“I have a long history with cancer,” shares Joyce Siefering, Gilda’s Club donor and former Board Member. Sadly, Joyce’s mother was diagnosed with cancer when she was in high school. Her mother spent time trying to impart as many lessons on to Joyce as she could during her time left. 

Her mother was the chair of the American Cancer Society campaign in their area, and taught Joyce the importance of community involvement and philanthropy. She also made sure to pass along her knowledge of cooking. 

At that time, there weren’t many treatment options beyond surgery, and her mother passed away right after Joyce graduated from high school. 

Embracing early lessons of community

Throughout her life, Joyce has had several other close family members face cancer, as well as facing diagnoses herself. Through it all, she says, “I don’t fear cancer as much as I respect it. I’ve been around long enough to see the advancements in treatment.” 

Joyce embraced that early lesson of community involvement, and co-chaired the the annual American Girl Doll benefit sale for the Madison Children’s Museum. It was there that she met Amy Nickles, one of the founders of Gilda’s Club Madison. 

As Joyce met others who were involved with Gilda’s Club, she recalls, “I was very impressed with how organized they were and how far they could make a dollar go.” 

Joyce (center) at the 2015 Backyard BBQ

Joyce joined the Board of Directors in 2012. She became a Red Door Society member, a giving society of supporters who made three-year-pledges of $250 or more. She also became involved with Gilda’s signature events, including the Backyard BBQ, Red Doors Golf, and Gilda’s Run/Walk. 

Stepping forward during emergencies

Joyce stepped forward in a major way during times when Gilda’s faced emergency needs. First, she provided a generous matching gift in 2018 after we faced devastating flooding. Then, as we all faced this unprecedented pandemic, Joyce stepped forward again last spring to provide another matching gift. These gifts were crucial as we had to shift our programs to virtual and while cancelling two of our major fundraising events. These gifts helped tremendously in inspiring other community members to give their support to make sure we could continue to provide programs at no cost to families touched by cancer. 

“The flood was just a practice for the pandemic,” Joyce shares. “You already knew how to pivot. I wish that Gilda’s can continue to thrive and continue to come up with great ideas for great programs that work.”

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