The scrap metal thieves who hit Gilda's Club probably didn't realize that they were stealing from kids, some of whom are battling cancer.

"We work so hard in our community. We've touched thousands and thousands of lives of people touched by cancer, and now we have to find $10,000 to fix this," said Anna Gottlieb, the club's executive director. "It's going to be a real struggle to get everything fixed and up and running again."

The non-profit discovered the missing copper early this week. Someone called police after seeing two men running from the back of the building late last week, according to a police report. When an officer investigated, he found the copper wiring and pipes missing from two large heating and cooling units behind the club, at 1400 Broadway on Capitol Hill.

"It's very inappropriate and very wrong to do something like that," said Jake Sears, a 17 year old who survived brain cancer as a child. "It just kills the mood of what's going on."

Sears - along with dozens of other kids - are in the middle of week-long summer camp at the club. With the wiring and pipes gone, there is no air conditioning to cool the nearly century-old building that houses the camp, along with support groups for cancer patients - and their families.

"I was just like, why would someone do that?" said 11-year-old Julie Brown, whose father had cancer. "It is just a really special place 'cause, [I] know that I'm welcome here, and I'm not different."

Gottlieb says the fix will be neither quick - nor easy.

"They were sawed off, and we knew by Tuesday morning it was not fixable," she said. "When you're going through cancer treatment is not the time you want to come into a really hot, sweaty building."

Meantime, the kids at Gilda's Club are determined to make sure the wires and pipes stolen from outside the club won't affect the healing taking place inside.

"Stealing's wrong anyways, but stealing from a place that's such a great charity and such a great place for kids to come is really an awful thing to do," said Rachel Clark, a 16-year-old whose mother had cancer. "Stealing from [the club] made me upset that people would go that far."

Gilda's Club has insurance, but also has a very high deductible, so the nonprofit group must ask donors to dig deep. The fix will likely cost upwards of $10,000.

"It's like a second home to them," added Gottlieb, "and it's, like, really feeling violated that someone came into their home and did so much damage. For what?"