Dear reader,

June 17, 2011. I was at work trying to keep from thinking about my biopsy. My husband and I were hoping the call would be good news. Instead it threw our lives into a whirlwind of appointments and testing. I had stage IIB Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Breast Cancer. How could this be? We had family summer vacations planned; a trip to Disney; I was only 36! The feeling upon receiving the news is beyond words. Chemotherapy started 10 days after I was diagnosed and I had a double mastectomy right before Thanksgiving. Then more unexpected news: 1 out of 4 lymph nodes had cancer. Now radiation was on the table, more surgery, and months of treatments. This is when I realized my children, then ages 10, 7, 4, and 1, needed help through this life “hiccup” as much as I did.

Many organizations support the diagnosed person, and possibly their spouse, but an organization that supports whole families with any type of cancer is amazing. This is Gilda’s Club. They helped me through support groups where I met people who have traveled a similar journey. After just one visit to the Clubhouse and Noogieland, I could see in the faces of my children happiness that had been missing. Even when no words about cancer were spoken, they found comfort in being around peers that were dealing with a story similar to theirs. My husband and I have had accomplishments we would have never dreamed of because of Gilda’s Club’s support. Together we completed the 2012 Rochester Half Marathon with Gilda’s Gang, just 5 months after I finished radiation.

It still shocks me to think that I have my own cancer story. It is not only a disease fought by the diagnosed, but by all who love them. Fighting cancer goes on after treatment finishes, and this is why Gilda’s Club is so important to our family. The physical, mental, and emotional support has relieved us of stress and worry.

I am sure that you have a similar story, and that you are thankful Gilda’s Club is here for friendship, support and education. With all of the free programs they offer, we did not have to choose to participate if we could afford it – we could come as much as we needed at no cost to us. While programs are free to attend, they are not free to run. There are many ways to support Gilda’s Club, and if you feel so moved, please consider a gift of support so that we can all help Gilda’s Club help others through their cancer journey. All donations stay right here, helping other members in our community. We will forever be indebted to Gilda’s Club Rochester for their support and love of our family.

Lisa and Jeff, Taylor, McKenna, Nolan and Brody