Gildas Club Twin Cities Newsletter February 2010
GCTC Photostrip
Executive Director Desk

You made a difference, you spread the word, and you met the November GiveMNMichelle Silverman challenge and still gave more in your year-end gifts. The results were phenomenal: the November--December fundraising efforts resulted in three times the number of donations historically given at year-end. I am heartened by this show of confidence and the sheer number of people who want to make Gilda's Club Twin Cities happen. Thank you all, contributors, volunteers, board members and MRC.

We now have the energy and the momentum for the challenges ahead; in 2010 we will be launching the capital campaign with a goal of raising over 1.5 million dollars--and a dream of opening the clubhouse doors by year-end. We will be calling on each of you again to help make this a reality. If there is someone in your circle of friends, family or your professional network that we should be talking to please contact me at 651-295-1113 or

You can also help by volunteering--we are recruiting members for the following committees:
  • Capital Campaign
  • Fundraising Development
  • Golf Event Committee
Please send your contact information and committee preference to

Let's make this dream a reality this year!
New Board Member Welcome

Jeff Dankey Director-at-Large. When asked why he accepted the invitation
to serve on the Gilda's Club Twin Cities board Jeff said, "I am passionate about helping to establish a cancer support community that will provide the much needed social and emotional support to people whose lives have been touched by cancer. My entire family could have used a resource like this when my sister in Massachusetts was diagnosed with cancer."

Jeff is a VP at JE3, a medical device company, for "Drop Foot" condition. You can reach him at

Fundraising for Gilda's Club Twin Cities With
Intelligent Nutrients Feb 28th

This will be a memorable event, a one-day fundraiser put on for Gilda's Club Twin Cities by Intelligent Nutrients, Horst Rechelbacher and Brad Schlaeger at the  Accolades Salon at Intelligent Nutrients on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis.
  • More than 20 cosmetologists will do haircuts, hand treatments, blowouts, chair massages and hand massages Horst
  • Product samples will be given out
  • A Gilda's Club room where you can watch the GCTC video, hear personal stories from people who have lived with cancer and learn why they feel there is such a strong need for a Gilda's Club in the Twin Cities.
You won't want to miss this exciting day so mark your calendars and watch for your invitation with all of the details coming soon to your email address.

In My Own Words

In past issues you have read about people whose lives have been impacted by cancer and the differences their involvement with a Gilda's Club has made for them.Today we bring you the experiences of a GCTC volunteer and member of the ambassador speakers committee who turned to the Wellness Community (the Gilda's Club newly merged partner and an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community) for support.
I'm Kathy Pfaendtner, back in the beginning of 2007 I was focused like so many of us, on how I could lose 10 or 20 pounds and feel good in my bathing suit during the following summer. I never could have imagined the year that actually was in store for my family and me.
In early April of 2007, I was diagnosed with Stage IIA invasive ductal carcinoma in the right breast. I had a mastectomy and 16 lymph nodes removed. Thankfully, the cancer had not spread to the nodes. Now in survival mode, my quest for a better look in a bathing suit was put on hold.
One source of great emotional support for my family and me came from an Kathy  and childrenunassuming, newly constructed building, which I'd driven past hundreds of times in my suburban Cincinnati neighborhood but never thought about. It turned out that it was
The Wellness Community, the very organization that Gilda Radner discovered during her battle with ovarian cancer almost two decades earlier in California.

After the first meeting with my breast surgeon post-diagnosis, my husband and I didn't want to go home immediately but we didn't know what else we should do. Then I remembered The Wellness Community and thought a visit would be an obvious next step to take. It was after normal business hours, the doors were open and a friendly receptionist was sitting just inside the door to welcome us.
My husband and I were still feeling raw from our talk with the breast surgeon, but we only had to mention to the receptionist "we were new at this" and asked her to recommend some place to start to gather information and support. This woman, who I think was a volunteer, was extremely sensitive to our situation while offering us information that would prove to be beneficial to us as I went through surgery and chemo.

