Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana will host a thrilling fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Louisville
By Elizabeth Scinta
Photos provided by Over the Edge
Calling all thrill-seekers to Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana’s 2021 fundraising event: Over the Edge. What is Over the Edge, you might ask? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like! Raise at least $1,000 to be able to repel down the side of the 18-story Hyatt Regency Louisville on May 21 and 22. This event replaces Gilda’s Club’s fundraiser, Wigs on Tap, which wasn’t feasible to hold safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Luckily, with this event, not all 92 people show up at the same time like they would for a gala. It’s spaced out so there are six people descending an hour. Naturally, we make sure that folks come at their scheduled time. We will be requiring masks, doing temperature checks and everything else the CDC has recommended too,” explained Jonathon Raley, the Development Manager at Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana.
Gilda’s Club was created in memory of Gilda Radner, a Saturday Night Live star. After Radner was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986, she found support from Psychotherapist, Joanna Bull. Radner understood how important communities were for those touched by cancer. After her death in 1989, her husband, Gene Wilder, and Bull made her dream a reality when they founded the first Gilda’s Club in New York City in 1995, according to the Gilda’s Club website. From there, Gilda’s Clubhouses have been sprinkled throughout the country and are known for helping those who have been touched by cancer. Annie Roth, a member of the associate board, knows first hand the impact Gilda’s can have on families. “Gilda’s Club is very close to my heart, as I frequented the Club with my Dad who was a member during his cancer journey. I experienced Gilda’s impact firsthand and I am honored to be able to give back to the organization. All proceeds from Over the Edge will be used to continue Gilda’s mission to never let anyone go through cancer alone,” Roth explained.
All of the money raised from the event will support the programs that Gilda’s Club offers. Typically, Gilda’s Club provides 125 programs a month, but since switching to all virtual programming, they’ve been able to add more. They’re currently able to offer 180 programs a month. Going virtual has also allowed Gilda’s to connect with people outside of the Kentuckiana area. “We are seeing new members, not only from the greater Louisville area, but across the state and southern Indiana and we even have members from all over the nation including North Carolina, California and Pennsylvania, and folks participating in the program who have connections to Louisville. So they might have a daughter or a child here, but live in North Carolina and be able to participate in the same programs together,” Raley said.
Roth and Raley are channeling their inner daredevil and going over the edge, something I admire them greatly for as heights are not my thing. “I am so stinkin’ excited. I kind of live for the thrill, and I know we haven’t had enough of those in the past year. I’m looking forward to doing something that’s going to be fun, unique, exciting and get my blood pumping again,” Raley explained. When Raley asked if I would be going Over the Edge, I responded with a quick “no” and a laugh explaining how terrifying heights are to me; I already had butterflies in my stomach just from him asking! He assured me that’s okay and that there are plenty of other opportunities to get involved on the day.
“We do have some specific Over the Edge volunteer needs. We need what the Over the Edge team call ‘rope nerds,’” Raley laughed. “These are people that like to go repelling, that maybe are trained by the fire department or something like that where they’re used to dealing with ropes. We need about 24 of those folks who can volunteer a significant amount of time to help us out. For their volunteering, they’ll get a spot to repel as well.” You can also volunteer a friend to go down rather than you if you raise the $1,000, or you can donate to someone else’s donation page, according to Roth. If you have that itch of thrill Raley referred to or are interested in volunteering, reach out to Raley at firstname.lastname@example.org, call him at 502.583.0075 or check out the website at gck.org/ote. Get out of your comfort zone and go Over the Edge with Raley, Roth and more to support Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana this May!
Over The Edge with Gilda’s Club Kentuckiana
May 21 and 22
Hyatt Regency Louisville
Gilda’s Clubhouse was affected greatly by the heavy rain in Louisville in February 2021. The Clubhouse sustained $250,000 worth of damage, a delay in reopening their facilities and a major hit to their financial resources. You can help Gilda’s by donating at gcl.gnosishosting.net/Portal/Donate/Clubhouse_Repair.