Pontiac, MI - Oakland County employees raised nearly $3,500 for Gilda's Club Metro Detroit, a Royal Oak-based non-profit organization that provides free support to individuals living with cancer as well as their families and loved ones.
County Executive Dave Coulter and County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson presented the check to Laura Varon Brown, Gilda's Club Metro Detroit executive director & CEO, last week.
"Your organization is doing such important work, because I don't think any one of us has been left untouched by cancer in some way," Coulter told Brown. "And when so many of our residents are struggling with both physical and mental health challenges, it's critical that we support each other both emotionally and financially."
The money came from Oakland County employees' annual pumpkin auction, which featured 25 elaborately decorated pumpkins from 34 employees representing 15 departments within the county. Employees cast a vote for their favorite pumpkin by donating $1. They later worked to outbid each other to take home the pumpkins. The proceeds from the auction were designated this year for Gilda's Club, which opened in 1998 and is named for comedian, Saturday Night Live cast member and Detroit native Gilda Radner.
"I know the program personally, as I was a participant in a support group for those supporting friends or loved ones during their cancer journey," said Gershenson, who was one of the founders of Gilda's Club. "I am particularly proud of the work Gilda's Club has done during the pandemic. They have kept their doors open and provided emotional support assistance to many of our Oakland County families."
This year's top vote getter at the pumpkin auction was "Day of the Dead @DIA," created by Barbara Winter from the Board of Commissioners office. It celebrated Día de Muertos.