By Sandy Obodzinski
President and CEO, Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee
Gilda’s Club opened its first red door in Middle Tennessee 20 years ago today – on August 3, 1998, to be exact. As we embark on a year of remembrance, celebration and aspirations for the future, it only seems natural to think back to our own first steps through the red door.
For me, that was in early spring 2016, when Founder and then-CEO Sandy Towers and several board members greeted me for an interview. Fast forward a couple of months and I vividly remember the first time I heard laughter pour out of the Clubhouse’s art room during a Tuesday afternoon quilting club gathering. Each week, this group gathers to sew, snack, talk, laugh and, sometimes, cry. And each week they attend to their craft, stitching thread and fabric into meaningful creations that would not be the same if made alone.
Whether your first steps through the Gilda’s Club red door happened five years ago, 20 years ago or last week, we all come together so that no one has to face cancer alone. And together we make up the thread, fabric and quilt that wraps this community in love, hope and unconditional support.
Starting this August – and for the next 12 months – we’ll look back at our first 20 years and think ahead, dreaming of new ways to ensure we provide the very best possible free cancer support in years to come. We’ll share special stories, host fun events, honor people who have made a difference, and do our very best to make sure all of Middle Tennessee knows that Gilda’s Club is here for everyone whose life is impacted by cancer.
During this anniversary year, let us also remember the special people who are no longer with us – but who we had the privilege of knowing and loving – and appreciate all they shared with us. To this end, we invite you to share your stories, memories and wishes for Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee’s future. (You can share on one of our social pages using #mygildas or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
My wish is that all of Middle Tennessee will know our red door – and that on the other side of it is a community of unwavering, all-welcoming love and support.