Note: In 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda's Club joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community, which provides the highest quality emotional and social support through a global network of nearly 50 local affiliates, more than 100 satellite locations and online. To find a community-based center in your area, visit the Cancer Support Community website.
Friday, June 14, 2013
Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit: Women of Color Cancer Support Group (Deirdre Armstrong – Frances Shani Parker Interview, Video)
Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit was created to fulfill the dream of Gilda Radner, a famous American comedienne and actress, who died from ovarian cancer. A Detroiter, Gilda wanted to provide a free cancer support community for others with cancer, their families, and friends. Located locally in Royal Oak, Michigan this organization has helped thousands of members since 1998 through various support groups that accommodate diverse participants.
I was invited to speak to the Gilda’s Club Women of Color Cancer Support Group about my book Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes. Sitting in a comfortable circle in the nonresidential house where Gilda’s Club is located, I enjoyed an enthusiastic discussion with a group of women in various stages of cancer or remission. Members also shared highlights of their lives related to cancer and offered helpful reassurance when needed.
Deirdre Armstrong graciously agreed to the following interview to better convey her personal experiences as a member and encourage others.
1) What is the purpose of Gilda's Club Women of Color Cancer Support Group?
Our group provides an opportunity for us to come together to discuss cancer-related issues relevant to us and provide mutual support.
2) How did you find out about this local cancer support group?
I found out about this group from the American Cancer Society.
3) What does the group do at the monthly meetings?
The group meets the third Wednesday of every month. We bring healthy dishes to pass around. We also participate in updates on treatment, guest presentations, and problem solving concerning our individual illnesses.
4) How have you benefitted from being a member of this group?
It is truly a blessing to have a nice place to go where I can be with people who have concerns like mine. We can all be some form of help to one another. We discuss where we are on this journey with our health struggles.
5) What advice would you give to others who might consider joining a support group?
My advice to others is this: Do not be afraid. It is so beneficial to discuss cancer issues with other women who are walking in your shoes. Maybe they have not had multiple cancers like I have, but they will understand that this is an ongoing battle. We must not give up.
Deirdre, thank you for sharing your support group experience and inspiring others.
For more information about cancer and details about Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit services, resources, and other locations, view the following video. CMNtv Host Jay Wiencko interviews Laura Varon Brown of Gilda's Club Metro Detroit to discuss their mission of creating welcoming communities of free support for everyone living with cancer -- men, women, teens and children -- along with their families and friends.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble .