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Gilda's Club Twin Cities Newsletter December 2009
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Links to Highlights In This Issue
Merger Update, The Wellness Community and Gilda's Club Worldwide
All Hands Meeting November 16, 2009 Highlights
Volunteer Spotlight Gary Nathan "In Our Own Words"
This Holiday Season Consider Making a Gift
We set a GCTC Record for Funds Raised in One Day On-line
Resources, Well Within, Youth Grief Services, Kundalini Yoga Class
Happy New Year!
Merger Update

The Wellness Community and Gilda's Club Worldwide
hosted a Cancer Summit November 7, 2009 in Washington DC, to formally announce the finalization of plans to unite the two organizations under the name:

Cancer Support Community
A Global Network of Education and Hope

The Cancer Support Community will be the largest professionally led network of cancer support worldwide. "Our common history and commitment to the cancer community is what brought us together" said Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of the Cancer Support Community. "This union creates a strong, vital, global network that will bring the highest quality cancer support to the millions of people touched by cancer." This new organization brings more than 50 global affiliates together to ensure no one faces cancer alone.


Jenni Lilledahl, GCTC board chair, in her remarks at the All Hands meeting stated, "The merger will be a huge benefit to Gilda's Club Twin Cities bringing the strength and passion of the two organizations to provide support for all people touched by cancer." She pointed out that CSC logoeach affiliate will continue to operate as an independent 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. All monies raised in our community will continue to be used to support the individuals and families affected by cancer in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. "We are very excited about joining the Cancer Support Community network," said Lilledahl. "The resources, information, expertise and vast program available to the Twin Cities through the Cancer Support Community network will allow us to open the most comprehensive social and emotional support facility in our area." If you want to learn more about The Wellness Community and Gilda's Club joining forces to create the Cancer Support Community, we invite you to visit


How was the new umbrella name for the two organizations selected?

In a category where there are hundreds of nonprofits it was not an easy task to capture the essence of the organization. The Gilda's Club and Wellness Community Board's decision was driven by a number of critical factors:

  • Expert advice "say who we are and say what we do."

  • Affiliate and key stakeholder Input; 83.4% felt that "cancer" needed to be included in the name. 

  • Strong support for the word "community" and the phrase "cancer support".

  • The availability of a domain name.

  • A simple name will make it easy to brand our two existing co-brands, by adding a phrase "An affiliate of the CANCER SUPPORT COMMUNITY" to existing logos.

  • The Task Force was also asked to weigh in on the new tagline and submitted several suggestions for the Board's consideration. The tag that was chosen, "A Global Network of Education and Hope," was a Task Force recommendation.

  • Watch future Gilda e Grams for information about how and when GCTC will incorporate the Cancer Support Community language

All Hands Meeting November 16, 2009 Highlights

All Hands meetings are traditionally held every six months to give volunteers and supporters a venue to learn what's up, what's planned, and an opportunity to meet and socialize with each other. Turnout for the November meeting was great and everyone had a chance to meet the new Executive Director, Michelle Silverman, and hear from board members about the escalating momentum of the campaign to open the red doors in the Twin Cities.

Jenni Lilledahl Board Chair presented an update on progress toward the 2009 Goals.
Our volunteer base has expanded by 1/3 in the last six months
Full-time executive director, Michelle Silverman is on board
Board growth, new member Jerry Hammann, Director-at-Large
Eva Stevens, board vice chair and head of the clubhouse committee, has assembled a talented and enthusiastic group of volunteers who will work with her on the clubhouse initiatives.
Carrie Puterbaugh, volunteer coordinator, and Kirsten Moertel, MRC board chair, attended program training at Gilda's Club Worldwide in June and have begun to design and envision what will take place at the Twin Cities clubhouse when opened.
Other highlights
We now have consistent communications vehicle with the GildaGram
The GCTC 2009 Golf Event was a huge success netting more than $60k-totally volunteer driven.

