Gilda’s Club offered a wonderful service
Regarding the article on the sale of the former Gilda House, we wanted to voice a quite different point of view that the former Gilda’s Club members share.
Hospice had offered to “save” Gilda’s Club when it agreed to take over the financial responsibilities. It reassured us over and over again that it could easily support Gilda’s Club and save it from bankruptcy.
At the same time, Gilda members had a difficult time accepting the transition. All of the original Gilda staff were let go or left. More staff was hired and let go, so we experienced constant turnover. Gilda volunteers seemed to take a back seat to Hospice volunteers. The programs that brought in many members seemed not to be supported by Hospice. The Gilda staff was regularly involved in referring new members to different programs, depending on interest. Hospice did not seem to refer.
Gilda’s Club was incredibly warm and inviting to all touched by cancer. The atmosphere was one of total acceptance and support. It felt like a second home to many members and we were always welcomed, even if it was to find an empty room for some alone time in a peaceful setting. The Hospice experience couldn’t have been more different. Many members no longer felt welcomed. The homelike atmosphere was replaced by a cold, clinical environment until the end days when the writing was on the wall that Gilda’s would close.
The philosophies of Gilda’s and Hospice are different. Gilda stressed living, even with cancer. Hospice prepared people to die.
Gilda’s Club was an amazing service supporting people with cancer. We miss it greatly and believe that it should be saved. Those who experienced Gilda’s service will never forget how much help and service and, most importantly, love Gilda’s original staff gave to members.