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Making a Difference This Holiday Season

By Hayley Levy, Director of Development 

At this time of year, many of us are consumed by thoughts of holiday traditions, cherished family time, delicious food, travel plans and (if we’re lucky) snow days. My favorite part of the season, however, is the generosity people show around the holidays – to those they know and love, to complete strangers, and to organizations they are grateful for. People spend the season reflecting on the importance of community and how they can make a difference.

Gilda’s Club is an organization that is 100 percent reliant on the generosity of our community. On behalf of our entire team and the thousands of men, women, teens, and children we serve, I’d like to say thank you to those who make our free cancer support program possible. Gilda’s Club cannot exist without individual donors and community partners like you. You are the foundation upon which our program exists – and we are grateful.

It is my wish this holiday season that everyone sees themselves as someone who can give. You can have an impact. There are so many ways to support our mission and help ensure no one has to face cancer alone. Here are a few stories of generosity that I hope will inspire you:

For a few years now, the staff at the Hilton Downtown Nashville have raised funds through “dress down jeans days.” Their dress down days are held a couple of times a year, and then a handful of staff members – Hilton’s Blue Energy team! – visit our Midtown clubhouse to present a check and provide dinner to those participating in our support groups. This effort came about when the Hilton reached out to Gilda’s Club proactively – looking for a partner with a local presence, that impacts individuals in our community daily, and that provides volunteers opportunities to meet the individuals impacted. All values they saw at Gilda’s Club. Recently, our Hilton friends came to serve dinner alongside our President & CEO Harriet Schiftan and Chair-Elect Jim Corum.

Sometimes giving to Gilda’s Club has nothing to do with writing a check. This next example of giving centers around a member family. This family first came to Gilda’s in 2017 when the mom was diagnosed with cancer. What a nice surprise it was when mom, dad and kids showed up at the Clubhouse earlier this month with bags (and bags and bags) of hats, scarfs, blankets, and office and art supplies to gift to other member families and our Clubhouses! These items and a cash gift were gathered from a school donation drive, spearheaded by the family, who wanted to give back to Gilda’s Club because of the community they found here…a personal gift that has just as much meaning for the donor family as it does for those of us receiving the gift.

Lastly, a long-time donor of 12 years passed away this November and left a generous legacy gift by naming Gilda’s Club as an IRA beneficiary. We invite anyone to make a long-term gift like this by joining our Will Power Society, established to honor those whose deep commitment inspires them to include our organization in their legacy planning. In this way, you can lead by example and help provide for the future of Gilda’s Club.

All of these gifts, and many others, have had a significant impact on Gilda’s Club – on our Middle Tennessee community – this year. And the year isn’t over! If one of these stories inspires you – if you want to do more to support our mission – we hope you’ll reach out. You can learn more on our website or connect with me directly at 615-329-1124 or hayley@gildasclubmiddletn.org.

Happy holidays and New Year!