Gilda’s Club NYC recently collaborated with Mount Sinai Hospital’s Woman to Woman program, Latina SHARE, and The Lewin Fund to Fight Women’s Cancers, to provide an educational program – Information and Strategies to Cope with COVID-19. This presentation, which was facilitated to the Spanish community, provided essential medical information and relaxation strategies in relation to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Dr. Fernando Camacho of Montefiore Hospital facilitated the lecture and informational session, and also provided an opportunity for attendees to ask specific medical questions about the virus. Additionally, Dr. Camacho led a meditation session after the lecture for approximately 20 minutes. Nearly 40 members attended this event, with many having commented how helpful it was to have their questions answered on this topic. The event took place on July 13 as part of an educational series in collaboration with the parties listed above to bring education events to Latina Women living with gynecological cancers.
Gilda’s Club NYC created & implemented a new virtual program called Noogies at Noon in July. This exciting program was created for the kids of Gilda’s Club to connect, participate in interactive workshops & games, and have tons of fun! The program was facilitated from July 13th – July 17th via Zoom for one-hour midday.
The program was generously supported through numerous volunteers from organizations including Cherub Improv, Theatre Within, Energetic Juniors, and Yogi Beans! In addition to the body movement, creative expression, and stress reduction workshops, program staff members Michele Halusic & Dena Kaliades facilitated a Scavenger Hunt Show & Tell, an interactive activity wherein all of the children were provided with prompts to find something specific in their homes and bring back to the Zoom screen to share with the group! Twenty-one children participated in this fun and interactive program over the course of the week, with positive feedback shared from all children and their families.
Under normal circumstances living with a cancer diagnosis, whether your own or that of a loved one, is known to cause increased feelings of anxiety. Add to that a global health pandemic and you can imagine those feelings would increase exponentially. We are currently experiencing that reality.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gilda’s Club members shared that anxiety was a major concern as the crisis grew and New York City became the epicenter. Our clinical team put their heads together to create this list of their Top 10 Tips to Reduce Anxiety as a resource for anyone in need of help – and we’re happy to share it with our community now.
Gilda’s Club NYC’s Top 10 Tips to Reduce Anxiety
- Grand Canyon
Picture that the Grand Canyon is your life – your past, present and future. Start envisioning the various parts of your life within the canyon: Over there is the day you were born, your third-grade choir performance, your job as a babysitter. Picture your present: There’s your apartment, your friends, your mom, the book you’re reading right now. Picture your future: There’s your next vacation, the love of your life, your future children, the Top Chef finale.
Now, picture the enormous Grand Canyon and drop your worry into it. Whatever you’re worrying about — your cranky boss, your dating life, a salty comment from a friend — will be barely visible. “See how tiny it looks?” she says. Suddenly your problem will seem much, much smaller in comparison to the grand course of your huge, rich, long life.
(Source: Cup of Jo)
- Five Things
Think of or write down …
• Five things you see
• Four things you can physically feel
• Three things you hear
• Two things you smell
• One thing you like about yourself
- What If?
When you’re going to the worst-case scenario, turn your worries around. For example, “I am so scared that I’ll fail this test and flunk school” — turn it around to “What if I pass this test, pass the class, and get great praise from my parents about it?” Or, “I’m scared to call this friend because she may not want to talk to me” turns into, “What if I call and she’s so happy that I did?” (Source: Oprah.com / Brene Brown)
- Stop Sign
Picture a big red stop sign when you think of anxiety. STOP! YOU ARE BEING ANXIOUS.
- Fact Check Your Anxiety
Consider the sources of what you’re anxious about and try to consider the positive outcomes of your situation.
- Music / Dance
Listen to a song that calms your anxiety, like “Weightless” by Marconi Union that is supposed to be clinically calming. Or put on your favorite jam and dance like crazy for the whole length of it.
- Practice a Breathing Exercise
Try 4-7-8 breathing for starters:
• Breathe in for four breaths
• Hold for seven breaths
• Exhale for eight breaths
- Practice Gratitude
Write down three things you’re grateful for.
- Create a Schedule
Some people find schedules comforting, and some find them constricting. If you’re up for trying it out, here is a proposed schedule for starting each day:
• Wake up each morning and practice three deep breaths.
• Make your bed.
• Practice 10 minutes of stretching on the floor or on a towel.
• Watch a yoga class on YouTube or sign up for one at Gilda’s Club.
- Practice Meditation and Appreciate the Moment
Here is a brief love and kindness meditation for starters:
• Think of one person in your life who loves you, send them silent words of gratitude.
• Think of one person who you’d like to know better, send them silent words of encouragement and warmth.
• Think of one person who could use a little extra love these days who’s struggling and maybe making you a little crazy, send them some silent love and care.
You could also try one of the many smartphone apps available now like Calm or Headspace (both have free versions).
We hope these tips are helpful and we have also posted them on Instagram – @GildasClubNYC – so they can be easily accessed from anywhere.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit New York City, our team immediately observed that there was an impact on the emotional needs of our community. Our members reported their grief and sorrow at the deaths of their loved ones, friends, neighbors and colleagues. This grief was shared within their support groups, workshops, through phone calls, and via a member survey assessing the impact of the virus. As a result, Gilda’s Club NYC staff created a COVID-19 bereavement group to support these individuals, the first of which was held on June 11th.
