By Allison Yonker, LMSW
The jingle of the bell as the Clubhouse door opens. The smell of coffee coming from the kitchen. The sounds of conversation and laughter. What a difference a year makes! On November 1, we welcomed members, volunteers, and facilitators who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to return to in-person activities at Gilda’s Club. Masks remain on; hand sanitizer remains plentiful; and we continue to look to our oncology partners for guidance on how to operate with an abundance of caution, just as we always have.
The last 20 months have been difficult, and to get through difficult times, whether it’s cancer, a pandemic, or both, we need each other – sharing kindness, tears, understanding, laughter, knowledge, and support. Gilda’s Club members, with the guidance and support of our dedicated clinical staff, have been doing just that, utilizing Zoom, telephone calls, and texts to connect and show up for each other.
While we’re ecstatic to have members walking through our red door, we know collective wisdom and support travels person-to-person, even when a mask or a computer screen separates us. This is why virtual support isn’t going anywhere. We’ve seen the value it brings to our community – how it ensures social ties don’t require being in the same physical space. Virtual support is here to stay.
People affected by cancer continue to ride the cancer rollercoaster, facing change and uncertainty, and looking for others who are willing to buckle up and ride with them. Gilda’s Club is a place where anyone impacted by cancer can gather, in-person or virtually, to connect in good times and in challenging times, ensuring no one has to face cancer alone. No matter how you participate – online or in-person, as a member or as a supporter – thank you for riding with us. Our community is better because of you.