What We Do
The impact of cancer is not only physical but deeply emotional. Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto (Gilda’s) 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 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 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 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 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 Club truly unique in the cancer support community is the mental health professionals who assess, triage and refer new Members to supportive programming. Gilda’s Club assesses Members for cancer-related stress and recommends program alignment for optimal support so that no one faces cancer alone.
Gilda’s Club 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 Member
Today, with the added worries related to COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing, Gilda’s 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’s hope that “such support communities” be available to anyone touched by cancer so no one would have to face cancer alone.
Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto is dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by the community.
Empowering everyone impacted by cancer with the means to achieve the greatest quality of life.
- Commitment to excellence
- Essential part of the care
- No charge for services
- Collective wisdom and individual experience
- Empowerment through Community
- Respectful and Inclusive
With COVID restrictions on travelling, I became concerned about attending programs at Gilda’s location. However, Gilda‘s 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 Member