By Allison Yonker, LMSW, Program Director
For the first time in a long time, I’m able to turn on the news and pick up the newspaper with a sense that change is on its way. While we continue to wear masks, social distance, and take all the precautions we’ve become so familiar with, more and more people are getting vaccinated each week. The number of new COVID cases is trending down. Businesses and schools are slowly and cautiously beginning to reopen. A small beam of light at the end of the tunnel is just starting to appear.
Unfortunately though, for many people, including those with cancer, the light at the end of the tunnel is not yet visible. Whether because they aren’t among those being prioritized for vaccinations or because a personal medical circumstance prevents vaccination altogether, for many with cancer, life remains frightening, frustrating, and lonely.
Our team at Gilda’s Club understands this. That’s why, as we continue to plan and prepare for the day we can safely welcome members back to the clubhouse, we also continue to evolve our virtual program offerings. When the time is right for us to offer an in-person option, we’ll be ready. But whether you join us in-person or virtually, we are here for you and remain committed to helping you navigate this difficult time.
Thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers, facilitators, and Program staff, we continue to expand our virtual offerings. From support groups to healthy lifestyle classes and everything in between, each week brings a variety of opportunities for our members to connect and grow in new ways.
And thanks to a recent technology grant from the Frist Foundation, our virtual support program offerings will continue indefinitely, even allowing members in the clubhouse and members off-site to come together in a hybrid format. Safety continues to be our number one priority, and we are proud of our ability to provide a place of support and understanding, regardless of whether we’re gathered in the same physical space.
It seems safe to say that few people have traversed this last year without some degree of unexpected difficulty. As we continue to travel our uncertain paths, we are grateful to our members for making Gilda’s Club a part of their lives, and we are grateful to our donors and community partners for giving us the ability to reach and support people wherever they are.