Over thirty years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was fortunate that I discovered it at an early stage, but it was still a very difficult experience. When I was 16, I watched my father die from cancer. I still remember the sound of the floorboards creaking at night because he was in too much pain to sleep. I was terrified that I would be in the same situation.
I kept thinking that there must be a way to help people through this experience, but there were no suitable support groups where I was living at the time. Years later when I was living in Madison, Wisconsin a friend who had recently gone through cancer told me about visiting a Gilda’s Club in another city. When she told me what it was like, I knew that was the answer! We formed the founding group and started Gilda’s Club Madison. (That’s their clubhouse in the picture.)
When I moved to Laconia, New Hampshire, I was dismayed to find not only a lack of a Club here in the Lakes Region, but in the whole of New England. I wanted to start another Gilda’s Club here, but I was concerned that the community is too small to fund it.
When Gilda’s Club Madison had their 10th year anniversary, I went back for the celebration. All day people I didn’t even know kept thanking me for starting that club because it did so much for them and their families. The Club brings smiles to the faces of people who are touched by cancer. It brings a place of comfort, support, education and relaxation outside of a hospital or clinical environment. It’s a haven for those whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
On the plane ride home I couldn’t stop thinking that we have to find a way to make it happen in New Hampshire. I’m so lucky to have found other people who agree and are working with me to make this dream a reality.
Won’t you join us? Tell us why you would like to have a Gilda’s Club in Central New Hampshire! Pat