By Harriet Schiftan, MSW, MAJCS
President and CEO
As I write this message, we’ve been offering virtual cancer support in a variety of forms for the last 16 months. If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that with each new challenge we face – with each new surge in COVID cases – we’ll find a safe path forward, so that every adult, teen, and child in our community who’s impacted by cancer has access to free support.
We appreciate that you have embraced our virtual support groups, healthy lifestyle activities, cooking classes, and expressive art programs. We know you hunger for the chance to gather in-person again with your Gilda’s Club community. We do, too!
In May, the availability of COVID-19 vaccines allowed our staff to safely return to the clubhouse to plan for the long-awaited, much-anticipated return of members and volunteers. We were so excited to safely welcome you back! And for several weeks in July, we did! Pilates, Tai Chi, Quilting, Origami, and Meditation were offered both in-person and virtually in our new “hybrid” format.
And then August came – and with it, an increase of Delta variant and breakthrough cases requiring us to pause in-person clubhouse gatherings and return to all-virtual cancer support. Please know we will continue in this way until our trusted oncology partners advise it’s safe to resume gathering. We share your hope that we can see you in the clubhouse soon.
Safety Is Our Priority
Gilda’s Club has always made a priority of providing a clean and safe environment for people with cancer to gather to find education, support, community, and hope. To this end, in this past year, we:
• Upgraded our air filtration system
• Rearranged our spaces to allow for safe distancing
• Employed all COVID-safety best practices
We will continue in our vigilance and adapt as needed. Your safety will always be our priority.
Support Group Is a Lifeline
We also remain committed to providing high-quality, customized cancer support for each and every Gilda’s Club member, whether in-person, online, or through a combination of the two. Throughout this pandemic, we’ve heard from you – our members – just how important and impactful your Gilda’s Club community is…how, in many ways, it’s a lifeline… a place where you can give and receive support, understanding, nurturing, and love each other. Ensuring access on an ongoing basis – in whichever form is necessary or desired – is as important to us as it is to you.
Donors Fuel Our Mission
Our free cancer support program wouldn’t be possible without donors, funders, and community partners, like you, who entrust Gilda’s Club to deliver on our mission. This year, more than ever, your financial support made our critical work possible.
Thank you for your generous annual gifts, monthly giving, planned giving, grants, sponsorships, and contributions to fundraising events. Your unwavering commitment to Gilda’s Club has enabled our team to deliver cancer support for all Middle Tennesseans.
On behalf of our Board, Staff, and those we serve, we send heartfelt thanks.
p.s. You can view our 2020/21 Annual Report in its entirety here.