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Chicago, IL 60654
Gilda's Club Chicago’s mission is to create welcoming communities of free support for everyone living with cancer – men, women, teens and children along with their families and friends. The Club’s philosophy is that a diagnosis of cancer brings with it potential for insight and compassion that can be tapped and shared with others to the benefit of all.
In its groundbreaking 2007 report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient –Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concludes:
“Attending to psychosocial needs should be an integral part of quality cancer care. The failure to address the very real psychosocial health needs of patients and their caregivers is a failure to effectively treat that patient's cancer, plain and simple.”
“Psychosocial health care addresses the emotional challenges that can accompany a serious illness as well as the life challenges that can prevent good healthcare and patients’ ability to take care of themselves. In spite of the availability if these services, the Committee found that health care providers often do not ask about psychosocial problems or link patients to available services – with detrimental effects on their patients. The Committee found that this care can and must be improved, if patients are to receive the care they need, and have their health care and health optimized.”
Gilda's Club Chicago addresses this problem directly by providing psychosocial programming and by promoting access to the program through ongoing outreach efforts to doctors, nurses, administrators and caregivers. Its program offers support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social activities. Noogieland is designed to address the psychosocial needs of children living with cancer, such as fear, anxiety, depression and isolation.
In a typical month, Gilda's Club Chicago hosts more than 150 separate member activities. Last year the Club hosted over 9,000 member visits. It serves members from the greater Chicagoland area (Chicago: 81%; Surrounding suburbs: 18%; Out of state: 2%). All programs are free. Some may wonder what cooking demonstration, yoga classes and pottery workshops have to do with cancer. The answer is a reflection of the Club’s philosophy. When individuals touched by cancer come together based on their individual interests, they connect. In this community setting, conversations turn to shared experiences about cancer – from family interactions to shared concerns as parents. They share their experiences about working with doctors and their knowledge from their own diagnosis. They learn from each other and they support each in a way that only someone having been through similar experiences can fully understand.