I scheduled my surgery for the end of April and began chemotherapy in early June on the first day of summer break for the kids. After the second round of chemo I began losing what was left of the hair on my preemptively-shaven head.
Chemo was awful, but I maintained a positive attitude throughout in large part because of the enormous range of services, groups and classes offered by the Wellness Community of Cincinnati, Ohio. We took advantage of these programs as a family.
The wonderful thing about the Wellness Community is right from the start, when you walk in the door there is an overall welcoming feeling you just know  you can let your guard down; you can trust them; you don't have to explain yourself; it's a shared experience. My husband and children felt this as well. We had family therapy and age appropriate counseling for each of the kids. What I liked is being able to do all of this at once--the kids were in good hands and getting their counseling or attending arts and crafts, and we were in our support group with people who knew what we were going through.
YogaI also took advantage of the yoga classes, which considered the physical limitations of the participants, and cooking classes focused on healing nutrition.
Then the next chapter of my life began. Two weeks after my last surgery we moved to Minneapolis. I was excited about the move and assumed being so close to the Mayo Clinic there must be something like the Wellness Community in Minneapolis. What I found was there was not very much in the way of support. I did join a group that met once a month but that didn't work for me. For a group to be helpful it's members need to meet often to establish and maintain comfort and trust with the other members. So I started my own group, which met every other week. That worked for a while but we didn't have a facilitator so it wasn't as helpful as it could have been.

When Gilda Radner was diagnosed, she was quoted as saying, "Having cancer gave me a membership in an elite club that I'd rather not belong to."  As with membership in any small specialized club, its members become privy to very specific perspectives that non-members would have difficulty understanding simply because of a lack of shared experience. 
And so, I guess what I would want you to take away from my story is that although my family and I received great support from family and friends during my illness, it was the shared experiences of the people at The Wellness Community that gave me the emotional and social support that is essential for healing the whole person-ME. 
Let's make sure there is a Twin Cities Gilda's clubhouse where Minnesotans can have the same support and shared experience that I enjoyed through The Wellness Community of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Knitting Connection

"On behalf of GCTC, the First Thursdays Knitting Club, a local knitting group founded by Mary Taylor, Renay Leone, Eva Stevens and Kim Bowden, is reaching out to Twin Cities knitters for their help in making chemo caps and shawls." This club has a goal to have a large supply of handmade chemo hats and shawls ready for the men, women and children who will be GCTC's future members. They are appealing to knitting groups and individuals to join the effort.
What could be more rewarding than sharing your creativity to craft Knit Cap
a comforting, warm cap or shawl for a prospective GCTC member undergoing chemo?
This club has developed a terrific brochure with a special treat to get you started--an original chemo hat pattern for you to use designed by Nicky Epstein, the world-famous knitting designer. Click here to download a copy of the brochure with the design and a handy list of web links to other free patterns. If you have questions about knitting the cap contact Mary Taylor at:
Hallie's Knit Wits in Andover has stepped up to the challenge; members Hallie Foley, Marni Fonder, Marilyn Olmstead, Kathy Palmquist, Barb Lilledahl, Carol Palashewski, and Marilyn Lilledahl are knitting the Nicky Epstein chemo hat design for Gilda's Club Twin Cities.
When you or your group are ready to drop off finished goods please contact Carrie Puterbaugh at: to make arrangements.

Come On. Get Involved.
As Gilda might have said, "So what are you waiting for?" With a philosophy and program unlike any other resource in Minnesota, Gilda's Club Twin Cities will fill an important gap in cancer care and touch thousands of people living with cancer today.

Here are ways you can help:

Make a personal donation every dollar given will bring us closer to opening our doors. Click here to donate
Volunteer and discover the list of essential and rewarding things you can do. Click here to volunteer

Links to Highlights In This Issue
New Board Member Welcome
Intelligent Nutrients Fundraiser
In My Own Words Kathy Pfaendtner
The Knitting Connection
Come On. Get Involved.
Save the Date Golf Event
Quick Links


Sept photo bannerFrauenshuh Cancer Center at Park Nicollet
A cancer diagnosis can bring uncertainty and stress not only to patients, but also to families and friends. Frauenshuh Cancer Center sponsors a variety of support and educational programs to help guide you and your and loved ones through difficult times.
Classes and Groups
Cancer Support and Education Programs 

All groups are free and ongoing; no registration is required. However, registration is required for all classes.To register, or for more information, call 952-993-5700.

Additional details about specific classes and groups, including times and locations, are available online at:

Park Nicollet Cancer Support

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.
Minimal or no cost.

Well Within Integrative Healing Cancer Support Group for Women

Cost:  Free

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

  Mind/ Body Practices

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

Some Time for Sharing, facilitated by Cami Smalley, 

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

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  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 Valentine's Day