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 that wanted to find a way to give back. In their inaugural year, 40 faces 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 have 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 www.gildasclubwesternpa.org, or call 412.338.1919 for more information.
C. Shannon Barry, 33
C. Shannon Barry teamed up with a few members of Gilda’s Club to found the Faces Campaign last year to fight back. “We are not doctors, we are not oncologists, we can’t do anything medically to help this disease, so we said, ‘Let’s try to bring more people into the club house and raise awareness and funds to help Gilda’s mission,’” he says. A survivor of GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor), Barry came to Gilda’s Club initially because of its reputation for offering emotional support to cancer patients, survivors, and their families. “In this region, we are really fortunate to have the great medical facilities that are available to us. Cancer, however has two components: physical and emotional,” he says. “That’s where a place like Gilda’s Club does an absolutely fantastic job helping survivors and their families resurrect themselves from an emotional and psychological perspective.”
Rebecca Casciato, 30
Rebecca Casciato came to Gilda’s Club in 2006, two months after she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, to take the gentle yoga class. “And then I walked in here and found this,” she gestures with her hands, pointing out the comfortable, homey setting that is Gilda’s Clubhouse in the Strip District. “It’s free to us, and that just eliminates one stress completely,” she says. When asked to join the Faces Campaign last year, Rebecca, now cancer-free, didn’t hesitate, and jumped feet-first back into fundraising for her second stint in the Campaign — her first fundraiser this past spring surpassed the $2,000 overall goal by about $1,000. “Gilda’s can save a life, it can change a life. I love it here.”
Marty Randal, 43
Marty Randal beat Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teenager 26 years ago, and he is still active in supporting a cause that is close to him. He became a member of Gilda’s Club, joining the post-treatment support group, and this is his first year participating in the Faces of Gilda’s Campaign. “One of the goals of the Faces campaign is to raise awareness of Gilda’s and for Young Adults with cancer,” he says. “I believe I am raising awareness with the help of 15 people who are helping me with our fundraisers. Their incredible service and hard work will lead to some fun events that raise awareness and hopefully some significant funds.” Join Marty and other Faces of Gilda’s Club on July 24 for a wine tasting in the Gilda’s Club courtyard.