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Burst Water Pipe Forces Gilda's Club to Relocate Some Programs

Crews work to rebuild Royal Oak cancer support center after extensive water damage.

Noogieland kitchen is gutted. Credit: Gilda's Club
Noogieland kitchen is gutted. Credit: Gilda's Club
Extreme cold temperatures are being blamed for a burst water pipe at Gilda's Club causing extensive water damage throughout the Royal Oak cancer support center.

A frozen pipe burst Jan. 29 pouring thousands of gallons of water down three floors on the west side of the Clubhouse before it could be contained, according to Executive Director Laura Varon Brown. 

"The dry-out stage is over and we are now in the rebuild phase," said Varon Brown.

The center's kitchen and a large gathering space known as Mary's Room have been gutted and stripped down to the floorboards, Varon Brown said. 

Also damaged by water is the Clubhouse's kid space, Noogieland, a magical space designed for children who have been diagnosed with cancer or have a parent or loved one who is living with cancer. 

Varon Brown hopes the rebuilding process will be completed in time for an April grand re-opening and that Noogieland can re-open in May or June.

In the meantime, much of the center's programming has been moved across the street to Woodlawn Church, located at 3620 Rochester Rd.

"Things have gone smoothly," Varon Brown said. "We made sure our members and programs were not disrupted. It's gone exceedingly well."

The one thing Varon Brown does worry about is that fundraising is being interrupted while staff is distracted by the rebuilding process.

"We've been a part of the community for 16 years," Varon Brown said. "In the wake of this event, support has never been more important."

To make a donation to Gilda's Club call 248-577-0800 or give online at www.gildasclubdetroit.org/ways-to-give/donate/.

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