The group was open to all adult members of our community that had lost a friend or loved one to COVID-19 and was co-facilitated by two members of the clinical team. Some of the main topics that were offered to the group for discussion included, but were not limited to, the following: the challenges of grieving during a crisis, how the pandemic complicated the grieving process, what loss looks like during the pandemic, ways that grief has been disrupted, and how the pandemic has presented challenges to the traditional aspects of memorials, funerals, etc.
Due to clinical demand, this group will be repeated in July, and for as long as it is needed to support our members through this pandemic.
Gilda’s Club NYC is dedicated to helping anyone impacted by cancer, that includes supporting individuals as they prepare for important medical appointments through the Open to Options™ (O2O) program.
O2O is an evidence-based approach to treatment decision support. The Cancer Support Community (CSC), in collaboration with the Education Network to Advance Cancer Clinical Trials (ENACCT), developed and evaluated the Open to Options™ program to help patients communicate more effectively with their health care team in order to arrive at the treatment decision that is right for them.
Our O2O Trained Counselors are able to guide cancer patients, in a non-directive way, to anticipate their questions and concerns while describing their individual situations, medical options and personal goals, in advance of an upcoming medical appointment. The goal is to ensure all patient questions get answered and all concerns are addressed so a well-informed decision can be made with confidence. Trained Counselors help the patient develop and organize a Question List (QL) which becomes a reference point for the patient to use to guide the conversation about the various treatment options available to the patient. The very act of developing and referring to the QL can help the patient feel empowered, focused and more in control of the conversation simultaneously helping to reduce stress.
O2O participants report feeling less anxious about their consultation, more confident walking in with a list of questions and getting the answers they need to make important decisions about their treatment. Doctors have reported that patients walk in more prepared after participating in O2O. In the end, the patient and doctor are working together as a team.
To schedule an appointment with a Gilda’s Club NYC Open to Options™ Specialist, please call 212-647-9700.
On Friday, April 24th, Gilda’s Club New York City hosted the Annual Professional Oncology Networking Breakfast. The breakfast was attended by 44 individuals representing 28 different organizations.
Every year, Gilda’s Club NYC hosts the networking breakfast to bring together different cancer support organizations and hospitals to share information about their programs and exchange resources.
All participating organizations and hospitals share a similar mission, which is to help individuals impacted by cancer. The individuals and families that we all serve need support now more than ever – and this networking event allowed for valuable collaboration and increased awareness of services available in New York City.
Organizations and hospitals that attended this year included: Breasties, Brookdale Senior Living, Calvary Hospital/Hospice, Cancer & Careers, CancerCare, Cancer Research Institute, City Bar Justice Center: Cancer Advocacy Project, The Creative Center at University Settlement, God’s Love We Deliver, Lymphoma Research Foundation, MSKCC: Resources for Life After Cancer, Mount Sinai Downtown, Mount Sinai West, Mount Sinai Brooklyn, Mount Sinai Ruttenberg Treatment Center/ Dubin Breast Center, Moving For Life, NYU: Beatrice W. Welters Breast Health Outreach and Navigation Program, NYU Langone: The Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Patient AirLift Services, Paw it Forward, Ronald McDonald House NY, Sharsheret, Stupid Cancer, Supportful, Susan G. Komen Foundation, T.E.A.L. (Tell Every Amazing Lady About Ovarian Cancer), and The United Federation of Teacher’s Welfare Fund Health and Cancer Helpline (UFT).
Traditionally, this event is held at the Gilda’s Club NYC Clubhouse but due to the ongoing COVID-19 circumstances, this year’s event was held via Zoom. The Gilda’s Club NYC team and all participants were grateful for the opportunity and look forward to the next event – whether via Zoom or in person!
April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and there could not be a better time to highlight and thank all of the volunteers in our community.
Our volunteers have been the foundation of our support program for the past 25 years. The breadth of our program would not be as impactful without their valuable contributions. Our key fundraising events and member events would not be possible without their helping hands. Annually, we are supported by more than 350 volunteers.
Throughout this pandemic we have been blown away by volunteers’ willingness to be creative and help us transition to a virtual program. Their help and dedication has been critical to maintaining our special community. Thanks to our volunteers, we can ensure that our members do not have to face cancer alone, especially during these uncertain times.
For all of this, and for their dedication to our mission, we are forever grateful.
Join Gilda’s Club NYC and Pat Roddy on Wednesday, April 15 at 7pm for a virtual fundraiser and concert from the comfort of your own home!
Though we’d much rather be on a dance floor together, this party will take place on Facebook Live on the Pat Roddy Band page from 7-9pm and raise much-needed funds while having some socially distant fun.
Bruce, Billy, Paul, CCR … Roddy will bring them all to the party, get your requests ready!
And for every request you make – we’ll be raising funds for our free cancer support program. Gilda’s Club NYC provides free emotional and social support for anyone impacted by cancer including adults, teens, and children. The core program consists of weekly and monthly support groups, educational lectures, healthy lifestyle workshops and social activities. Over 10,000 individuals are reached annually by this unique program.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic we have had to close our West Village Clubhouse and transition to a completely virtual program. We are a direct provider of essential services to cancer patients, who are now the most vulnerable population living in the epicenter of the COVID-19 Pandemic – but it cannot be done without financial support from friends like you. Funding will enable us to support the increasing needs of new and existing cancer patients and their families due to the coronavirus outbreak in New York City.
Join us for this fundraiser event and for every request of yours that Pat Roddy plays, please consider making a donation to support our members.
TEXT ‘GILDANY’ to 41444 or donate online HERE.