In conclusion, our primary focus is and will continue to be raising money - that means we will continue to focus on raising awareness in the Twin Cities to build momentum for our capital campaign kick-off in early 2010.
Michelle Silverman, GCTC Executive Director, attended the worldwide conference of Gilda's Club and Wellness Community held in Washington D.C in November 2009 where the merger announcement was made. Michelle told Eva & Michellethe All Hands audience "this is an exciting time for us, and as I reflected on what I learned at the conference there were three main points I want to share with you so you understand what we, together are about to create in Minnesota:

  1. We (Cancer Support Community) are the premier psychosocial cancer care community in the world.
  2. Our program is the gold standard of care, backed by evidence-based research.
  3. Cancer care is our #1 core competency; we are a global network of education and hope.
In short--what Starbucks is to coffee, the Cancer Support Community is to emotional support for those whose lives are touched by cancer."

Michelle concluded by saying, "I am impressed and aware of all the work that has been done in the last few years to make Gilda's Club Twin Cities a reality. Because of what you have done we are now ready to raise the necessary funds to open our doors. We have an aggressive goal to raise between
one and two million dollars and here are four ways you can help:

  • Introduce us to community or corporate leaders that you think would like to be involved in our effort.
  • Host a fund raising event, or a house party, or be a part of an event committee.
  • Volunteer to be on the capital campaign committee or refer people you think would be helpful.
  • Please tell me what other gifts and talents you have you can share to help us open our doors."

To contact Michelle click here

Volunteer Spotlight Gary Nathan
"In Our Own Words"

My Uncle Bert Levy was the first contract professional with Gilda's Club Louisville, hired to facilitate a support group for adults affected by cancer. He brought with him a passion that remains in the brick and mortar and bones of the clubhouse. He believed in the collective wisdom shared by people on a common journey. And he believed in the empowerment that comes from each of us sharing the stories of our experience the successes, the joys, the regrets, the questions, the fears, and the sadness.

When Bert told me that his cancer was progressing and that he suspected that he would not recover, he also expressed concern for how his personal journey would impact the Gilda's Club support group. After struggling with the "right thing to do" about his role within his support group, he arrived at the decision to take this question to the group. He did, and in that moment he taught each of us a very important lesson:

While a cancer journey is a road we each travel by ourselves, none of us go through this journey alone. 
Every challenge benefits from community, that collective wisdom that affirms and empowers each of us to meet whatever challenge deliberately. From his sharing came affirmation, and strength, and courage, and hope and all with the grace of his humor and with laughter.
The group embraced him and he them. He never lost his compass over the next many weeks and months always finding the balance between his professional role and his personal journey. He found purpose in his role as facilitator that gave meaning to his cancer and so came a second lesson:
That cancer is a part of our life is not a choice, but how we live our life on this cancer journey, is. 
We are not helpless in the face of challenge we always have choice in how we meet it. And by Uncle Bert's example, we know that we are always able to do so with dignity and integrity.
And a third lesson:
Our choice is to find purpose and meaning, in every part of our life even as it ends.
Despite fatigue and pain Uncle Bert faithfully attended the support group every Tuesday evening. During the rest of the week, there would be countless emails offering his wisdom and guidance. One colleague, Joe Ferry, was concerned that Uncle Bert wasn't spending enough time taking care of himself. He accused him of being a compulsive social worker he just couldn't help himself. But I think my Uncle chose to give meaning to his own cancer journey by using it to teach others. In so doing, was his self-care. 
He was the consummate caregiver and mentor, a true social worker, a loving Uncle, who lived and breathed the dignity and worth of every person and passionately believed in the power of human relationships.
When Uncle Bert could no longer come to the clubhouse, he made thumbprint stones. He rolled small balls of polymer clay then he made an impression with his thumb. These stones were baked and when finished, you can feel the ridges and whirls of Uncle Bert's thumbprint, one of a kind, never to be repeated. 
In this spirit I ask that each of you, take a moment to consider how someone you've loved has left an impression on your life with the ridges and whirls, that were uniquely theirs, leaving the indelible imprint they have made on your heart. 
I believe that Uncle Bert, in the way he lived his death and the way he lived his life, challenges us to carry on in heart, and in mind, and in the lives we choose to live. These are his words:
"Sometimes it seems easier to ignore those scary, uncontrollable forces in our lives and we run from them--this (cancer) was not on my list of things to do to live the best life I can--(but) death is a part of living I have done my best to live in the moment and seek the best of every day we have. Remember to laugh--there is still life, hope, laughter and love inside looking for the sunshine.  Let's look ahead together!!"
On Thursday, August 27, 2009, at the age of 67, my Uncle Bert came to the end of his 10-year journey with colon cancer.

