Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee is fortunate to have a Cancer Resource Specialist on staff. What does this mean for our members? We sat down with Liz Geller recently to find out.
What is your role as cancer resource specialist?
I’m here to help individuals and families find resources to help them better manage some of the overwhelming challenges that come when cancer enters lives. Gilda’s Club members can call or meet with me in person, and my role is to hear and understand their unique situation and direct them to resources – both local and national – to support those needs.
From the point of diagnosis, so much information is consumed – from medical professionals, friends, family members, and the internet. It can be incredibly difficult to sort through it all. I’m here to help our members pinpoint what might be most helpful to them. Having cancer and loving someone through it can be extremely challenging, but finding help shouldn’t be – and no one should have to go through it alone.
What various cancer resources are available and what topics do you provide guidance on most often?
There are so many resources – through both Gilda’s Club and seemingly countless other organizations and groups – that can help people of any age, any cancer diagnosis, and at any stage in the cancer journey, from a new diagnosis to survivorship. Some provide in-person support, while others are accessed via phone, a smartphone app, or the internet. There really is something for everyone.
Some of the topics I provide guidance on include financial resources, housing resources, medical and insurance coverage resources, insurance premium and copay assistance, transportation assistance, meal delivery programs, home health organizations, emotional support for the patient and their loved ones, and assistance in coping with a diagnosis and the side effects of treatment. I would say the most common thing people need help with is managing the financial side of the cancer journey.
What do you share with members that surprises them most? (i.e. What secrets do you know that we don’t?)
First and foremost, I want members to know that this service is available and, like everything else Gilda’s Club provides, FREE! You’re not alone through any part of your cancer journey, and I would love to help you find resources that can make your difficult situation a little bit easier (so you can focus more of your energy on your health and the things that bring you joy!).
I also want members to know – and remember – that we have a resource library that is open during regular business hours. We keep it stocked with materials broken down by diagnoses, as well as specific needs and interests. People are more than welcome to drop in and take what might be helpful to them.
Another “secret” I have is that it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest resources available, because they are always growing and changing. What’s available today might be different from what was available last month or even last week.
To connect with Liz, stop by our Nashville clubhouse or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.