The fireside lounge was set up Wednesday for a presentation by
Michelle Kline, a member of Gilda's Club in order to promote the
association, which is focused on supporting those who are living with cancer.
The presentation consisted of a brief video, followed by a
presentation by Gilda staff member Michelle Kline. The video showed the history
of Gilda's Club, and showed what the club is actually about. During
the presentation tins were passed around in order to collect money for
"If you give your friend will give, if you do not give your friend
won't give," Dr. Christopher Bursk, faculty adviser for the Human
Rights Club said as the tins were getting passed through out the audience.
Kline began her presentation by crediting the creator of Gilda's
club, the late Saturday Night Live star Gilda Radner, who had died of
ovarian cancer in 1989. Radner was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and was
put in a community to get well on the west coast. When she returned home
to NYC, she realized that there was nothing like that on the east
coast. She felt alone, and did not want other cancer patients to feel the
same way. Gilda's Club was then started in NYC to support not only
those who are living with cancer, but also to support their family and
"When cancer happens, it happens to the entire family," Radner
stated in a previous interview. Gilda's Club strides to end the
loneliness that cancer patients and their families usually encounter.
Gilda's Club is a service free of charge, for patients and their
family. There are 16 centers in the whole country, one of which is in
Warminster. The grand opening for this center was in June.
Kline then proceeded to tell alarming statistics about cancer. In 2002,
there were 170, 000 cancer deaths. This year 1,500 people a day will
die of cancer. The audience sat silently and listened diligently as
Kline read these facts. For many, cancer was a topic that had already hit
Kline began to introduce the ideas and programs that Gilda's club
has to offer. There is no medical care at the Club, it is strictly for
emotional, and psychological help. There are Wellness groups which are
dedicated to patients who want to openly talk about what they are going
through, family groups which are for friends and family of those who
are living with cancer, and networking groups, which are focused on
specific topics such as ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and
Gilda's club has more to offer then just discussion groups, they also
hold social events, demonstrations, and exercise classes such as yoga
and Pilates for those who want the support of others, but aren't as
open to discussion.
"Gilda's club is focused on listening to the patients," Kline
stated. "I usually only say about two words in a support group, these
people just have a world to talk about." The club has a motto which
states "You are never victims, never survivors, just people living with
Kline then explained "Noogie Land," which is named after one of
Radner's skits on SNL. "Noogie Land" is a place for kids who are
either living with cancer, or who have a family member living with cancer.
There are discussions and open play time for these children.
For the final part of the presentation, Kline got the audience
involved. Three people were chosen to read stories written by three different
members of Gilda's club who are currently living with cancer. The
three letters told their stories; they let their voices be heard. Two
stories were about members who were living with breast cancer, while the
last story was about a member who was living with brain cancer. After
these stories were read, a member from the audience stood up and announced
that she was a cancer survivor.
The presentation ended with an open questions segment. One question was
how do people find out about Gilda's Club? Kline stated that doctors
often refer patients to the Club, and that the Club itself also does
outreach programs, such as talking at colleges.
As the program wrapped up, another video was shown about the Club. The
presentation lasted for about an hour.