Shorewood — Gilda's on the Go, formerly known as Gilda's Club, has accepted a portion of a $500,000 pledge made by Brown Deer resident and business owner Stan Kass to continue free cancer support for cancer victims and their families.
Executive Director Trish Haudricourt said the 90-day operating gift will help the nonprofit group transition out of its building in Shorewood. Haudricourt and the board of Gilda's are working with Park Bank on the sale of the house. Park Bank holds the mortgage.
Since Kass stepped forward with his donation in late August, Haudricourt and the board have met with the chief operating officer of the Cancer Support Community. Gilda's Club is an affiliate of that group.
"We are going to do a pilot program for the Cancer Support Community, operating in the community without a clubhouse or facility," Haudricourt said. A similar pilot program is also under way in Denver, she said.
Seeking home for programs
Haudricourt is seeking community partners, churches, community centers or other warm and welcoming venues where Gilda's on the Go can operate its support and education programs. The Jewish Community Center will be the North Shore location for Gilda's. Gilda's also is offering a nutritional program at Whole Foods and a support program for children who have parents with cancer at Froedtert Hospital.
One of the Kass sons is taking a seat on the Gilda's board, Haudricourt said.
"We plan to expand and diversify the board," she said.
The pilot program is scheduled to run six months.
Committed to support
Stan Kass and his family remain committed to providing free cancer support to the community.
Haudricourt said Stan Kass is her inspiration.
"Every day I get up and think about what he said to me, that he never wants anyone else in Milwaukee to be sitting alone in a living room not knowing there is support for cancer patients and their families," Haudricourt said.
Kass lost his wife Lee to cancer in May. During a television broadcast in August, he learned about the work of Gilda's Club and that it was closing because it lacked operating funds. He called Haudricourt and offered the money from a life insurance policy he and Lee took out seven years ago. Things have been looking up for the program ever since.
Support programs offered by Gilda's can be found at gildasclubsewi.org.
At a glance
WHAT: To celebrate the launch of Gilda's on the Go, the organization will host its fourth annual Wine, Women & Purses fundraising event, sponsored by Hotel Metro. This meaningful "girls night out" will include a silent auction of stunning designer and vintage handbags and a prize raffle, as well as a delicious selection of hors d'oeuvres and a variety of wines.
WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 16
WHERE: Hotel Metro, 411 E. Mason St.
DONATIONS: $35 minimum contribution
RESERVATIONS: gildasclubsewi.org; (414) 962-8201, Ext. 102
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