Jeanne first came to Gilda’s Club when a friend from work told her about a new cancer support center opening in town. Her friend had heard about it from a tiny blurb in the local newspaper. Since it was just two blocks from her house, she figured she would call and find out more.
At the time, Jeanne was one month out of diagnosis and surgery, headed towards two more surgeries and didn’t know a thing about cancer, so she thought, maybe she could learn something. Jeanne said that her surgeon’s way of answering questions was to hand her Dr. Susan Love’s book and say, “read it”.
Her first meeting at Gilda’s was the following Saturday afternoon after her initial call. She still remembers that day, “There must have been 50 people gathered upstairs in the Library at the Royal Oak Clubhouse, so many that the group had to be split in half,” Jeanne shared. “Everyone had an opportunity to introduce themselves, tell their story, and hear about the programming at Gilda’s.” It was then that she knew, she found her place.
Jeanne said, “The sense of community among these strangers and soon to be friends was overwhelming. In short, I came for the support and along the way found a community of friends and staff that were all on my side cheering me along each and every hurdle of my cancer journey.”
Jeanne has never left Gilda’s Club side; she has been a part of our organization now for nearly 30 years. Jeanne is an active member and sits on our board of directors. When we asked Jeanne why she continues to stay involved, she said, “Knowing in some small way that I am helping others (as I was helped) on their cancer journey.”