowa – Margaret McCaffery, a champion of families living with cancer, will be the keynote speaker at next month’s Champions of Hope Luncheon, a fundraiser for Gilda’s Club Quad Cities presented by UnityPoint Health Trinity – Muscatine. 

The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30, at The Rendezvous, 3127 Lucas St., Muscatine. 

Ms. McCaffery, a former college basketball athlete, wife of Iowa Hawkeye Men’s Basketball Coach Fran McCaffery, and a mother of four, will share her own journey having had a teen with cancer and the value of the services that Gilda’s Club provides.

The guest emcee will be Tony “Tone” Loconsole. Tickets are $60 for individuals and $440 per table of eight. Seating is limited and the deadline to purchase tickets is Monday, Aug. 15.

Michele Darland, development director for Gilda’s Club Quad Cities, said the event marks the club’s return to Muscatine. Proceeds will help ensure that its programs of social and emotional support continue to serve those impacted by cancer in the Muscatine community.

According to Ms. Darland, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Gilda’s Club to shut its doors and shift to virtual services of support, education, wellness and individual counseling. Among the locations that were temporarily closed was its Muscatine office, where Gilda’s Club partnered with UnityPoint Health – Trinity Muscatine. 

“We as a staff have always wanted to get back into Muscatine and reignite our presence and bring back services to this community,” Ms. Darland said. 

She credited Holly Oppelt, a board member, with suggesting the idea of having Ms. McCaffery as a guest speaker. Ms. Caffery will speak about her own family’s cancer journey involving her son Patrick, who had throat cancer as a teen. 

Ms. Darland said the luncheon location, The Rendezvous, was selected because the banquet facility owner “has been such a wonderful supporter of Gilda’s Club before the world shut down.” 

Ms. McCaffery will discuss the value of a strong support system like Gilda’s Club in helping families with a cancer diagnosis through the challenging times. 

“People don’t know the devastation cancer does to families,” said Glenda Ziokowski, mother of two daughters and wife of husband Cory, who has battled cancer since 2015. “Gilda’s educational workshops and sessions really helped our family understand what was happening.” 

She said her entire family benefited from the resources provided by Gilda’s Club. “Gilda’s doesn’t just help parents, it helps the entire family learn about cancer and cope. It’s not just the person that gets cancer, it is the whole family that gets cancer.” 

To attend Champions of Hope, email [email protected] or call (563) 326-7504.

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