By Harriet Schiftan, MSW, MAJCS
President and CEO
A little over a week ago, we held our biggest fundraiser of the year, the 2021 Red Door Bash. Like so many things these days, the event didn’t look the way we envisioned when we began planning it nearly a year ago, but wow! What a testament to the power of creativity, determination, and a community that never hesitates to lean in. In less than two weeks, we’ll host another one of our signature fundraisers – the 15th Annual Gilda’s Club Golf Classic – and, again, our community is showing up. Your ceaseless support – whether through event participation, volunteerism, or financial giving – is inspiring, appreciated, and essential.
As I’ve shared previously, individuals with cancer are still among the highest risk groups for COVID-19 and its variants. We are learning that the vaccine may not protect people with certain types of cancer and those who are immuno-compromised or immune-suppressed. Because of this, medical professionals advise these individuals take extra precautions to protect themselves, which often includes avoiding activities and interactions that have previously been part of their support system and can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is where Gilda’s Club (and your ongoing support) comes in.
By making our program available virtually beginning in April 2020, cancer patients throughout Middle Tennessee have continued to have access to free, essential mental health support. On an ongoing basis, our members have access to groups where they can be with others who “get it.” They have access to classes that help them move gently and intentionally. They have access to workshops that teach the importance of nutrition during treatment and into survivorship. They have access to these programs and so much more.
As member Tara Seay shared during the virtual Red Door Bash, coming to Gilda’s Club during her husband’s cancer experience was like “entering an oasis”. She described her own support group experience: “I was in the most devastating place of my life, but I kept coming. I listened, I learned, I shared, I stayed until I could breathe again. I found the group a safe place to cry and decompress with people who didn’t try to fix me.”
Gilda’s Club absolutely couldn’t do what we do without you. Thank you for leaning in – again and again – so that no adult, teen, child, or family in Middle Tennessee has to face cancer alone.