Cancer Support for the whole family, the whole time.
Today’s Faces of Gilda’s Club began with a group of Gilda’s Club members in their 20s and 30s living with cancer who wanted to find a way to give back. In their inaugural year, 40 people ranging in age from 18-45, including cancer survivors, caregivers, friends, and health care professionals raised more than $75,000 to support the Gilda’s Club program — all activities are completely free of charge — of social and emotional support for anyone in this region touched by cancer. This year, 30 faces are currently registered to participate with a goal to raise $100,000. If you would like to join the campaign, which runs through September 2010, visit gildasclubwesternpa.org, or call 412.338.1919 for more information.
After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Helen Auckland became a volunteer at Gilda’s Club Western PA. Though she had done some work at the Club prior to her mother’s diagnosis, “that really pushed me to get more involved. People don’t always realize the kind of support that they need — beyond medical support. It’s about meeting people in a similar situation, talking to people, and learning how to deal with cancer,” she says. Join Auckland on July 31 for the Gilda’s Silver Party at the Club’s Strip District location, where she will be selling raffle tickets to benefit her Campaign fundraising.
Like many members of the Faces of Gilda’s Campaign, Jay Santa became involved with Gilda’s Club Western PA by first joining the “Living with Cancer in Your 20s and 30s” support group. Now a colon cancer survivor, Santa is one of the founding members of the Faces of Gilda’s Campaign — last year, Team Santa, comprised of Santa’s family and friends, raised more than $25,000. “The social and emotional support that you receive here is, to me, essential to cancer treatment. You need your doctors. You need the nurses. You need the physical medicine. But also, cancer is much more than that. It takes its toll mentally and emotionally,” Santa says.
Ellen Weiss Kander and Lisa Lurie launched the Web site, Cancer Be Glammed (cancerbeglammed.com), following Lurie’s fight with invasive ductal breast cancer and Kander’s experience with chemotherapy due to a rare blood disorder. The site offers fashionable headscarves, post-surgery bras, mastectomy bras, gifts, support, and much, much more. “It’s frustrating when you’re diagnosed with cancer. You are so focused on the medical, and nobody prepares you for just the day-to-day living of clothing you need, products to help counteract side effects, and so on,” Lurie says. Since the best friends work so well together, it was an obvious choice for them to team up and raise funds for the Faces of Gilda’s Campaign. “It’s a perfect tie-in to Gilda’s, because our similar mission is ‘Everything that the doctor didn’t order,’” Kander says.