For 22 years, our little brownstone in the West Village of Manhattan has been a community of support for thousands of individuals and families who have been impacted by cancer.Continue reading
In April, we hosted An Evening of Creative Expression to showcase the creativity and talents of our members. This special reception invited members to exhibit the work that they developed in Gilda’s Club workshops. The evening featured painted works, poetry and essays, origami, and original songs developed in the John Lennon Real Love Project collaboration between Gilda’s Club and Theatre Within.
Part of our mission is to empower our community through healthy lifestyle workshops, which includes Creative Expressions. Researchers believe artistic expression is an important activity for the mind. It can serve as a type of therapy, helping to sort through emotions and thoughts. It can empower by giving an individual control over what and how they expresses themselves and it can help reduce stress as it focuses one’s thoughts.
At Gilda’s Club, we offer workshops in writing, art projects, knitting, stand-up comedy, plus many others to help reduce stress, anxiety and pain, as well as improve on the overall quality of life.
I met my husband 23 years ago, and when I saw him my first thought was, “if he only looked at me, I would be the happiest girl,” – and he did!
And I was the happiest girl …
We supported each other through grad school, moved to different states, and he encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. We worked very hard for many years. He believed in me more than I believed in myself, and he was my rock; my knight in shining armor.
We had promising careers and after years of hoping and praying, and with the help of wonderful doctors, we had our beautiful miracle baby, Catalina. A month after celebrating Catalina’s first year, Claudio said to me, “Lilly I have a hole in my mouth.” From that moment on, our lives changed forever.
He was diagnosed with a rare form of Adenocarcinoma in the Palate (roof of the mouth). His treatment included 4 surgeries and 33 radiation treatments. He had grafts to reconstruct his palate, which included extensive surgeries to both arms and neck. The recovery was slow and difficult, but after about eight months he was active and back on his feet.
We tried to rebuild our lives, but the trauma of the experience and the fear of a relapse or metastases followed both of us.
In 2011, we received devastating news: his cancer had metastasized to his lungs. It had rapidly and extensively spread to both lungs, therefore surgery was not an option nor was radiation, and there was no specific chemo treatment approved for his kind of cancer.
He then joined a clinical trial of an immunotherapy medication, which he had to stop after one year due to intolerable side effects. A year later he failed a second clinical trial. In the meantime we were blessed with our second miracle baby, Liam Gabriel. His last few months were extremely difficult, with blind hope and stern denial, trying to fight back and praying for a miracle.
In March 2016, he was very weak, thin, and mostly in bed when he developed a sore throat. He had the flu. He passed away on March 28 of 2016.
My daughter, Catalina and I come to Gilda’s Club every week, to give support to others in similar situations as well as feel the support of wonderful Gilda’s employees, fellow members and volunteers. They fill our lives with love, support and understanding.
Because of Gilda’s, I don’t feel alone. I can muster the strength to move on as best I can, with faith. My daughter Catalina is full of joy because she has Noogieland at Gilda’s Club on Thursdays, where she has been able to make friends who together will be able to survive the loss of a parent.
She had the best time in the summer program; her birthday at Gilda’s was the highlight of her day. Every year we look forward to Noogiefest, the best Halloween Party ever! Thank you very much for the healing you bring to our little family.
The Gilda’s Club NYC community came together to celebrate 22 years of free cancer support at our Clubhouse on June 23rd. Members and guests enjoyed a beautiful and delicious cake provided by Magnolia Bakery, light refreshments, a lively game of pin the bow on Gilda and each other’s company. Thank you to the members, staff, Associate Board and Board of Directors for celebrating with us.
Eileen is our Associate Director of Special Projects and a familiar face at Gilda’s Club NYC – she’s been with the organization for 18 years! Get to know a little more about Eileen:
1. What area of NYC do you live in?
2. What is your favorite NY sports team?
3. Name three of your favorite hobbies or interests.
Crocheting for charity, being part of Soroptimist International, a global charitable organization, spending time with my daughter
4. Where would go if you could travel anywhere in the world?
Cruise the Panama Canal
5. Name three things that you couldn’t live without if you were
stranded on a deserted island.
Bakery cookies, Shamar Moore & my crochet hook/yarn
Getting to Know is a new column we’re adding to GildaGram to highlight a staff, Board, or Associate Board member, or volunteer of Gilda’s Club NYC.
On June 26, 2017, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden launched the Biden Cancer Initiative, their new venture to continue the fight to make progress in cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and care. This initiative will “develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care, and reduce disparities in cancer outcomes”.
As an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, we are proud to recognize our very own Kim Thiboldeaux, CEO, Cancer Support Community who will represent communities like Gilda’s Club as a member on the Biden Cancer Initiative Board of Directors. “The Biden Cancer Initiative offers people diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones hope that our nation’s leaders truly recognize the urgency that ending cancer as we know it demands. I am humbled to be a part of this important Initiative, and committed to bringing the patient voice to inform all that the organization endeavors to achieve,” says Ms. Thiboldeaux.
The Associate Board (AB) has reached its full capacity of 35 members! Individuals interested in being on a wait list or simply interested in participating in any of the AB activities can join the Friends of the AB – or F.A.B.
Announcing our new AB Executive Committee for the 2018 Fiscal Year!
Neil Heckman, Chair
Jessica Serre, Vice-Chair
Ashley Loesch, Secretary
Katherine Wynkoop and Emily Sanchez, Events & Development Co-Chairs
Mandy Cheuk and Remi Tseng, Volunteer & Outreach Co-Chairs
The 6th Annual Gildie Awards was held on Thursday, March 30th at Webster Hall. More than 250 guests enjoyed an evening of silent auction, raffles, food by Pinch Food Design, open bar, and music by DJ Vida and Temporary Grace. Cristina Cote, graciously hosted the event which honored Mailet Lopez, CEO & Founder, IHadCancer.com and Co-Founder & Managing Director, Squeaky. Honored posthumously was Sharon Jones, iconic lead singer of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2016. Guitarist, Binky Gripite accepted the award on her behalf. More than $37,000 was raised by the young professional group. View the photo album on our Facebook page
The ABs held their annual Health & Wellness Day on Saturday, March 11 for Gilda’s Club’s members. Activities included: a presentation on integrative medicine, by K. Simon Yeung, PharmD, LAc; a writing workshop with Caren Geberer; Music Therapy with Eileen Espostio, and a Mediation & Relaxation workshop by Annette Dorfman. Special thanks to Chairs Blaike Hannay and Remi Tseng for organizing the day.