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obody should have to face cancer alone. That’s the mission behind Gilda’s Club, which was named in honour of Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda Radner, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 1989. It was Radner’s dream that everyone affected by cancer would have access to the emotional and social support she received during her illness. It is the goal of the team at Gilda’s Club Southeastern Ontario to officially open its bright red doors to members in the Limestone City in December of 2014 — and its mission will be no different. “Gilda’s Club is very much needed in Kingston,” says Barb Revelle, executive director of the Kingston-based Gilda’s. “We cover all of Southeastern Ontario. Over 100,000 people come and visit the cancer clinic here in our city, and they can have the opportunity to have a bright spot in their day.” The clubhouse, which will provide a warm, home-like atmosphere to its members (whether they’re women, men, teens or children), will offer everything from lectures and workshops to a wide range of classes. Meanwhile, “Noogieland”, a specially-designed children’s area, will give kids the opportunity to connect with others their own age. The best part? All the services available at Gilda’s Club are 100 per cent free to their members. There’s no question, says Revelle, that the emotional and social services provided at Gilda’s Club are hugely beneficial to both

those impacted by cancer and their family and friends. “It’s a great compliment to the medial care they are getting. It’s the one thing that they have the control over,” she points out, noting that members are free to take part in all the programs and classes they offer, or just sit quietly in the library. The choice, she emphasizes, is all theirs. Sami Bessette knows firsthand just how vital the services at Gilda’s Club are. Her mother Catherine was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005 at the young age of 44. It had metastasized to her brain, and doctors had given her three to six months to live. After a visit to Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital to determine how to proceed with her treatment, mother and daughter decided to visit the Gilda’s Club on Lombard Street. “This is where something happened,” recalls Bessette. “Something magical.” “When we walked in, it felt like home. It didn’t feel like we were going to another hospital, or another program, it felt like we could have lived there. It was so comfortable and so inviting. I could see the warmth in my mom…she hadn’t smiled in months. There, there were people that understood how she felt, and it filled her with a joy … and it spilled onto me,” says Bessette, her eyes filling with tears. “I felt it, too. It was January … but inside, it felt warm.” She said following that initial visit to Gilda’s, her mom not only grew a little

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Fine Lifestyles Kingston Spring 2014  

Fine Lifestyles Kingston Spring 2014  

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