What We Do
The impact of cancer is not only physical but deeply emotional. Gilda’s Toronto is a community of support where people facing the fear and uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis, personally or for a loved one, can find strength in others who share their experience.
The supportive and educational programs at Gilda’s Toronto are an essential component of a complete cancer care plan and a complement to medical treatment. Those who seek support in this community are embraced as “Members”.
Since 2001, Gilda’s Toronto has improved the quality of life for more than 12,000 Members experiencing cancer-related stress to restore a sense of control, redefine hope, reduce stress and isolation during and after cancer treatment for improved quality of life. All programs are provided free of charge, so there is no financial barrier to accessing support in this community.
With more than 20 years of evidence-based program delivery, Gilda’s Toronto has developed a reputation for effective therapeutic programs led by mental health professionals. The virtual program environment continues to foster a community of mutual sharing, support, and expertise among all participants.
Gilda’s Toronto provides 600+ programs annually, delivered by volunteers and contract facilitators, each with exceptional cancer expertise. Masters prepared mental health professionals facilitate all support groups while experts in mind-body practices offer wellness programs that keep the body moving. Education workshops, panel discussions and social events are delivered by skilled subject experts including health care professionals. But what makes Gilda’s Toronto truly unique in the cancer support community is the mental health professionals who assess, triage and refer new Members to supportive programming. Gilda’s Toronto assesses Members for cancer-related stress and recommends program alignment for optimal support so that no one faces cancer alone.
Gilda’s Toronto has provided me with support during a very difficult time in my life. Being diagnosed with cancer with young kids at home was terrifying, and their programs helped me to process and deal with the challenges of my diagnosis and treatment. Their support groups, exercise classes, and information sessions on relevant cancer-related topics have been excellent. They have reminded me that I’m not alone in my journey and experiences with cancer. ~ Gilda’s Toronto Member
Today, with the added worries related to COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing, Gilda’s Toronto has modified our program delivery method to become a virtual community of support. Since April 2020, Members connect virtually to all programs, including education, physical activity and support groups from the comfort of their own homes. This thriving virtual community has become for some, the only connection to emotional support, the only outlet for physical exercise and the only place to meet others who can relate to their feelings of isolation, fear and anxiety.
Our cancer community is named after the late comedienne Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live fame, who visited a Wellness Community in Los Angeles while undergoing her own cancer treatment. It was there that she drew strength and comfort from others who shared her cancer experience. It was Gilda hoped that “such support communities” be available to anyone touched by cancer so no one would have to face cancer alone.
We are here because Gilda believed people should have exceptional, comprehensive, and evidence-based psychosocial cancer support. We meet their evolving needs through programs and services provided by a diverse group of professionals, partners, and communities.
To help people live, while living with cancer.
- Be Compassionate
- Act with Integrity
- Inclusive in All We Do
- Work Collaboratively
- Strive for Excellence
With COVID restrictions on travelling, I became concerned about attending programs at Gilda’s Toronto location. However, Gilda‘s Toronto virtual program is helping me greatly. I participate in the weekly yoga program and this program on Managing Cancer Fatigue helped me understand that I am not alone in feeling the fatigue and how movements, exercises, however small does help. It was heartening to understand the resources are available. Thanks Gildas for the program and for sending the slides etc. ~ Gilda’s Toronto Member
Help Gilda’s Toronto ensure no one has to face cancer alone.
Gilda’s Toronto Board of Directors
Matt Page – Chair of the Board
Partner, The Boston Consulting Group
Randi Hampson – Past Chair of Board
Lawyer, Family Law
Robert Granatstein – Treasurer
Lawyer, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Grace Almendras Castillo
Founder/President, Gifttdid Inc.
Sarah Kinsella Coyle, MBA, PMP, CHE
Business Manager, Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN
Senior Manager, KPMG LLP
Peter S. Drummond
Co-Founder, PSD+G Strategy Group
Mitchell R. Fong, P. Eng, PMP
Global Technology EPMO Leader, Software Engineer, Agile Coach
Founder and President, The Roxton Group
Director of Business Development, Trivest Partners
Jacqueline K. Othen
Sales Representative OTHEN GROUP – RE/MAX PRIME
Principal, Sarah Simpson Consulting
Laura Skrela, CPA, CA
Manager – Strategy, Scotiabank
(Relief Nurse) Occasional/Retired
Princess Margaret Hospital
Aleem Visram, HBA, MBA
President & Founder, Transform Financial
Robert L. Wilson B.A.A., T.E.P.
President & Founder, Ocean Asset Advisors
Gilda’s Toronto Staff
Elizabeth Dalgleish – Executive Director
Phone: (416) 214-9898 – ext. 204
Katie Jacobs, MSW. RSW – Director, Clinical Programs (On Leave)
Phone: (416) 214-9898 – ext. 203
Christine Speck, MSW, RSW – Interim Program Director
Phone: 416-214-9898 – ext. 219
Neil Wiernik – Director, Marketing and Communications
Phone: 416-214-9898 – ext. 220
Elana Shapiro – Manager, Development & Stewardship
Phone: (416) 214-9898 – ext. 205
Tory Hagerman, BA, CCLS – Family Coordinator
Phone: (416) 214-9898 – ext. 212
Gloria Lauš, RSSW – Virtual Programs Coordinator
Phone: (416) 214-9898 – ext. 215
Zeba Tayabee, MSW, RSW – Membership Engagement Coordinator
Phone: 416-214-9898 – ext. 209
Kimberly Penton, B.A., D.S.W. – Volunteer Coordinator
Phone: (416) 214-9898 – ext. 213
Caitlin Smith – Donor Relations Specialist
Phone: 416-214-9898 – ext. 202