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Gilda's Club to host West Side Walk fundraiser with COVID-19 safeguards in place

This year, there will be three starting times to fit within size guidelines and other COVID-19 precautions.
Gilda's Club Grand Rapids opened its doors on February 15, 2001.  It is supported 100% through charitable gifts. The non-profit provides free programs for cancer and grief support.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids will be hosting its annual West Side Walk for Gilda’s on Saturday, Sept. 19.  

This year, there will be three starting times to fit within size guidelines and other COVID-19 precautions. The walk helps support the free cancer and grief support programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

The sixth annual event celebrating Grand Rapids’ West Side is presented in honor of Deb Bailey, co-founder, board member, and member of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, who died in April of cancer. The local Gilda’s Club, set in the heart of the city’s West Side, was funded and established by the community. Every supporter, from the Lakeshore to Lowell and Reed City to Kalamazoo, helps keep Gilda’s Club a free resource to those who need it most in the community.

“COVID-19 has changed much in our community, but one thing hasn’t changed, is the need for emotional support for individuals and families navigating cancer or grief.  We continue to receive new members just diagnosed with cancer and others that are facing grief due to a death in their lives form any cause. We have not stopped offering programming due to concerns of the pandemic, we just changed our methods of delivery,” said Wendy Wigger, president, Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “Even as we continue serving our members, our ability to fundraise has been impacted, making the proceeds from this walk even more important.”

The 1.3-mile noncompetitive walk will begin and end at Gilda’s Clubhouse, 1806 Bridge St. NW.

While there is no fee to register for the walk, participants are encouraged to raise money in order to help support the Gilda’s Club program and raise awareness. Walkers are invited to set up a personalized individual or team fundraising website by registering online at www.gildasclubgr.org, or by calling 616-453-8300. Prizes and incentives are available for those who raise $100 or more.

All proceeds directly support the free cancer and grief support programs offered through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. Those wishing to donate toward the walks goal of $70,000 can do so on the West Side Walk’s website.

Walkers who are unable or prefer not to participate in-person are encouraged to participate virtually by still registering and fundraising for Gilda’s Club. On Sept. 19, or at a more convenient time, virtual participants will walk in spirit with the West Side Walk in their own neighborhood or location of their choice.  Virtual participants are still eligible for incentive prizes.

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