by Lannia Stenz, Executive Director/CEO

Stories connect us, inspire us, give us a common reference point, and can even persuade. However, I personally believe the greatest impact storytelling has on us is that stories help us feel less alone in a world that can sometimes feel incredibly isolating.

In the early days before Gilda’s Club Madison had a clubhouse or even permission to become a Gilda’s Club, there was a group of leaders in Madison who understood the value and impact of cancer support. They spoke with everyone they could about their dream of bringing cancer support to Madison. They told stories of their own cancer experiences and helped our community visualize what could be possible for families facing cancer. Powerful words.

“Come As You Are”

In 2008 when Gilda’s Club Madison first opened, the organization spread the message “Come As You Are” to new potential members. That phrase meant that no matter how you were feeling, you were welcome.

Gilda's Club members participate in a support group

It meant that Gilda’s Club was available to anyone touched by any kind of cancer, regardless of where they were in their journey. The stories our members shared during support groups and other programs mattered and brought them together through shared common experiences, regardless of specific diagnosis. Impactful connections.

Telling Compelling Stories

As we move toward our fifteenth year of serving families impacted by cancer, it’s time for us to capture the stories that built Gilda’s Club, strengthened our community, and brought us closer together. On November 3rd and 5th welcomed storytellers Jen Rubin, Takeyla Benton, and Brendon Panke to share techniques about how to tell compelling stories. These sessions were open to the broader Gilda’s Club community. In the new year we will host storytelling sessions where our founders, members, and others closely tied to the organization can share their Gilda’s Club story. It’s time to shine a spotlight on those powerful words and impactful connections.

Together we have gotten through some challenging times. It’s time to come together and celebrate the many voices that make up the Gilda’s Club community! Because of you, community truly is stronger than cancer.

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