When I was first diagnosed in July of 2018, I was devastated! I thought there was no way that I could have breast cancer! And not just any breast cancer – Triple Negative Breast Cancer! I wasn’t sure exactly what to do or expect from this new life-changing experience, and a friend of mine had mentioned that there was a support group that was for cancer patients. I, of course, was very hesitant, due to social anxiety, and being in groups just made me feel awkward like I didn’t fit in anywhere.
When I called and set up my first meeting, the one where everyone was going to be in a group, I declined and asked if I could meet just one on one, with Kirsten. She was so kind and agreed. I immediately felt a little better after she explained how and what Gilda’s was.
I was really excited – and then the great floods of 2018 happened which ruined the building and I was heartbroken! I then found out they were still offering services. So I drove out to John Nolen to go to my first meeting, I immediately felt welcomed, cared for, and accepted by being around people just like me. I was with “my people!” I made some really good friends and bonded with a few members.
I then found out that they had a kids program so I let my 6 kids know about it and they all seemed very interested in going. They all really enjoyed it. So it became a new normal for us that Tuesday at 6 was with Gilda’s.
Skip to a year later and the red doors were going to open again. My kids and I jumped at every opportunity to be a part of the group, we helped paint the walls and murals, we went to all the big events, we were excited to find out and see what this “Family Night” was so when they brought back their Family Night. It was our night. Our Tuesdays were now dedicated to the red doors.
I was with my second family, my second home. I was always welcomed, never felt awkward with telling my story because they all underwood what it’s like. So when people say” I can’t even imagine, it must be so hard” I would say you’re right it’s hard, and until you have gone through it yourself, you won’t ever possibly know. But my Gilda’s group did. They got me, they understand me, they are me.
My kids loved going. They made friends that blossomed, I made friends that blossomed.
Gilda’s is my second home, and always will be. Without Gildas’s support, I honestly don’t know how my cancer journey would have gone, how my mental health would have gone. I will always be grateful for the wonderful welcoming smiling faces every time you walk through those doors!
I recommend Gildas often. I have been on the radio 2 times regarding my cancer and I brought up Gilda’s every time. I am so incredibly grateful for it.