The Friends of Gilda’s Nova Scotia is committed to developing a place to provide free, professional programs, ensuring that all people affected by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.
The Friends of Gilda’s Society Nova Scotia started in 2012 by a group of five Haligonians who have all been touched by cancer, and were inspired by the success of Gilda’s Club and Cancer Support Community programs in providing support to individuals and families living with the disease. Excited by the idea of creating a place where all people affected by cancer – men, women, children, teens, friends and family – could come together and learn from each other, our founding five have committed themselves to making this space a reality.
Gilda’s Club is a non-clinical, psychosocial and emotional support program affiliated with the Cancer Support Community (an international leader in psychosocial oncology research and program development), named for comedian Gilda Radner. Gilda Radner, most famous for her work as an original cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986. In her book It’s Always Something, Gilda describes her experience with cancer, and how important finding a community to learn from and share the cancer journey with was to her. In her memory, Gilda’s Club Worldwide was established in New York City, which has helped communities all across North America benefit from psychosocial and emotional support. In 2009 Gilda’s Club Worldwide partnered with The Wellness Community, which combined the knowledge, resources, and expertise of two organizations dedicated to psychosocial oncology into one: The Cancer Support Community. The Cancer Support Community has since grown into an international leader in psychosocial service delivery and research with 59 Clubhouses and Communities established across the United States, Canada, Japan, and Israel, with partners in the Philippines, the UK, and India, as well as the Cancer Support Community’s Research and Training Institute in Philadelphia.
To learn more about the Cancer Support Community click here.
Our vision is to align with the other Canadian CSC affiliated Gilda’s Clubs, and to expand on the programs already working so well in all the other Gilda’s Clubhouses while meeting the unique needs of Nova Scotians experiencing cancer. Eventually operating as an official CSC affiliate, our long-term goal is to offer the following programs, free of charge, five days a week:
Support and Networking Groups
Groups whose focus will be on wellness, family dynamics and networking will all be offered at the clubhouse. Dictated by the needs of the membership these groups will convene on a regular basis for the betterment of all members.
Lectures and Workshops
An integral part of any Cancer Support Community affiliate, the lectures and workshops will become a mainstay of our schedule of activities.
The social aspect of Gilda’s Nova Scotia is seen as in integral part of functioning, as this resonates well with local culture from across the province.
Children affected by cancer will find a place to come and be kids – to do the things kids like to do best – and be able to leave the strain of living with cancer behind for a few moments and be able to get back in touch with their fun-loving spirits. In a separate area of the clubhouse we will devote an area to the teens of our membership. A place designed to allow teens the freedom to participate in clubhouse activities designed to their specific emotional and social needs.
The goal of After Cancer is to address the often-neglected social and emotional needs of cancer survivors, and their families and friends, in a unique and innovative way through a well-defined program of education and support activities. This also includes social and emotional support for those who have loved ones who have died of cancer.
With the Nova Scotia cancer community being geographically spread out, unique to other cities with CSC affiliates, we have identified a need to offer support, education, and our community online. This goal of this program is to help reduce the isolation of those affected by cancer living in remote regions in the province, as well as support individuals and families who are coming into Halifax for treatment, which in some cases requires moving into town for up to 16 weeks.