Cancer Pathways, formerly Gilda’s Club, celebrates 20 years in Seattle

For 20 years, the former Gilda’s Club now known as Cancer Pathways, sat on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

“20 years ago we stood here on the front porch and we cut the ribbon. We didn’t know what we’ve been able to do but we have been amazed and rewarded and honored to be such a big part of the community,” said founder and executive director Anna Gottlieb.

But a recent fire at the building, on top of ongoing vandalism issues, now has Gottlieb pondering the cancer support organization’s future.

“It makes us sad. Because we want to spend our money on people living with cancer, and on families, and on programs, and we always have to fix what’s happened in this building,” said Gottlieb.

She’s not sure how much this latest crime will set them back. But every dollar spent for clean-up is a dollar taken away from families who really need it. And after 20 years, that’s a lot of families.

“I think we’re the most proud of the impact we’ve had and the reach we’ve had of the people living with cancer - families, adults, kids,” Gottlieb added.

Because of the pandemic, they’ve had to pivot online with classes and support groups and expanded their reach.

“We’re able to serve a lot more people. We’ve been able to go statewide, even national,” Gottlieb explained.

It’s the silver lining of a tough year since their big fundraisers were canceled.

“Cancer doesn’t care about a pandemic. People are still getting cancer. They still need help,” she said.

Which is why, after 20 years, Gottlieb is considering a big change.

“After what’s happened to us in the last year and the neighborhood we’ve been a part of, we love it here but we are considering a move at this point. We have to because we want it to be a safe place for people to come to,” Gottlieb said.