Virginia "Gigi" Blalock
Thank Heaven for Little Girls Like Gigi
There are angels among us. People who, through their words, deeds and actions, serve as a daily inspiration to others. People who seem destined to touch the lives of not only friends and neighbors, but countless strangers as well. Case in point: Virginia “Gigi" Blalock.
She descended on our community in 1991, moving to Auburn to be near her grandchildren and children, Nancy and Billy Cleveland, following the sudden death of her husband, who literally died on the dance floor. Since that time, she has volunteered as an Auxilian in the main surgical waiting room at EAMC. She has served as Chairman of the Surgical Waiting Room, and also Second Vice President on the Board of the Auxiliary.
At 87 years old she teaches tap dancing to older women, and her troupe, Gigi’s Tappettes, performs to the delight of audiences young and old. The Tappettes boast nine dancers with a combined age of 685 years, with the youngest—whom they refer to as the “baby" of the group—in her 60s. Five of the dancers volunteer in the Auxiliary at EAMC, and three are retired nurses.
Gigi also teaches a Sunday School class for young adults at Auburn United Methodist Church. In the summer, she teaches water aerobics in the Moore’s Mill Golf Club pool. She delights in taking care of her grandchildren, used to paint china but no longer finds the time, and sends inspirational notes and handkerchiefs to new widows because she’s “been down that road." If they write back, she continues to correspond with each one.
Gigi has become a beloved fixture at EAMC and in the Auburn community. But she doesn’t do it for recognition. She does it because her heart is in the right place. “In the main surgical waiting room, I act as a liaison between the doctor and the patient’s family," reports Gigi. “Some of these patients are undergoing serious surgeries, and their families are really hurting. I help any way I can and try and provide comfort and compassion. To know I’ve helped them in some way is very rewarding and a blessing for me."
But Gigi gives more than her time and kindness. She also gives from her pocketbook, and encourages others to do likewise. "My students in Sunday School and tap class know me very well. If they want to give me something to show their appreciation, they know I would prefer they donate to the Hospice program through the EAMC Foundation—and they do! At 87, I don’t need more things. I would rather the money go where it will help someone who really needs it. When someone dies, I always make a Foundation donation in honor of that person’s memory," she explains. “I just like to know that I’ve helped someone, and in my own small way have made a contribution that made a difference in the life of another." Gigi sets the example. And she raises the bar. In a world that sometimes seems to have forgotten the way, she walks the good path. With busy hands and tapping feet, she shines a little extra light on our lives. Thank heaven for people like Gigi.