For all of you who want to support a worthy cause (and take advantage of the end of calendar year tax deduction), please consider Gilda's Club Seattle.
Named after actor and comedian Gilda Radner, who needed and found a place she could go to for support when she had cancer, Gilda's Club opens its doors to anyone living with cancer, their families and friends. I have been attending a weekly yoga class there for many years, since my cancer came back, and I am an active volunteer in raising funds to support this wonderful organization. I was even supposed to model and speak at their annual fashion show last spring, but went into the hospital with complications from chemo instead. I hope to model in 2010. All Gilda's Clubs programs are free.
The Isaac family quoted in the letter below are my friends Josh and Kim Isaac and their children. Josh lives with metastatic epithelioid sarcoma, a rare cancer that took his left hand. Gilda's Club has been terrific for their entire family. You can read more about Josh's story on his blog, Joshua's Space.
Gilda's Club Seattle has had a year filled with many successes and many challenges. Our services are needed by more people and the economy has made it harder to find the dollars we need to keep moving forward. We know we are changing lives. Please read the following letter received this past August from the mother of two of our Camp Sparkle campers. It will tell you about one of the many reasons that it’s so important for Gilda’s Club to be here when someone hears “You have cancer.”
“For the past year a social worker has come to our house and met with Jacob (8) and Sam (5) together and separately dealing with the emotions of having a father with metastatic cancer and anticipatory grief. In March, I ran the Mercer Island Half Marathon and while walking around the exhibits came across Gilda's booth. By this time, Josh had been in and out of the hospital with lung complications and it seemed as if finding additional support for Jacob and Sam might be needed. The staff member shared the Camp Sparkle information with me and when I came home from the race I shared it with Josh and we both agreed that going to this camp together would be a perfect intro into life at Gilda's.
So when summer started we explained to the boys that at Camp Sparkle they would be with other kids who have a family member affected by cancer and they would get to go swimming, to the park, the museums, etc. Day one and day two of camp were a bit shaky. Both boys reacted with their various defense mechanisms and Josh and I looked at one another as if perhaps we made a mistake by signing them up. However, we charged ahead and not once did they say that they did not want to go to camp, not once did they say they didn't like it and after day two they went skipping into the red door on Broadway. On the last day of camp, I walked into the lobby and a young girl came running up to me and said, "is Sam and Jacob's dad dieing from cancer?" I responded by shaking my head yes. Her response was "would it be ok if I pray for him?" Of course my response was, “YES please do!” Next, Sam came running up to me and asked if he could come back to Camp Sparkle next year? Of course you can I told him and then explained that he and Jacob could visit Noogieland once a month if they wanted to, resulting in a smile from ear to ear.
For the last sixteen years I have spent my career raising money for social services, explaining the need for funds to support those who need it the most in our society. Now I am on the other side of this scenario and have become a recipient of the generosity of those who are supporting Gilda's Club…a place I did not think that I would find myself. However, I can honestly say that Camp Sparkle is truly a gift to those families who are able to attend this incredible and magical camp. Jacob and Sam (and hopefully their sister Sophie, 2 years old) feel that Gilda's Club is a safe place for them to be, to talk, to have fun and to feel love and support.
Simply, thank you!
By all accounts, 2010 will continue to be an economically difficult year, but for people who have cancer, their challenges will remain the same. For those of you who have already remembered Gilda’s Club Seattle in your holiday giving plans, thank you so much. We need to be here in the community for all of the Sams, Jacobs, Sophies, Joshs and Kims whose lives will be touched by cancer…and we need your help. Please make a gift of at least $100 to Gilda's Club Seattle to help us continue to ensure that no one has to face cancer alone. Please send a check to Gilda's Club Seattle or donate through our secure donation page. You may also donate at www.firstgiving.com/gildasclubseattle.
We thank you and wish you and yours good health and happiness in the holiday season.
I hope you will consider making a generous donation today.