Kim felt a rush of excitement as she looked down 14 stories to see 28 of her friends and her service dog down below. She turned around, leaned back over the edge, and spread her arms wide before beginning the descent down to her cheering crowd.

Kim Virden has always had a love of adventure, so when she heard that there was a lottery for a Gilda’s Club member to win a donated rappelling spot for Over The Edge last year, she (figuratively) leapt at the chance to rappel. She had ziplined and paraglided before, but this was her first chance to experience urban rappelling.

Kim at Over the Edge 2021

Over The Edge

This year marked the third annual Over The Edge fundraiser for Gilda’s Club Madison. Participants each raise $1,000 or more for their chance to rappel 14 stories down the side of the Hilton Madison Monona Terrace.

Kim loved her experience last year so much that she decided to fundraise and rappel this year. “Everything about it was so perfect,” she grins.

Kim at Over the Edge 2022

As a Gilda’s Club member, Kim also wants to support others like her who’ve heard the words, “You have cancer.”

She received her diagnosis in March of 2021. Her diagnosis was ocular melanoma, a rare form of cancer. It’s always difficult to receive a cancer diagnosis, but it was especially so during the isolating time of the pandemic. She learned about Gilda’s Club through a social worker and she became a member.

Kim began to receive 1:1 counseling at Gilda’s. “I had no family support,” she explains. “It was great to have someone to talk to.”

“Having somebody there to hold my hand”

Kim has stayed involved with Gilda’s throughout her cancer journey, something she is particularly thankful for due to her lack of family support. She shares, “It was like having somebody there to hold my hand. I desperately needed someone to be there for me. Every time I turned around, Gilda’s was there for me.”

Kim shares that she’s included Gilda’s Club in her will, and explains, “That’s how much it’s meant to me to have you there.” Kim shares how helpful it has been to have free programming available during a time she has had high medical expenses. She wants to make sure that Gilda’s Club is always available for those touched by cancer because, as she says, “There will always be a need.”

Do you want to learn more about participating in or sponsoring this fun event in 2023?

Call Christine Rader, Events Coordinator, at 608-828-8870 or email


  1. 1
    Kelly Kearns on August 25, 2022

    I was one of the lucky Gilda’s Club members who got to rappel in 2021. It was great fun and I enjoyed the time before the rappel, when our small group waited together for our chance to go. I learned that most everyone had a cancer victim or survivor in their family and Gilda’s Club was helpful to their family. My Gilda’s GynOc support group has been a great help in my own cancer journey. Thanks to all, and especially our group facilitator, Autumn Kath.

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