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Sandy Obodzinski CEO Gilda's Club Middle Tennessee Nashville free cancer support

20 Years of Walking Hand-in-Hand with Those on a Cancer Journey

This “Welcome from Our CEO” was originally published in Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee’s 20th Anniversary Bash event program. We’re happy to reshare it here today.

Twenty years ago, Microsoft became the largest company in the world, Google was founded, and the film Titanic swept the Academy Awards. Here in Nashville, Tennessee, a new organization was formed and its signature red door opened for the community – our Gilda’s Club Nashville.

At that time, social and emotional support was a relatively new concept, just beginning to be broadly understood as an essential part of medical treatment plans. But there is something deep down that we all know to be true: in community, we find understanding, support, and connection – and that can make all the difference. Because each new person through the red door was encouraged to “come as you are,” our Gilda’s community grew. Friends became family. Hope, love, and laughter created unbreakable bonds that continue today for so many who were a part of those early days.

So much in our world has changed during the past 20 years. And those changes are happening so swiftly it can be tough to keep up. For our Gilda’s Club community, I believe we are all comforted and inspired to know that our core purpose, to be there so no one has to face cancer alone, has remained unchanged.

Today, we see hundreds of people every month for more than 100 groups and activities, offered from two locations. As Middle Tennessee grows, we are working to become even more adaptive to the changing needs of our members. From our satellite in Williamson County to counseling, parent programs, and expanded workshops, including nutrition and finance, we are committed to hearing and meeting the needs of every person impacted by cancer who comes through our door…or reaches out via phone, email, or even social media.

At the heart of Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee are those indelible moments we experience together … storytelling over coffee in the kitchen, welcoming a new member to support group, laughing in a quilting class, holding a loved one’s hand near end-of-life, sharing a hug.

No matter what changes our world may bring during the next 20 years, our community, compassion, presence with each other, and never-ending dedication to facing cancer together will endure. We’ll find new ways to meet new challenges and, together, we’ll celebrate the gifts of each person who graces our community.

On this special occasion of our 20th anniversary, I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart.

With abundant and sincere thanks,

Sandy Obodzinski
President and CEO
Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee