Over the last 22 years, Gilda’s Club Quad Cities has served over 16,000 members of our community that have been impacted by cancer. Our familiar red door opened to an inviting, home-like space that provided programs to assist cancer patients and their caregivers. However, due to an increase of need for our programs and a desire to create greater access on both sides of the river, we have made the decision to leave this beautiful, historic home.
As we approached our 20th anniversary, staff and the board began looking ahead at how we could sustain our organization for the next 20+ years. We had three goals: 1) reduce costs to run our organization more efficiently 2) find a way to make our clubhouse better meet our program needs and 3) determine how we could serve more people. We have talked to community partners, major donors, held focus groups with our members and did a strategic cost analysis of four different scenarios to determine how we can most efficiently serve our members while reaching the most people. There are two factors that currently limit Gilda’s Club from serving more people: the location and the lack of available program space. Though Gilda’s Club has maximized the use of the house, it was not built to accommodate the level of services it has come to provide.
Gilda’s Club Quad Cities is embarking upon a bold vision to bring life-enriching programs to a larger group of residents in several counties on both sides of the river. Though this vision includes relocating and selling the current iconic building, Gilda’s Club will expand to two brand new spaces, custom-built to meet the needs of survivors and their families. We are excited to announce a partnership with Genesis Health System and UnityPoint Health–Trinity hospital systems in which we will expand to new locations at Genesis West Campus in Davenport, Iowa and UnityPoint Health–Trinity in Moline, Illinois. The expansion will extend Gilda’s Club programs to a greater number of members in both Iowa and Illinois.
Members participate in a wide array of programs including support groups, healthy lifestyle activities, youth and teen programs, educational workshops and many more that focus on helping members and their loved ones find hope while facing a cancer diagnosis. Gilda’s Club serves those of any age impacted by any type of cancer and throughout every stage of the cancer continuum, and programs are always offered free of charge.
Genesis Health Systems and UnityPoint Health — Trinity support this vision and are excited to welcome Gilda’s Club to their respective hospital campuses. “The Quad Cities region is very fortunate to have the services provided by Gilda’s Club in our community,” said Alison Beardsley, UnityPoint Health – Trinity Director of Oncology Services. “UnityPoint Health –Trinity has been proud to partner with Gilda’s Club for many years and we are excited to welcome them to their new home at Trinity Moline. We look forward to offering our patients and community members these much-needed support services as part of our comprehensive cancer care program.”
As research has demonstrated, co-locating within hospitals benefits patients’ treatment. Evidence suggests that mindfulness-based and psychosocial interventions often result in improved quality of life as well as reduce stress, sleep disturbance, and fatigue. Programs, such as those offered through Gilda’s Club, combined with medical treatment, have also been found to reduce physical pain and minimize the effect pain has on performing daily activities such as sleep, work ability, and social interactions as well as reduce the average length of a hospital stay for cancer patients.
Andrea Schelin, Oncology Director at Genesis Health System, shares, “We’re thrilled to continue to expand the long relationship between Genesis and Gilda’s Club Quad Cities. Genesis Health System and Gilda’s Club share a vision of treating the whole person with a cancer diagnosis. Having Gilda’s Club services available in a new, welcoming facility at Genesis Cancer Care Institute will provide patients with compassion and convenience.”
Former board member and long-time supporter, Steve McCann has led an effort to realize the vision of serving the entire Quad Cities on both sides of the river. “Leaving the current site on the hill overlooking the Mississippi was not an easy decision for Gilda’s Club,” said McCann. “Locating in the hospitals on both sides of the river is the right decision long term for our present and future members. Members will find the new spaces to provide that inviting, home-like feel they’ve come to love about the current Clubhouse while being more accessible and better accommodating all the program needs.”
A final date for moving to the two new locations has not been determined but is expected by 2021.
We are excited at what this project will allow us to provide to the Quad Cities and look forward to serving more people to make sure No One Faces Cancer Alone in our community.