Gary Nathan is a member of the GCTC Ambassador Committee, an outreach and education forum. If you would like to have a GCTC Ambassador speak at your business or organization or would like to join the committee as a volunteer go to:

You Can Make a Difference
Gilda Desk Figure
It was Gilda Radner's dream to provide a homelike  environment where people with cancer, their families and friends could gather for free, emotional and social support. Here's how you can help make this dream a reality.

Make a personal donation: Every dollar given will bring us closer to opening our doors. To make a donation:

Volunteer: We have many exciting and rewarding things for you to do. To sign up go to:


A Twin Cities
Gilda's Club is long overdue!

This holiday season
would you please consider making a gift

to help us open the doors in the Twin Cities
click on this link

Your role as
a GCTC supporter cannot be
underestimated. With your contribution, we will be able to provide hope, education
and support through our own Cancer Support Community.
Your gift will directly
support the goal of opening the doors in the Twin Cities. All gifts, no matter the size, are deeply appreciated and make a significant difference to those who are touched by cancer.
With deepest thanks,
Jenni Lilledahl
Chair, Board of Directors
Gilda's Club Twin Cities
To make your donation please
click on this link

Quick Links
Welcome New Volunteer
 Pat Jones Cooper

We set a GCTC Record for Funds Raised 
On-line in One Day

Thank you for joining us on November 17th to support our Give to the Max Day at

Seventy-five GCTC donors contributed $11,890 in
24 hours.

Your generosity made Give to the Max Day a historic event for Gilda's Club Twin Cities.
Our site at will be up year round, it's an easy way to donate and keep track of your donations. If you didn't have a chance to try it you aren't too late. You can find the

Just click DONATE in the right column

GiveMN was created by a group of Minnesota Funders to take advantage of the many benefits that online giving offers both contributors and nonprofits. The GiveMN partners help cover the cost of transaction processing, ensuring 100% of your donation goes directly to GCTC.


Well Within is a Wellness Resource Center

created to assist and encourage people in the midst of a health challenge who are seeking wellness and balance within their lives. A variety of workshops, support groups and other integrative healing experiences are offered that support the body's innate ability to heal, at low or no cost.

Well Within Integrative Healing Cancer Support Group for Women

Cost:  Free

1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each  month: 2:00-3:30 p.m.                   

Support Group, facilitated by Jane Klein, RN and Mary Treacy O'Keefe


Mind/ Body Practices and some time for sharing, facilitated by Cami Smalley, MA. 

2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month: 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Well Within

1784 LaCrosse Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55119


For more information click on:


Youth Grief Services

A Community Outreach

Program of

Fairview Ridges Hospital

Youth Grief Services offers a range of support and education services for grieving children and for the adults who care for them. Children and teens benefit from being with kids their own age who have also experienced the death of a loved one. They share the common experience of loss as well as the changes they have had to face after a loved one dies.

As a community service of Fairview Health Services, all their services are offered free of charge.


Fairview Ridges Hospital

201 East Nicollet Blvd

Burnsville MN 55337

for more information click here


Kundalini Yoga Class

An open invitation from Erika Peterson, GCTC volunteer
Anyone living with cancer, including families and friends, can attend a FREE weekly, restorative Kundalini Yoga and Meditation class, every Sunday. This is your opportunity to take part in a class that will eventually become part of the calendar of activities at Gilda's Club Twin Cities.


5:00-6:00 p.m.

New Location
The Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, 2833 Chicago Avenue Minneapolis MN, 612-940-6510.

Save the Date
Monday, July 26, 2010
Minneapolis Golf Club
Third Annual Roseanne Roseannadanna Golf Benefit

Happy New Year!
Thanks to  friends and supporters like you, 2009 was year of new momentum and growth for us.
We wish you and your families a new year filled with peace, joy, and meaning.