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Billings Clinic nurse raising money to create care packages for cancer patients

Posted at 4:37 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 08:26:02-04

BILLINGS - A Billings Clinic nurse is helping collect donations for a project she created where care packages will be given to cancer patients at the hospital.

The care packages will contain toothpaste for sensitive gums, breath mints, lotion, a journal, and even advice for self-care, among other things.

The idea first came to nurse Heidi Gildroy when she first switched to working at the infusion center from the labor and delivery department, which provides new moms with gift packages.

"I just thought if we can give them a little bit of a relief and not having to worry about one more thing," Gildroy said of the idea Wednesday morning.

Once enough donations have been received, care packages will be dispensed to patients following their diagnosis. It would do wonders for people like Kathi Daly, who is currently battling breast cancer.

"I received my diagnosis by a phone call and I was in denial," Daly recalled the day she found out. "I told them that they were wrong and that my pathology is fine."


Unfortunately, it wasn't. Daly's greatest nightmare was true, and her life was flipped upside down.

"From then on, it was appointments and chemo and port placements, MRIs, CTs, and echoes," Daly said. "You kind of lose control of your life."

Daly's struggles are witnessed every day by Gildroy, which was a big reason why she wanted to find a way to help.

"It's an even scarier time in their lives with a lot of unknown," Gildroy said. "Even just being emotional support and trying to teach them the little things they can do to take care of themselves and their family members is a huge part of what we do here."

Now, Gildroy is taking that care even further. Once leadership approved of her idea, a donation spot on the foundation website was dedicated to the infusion center, which will directly go to making her mission complete.

Care Package

"I'm going to be really proud when that first happens," Gildroy said. "Just knowing that we are helping to make their lives a little easier."

Daly loves the idea and said it will mean the world to patients trying to make a recovery just like her.

"There is a lot of people that will help you out along the way, but to have some guidance and a care pack is wonderful," Daly said. "You're going to feel worse before you feel better and I'm glad to say I feel a lot better now."