Give Strength. Give Hope. Give Today.

Four years ago my husband and I were building a life together.

A new house, a toddler, and a baby on the way. One month after our second daughter was born, we received the devastating news that my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. In August of 2015 the cancer took his life. He had been doing well in a clinical trial and we never really faced the reality that he might not survive.

I found myself with two small children, and the overwhelming task of rebuilding our lives. A week later one of my friends told me about Gilda's Club South Jersey and Noogieland, their program for children. I decided to give it a try.

It was the best decision I could have ever made for my family.

We became members, and I brought my children to their first meeting. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the Noogieland staff and the volunteers surrounded my children with love understanding and comfort. They didn't want to leave at the end of the evening—which holds true to this day.

When we were driving home after the first night, my six-year-old, who had been somewhat withdrawn, said to me, "Mom, I met someone just like me today." That sense of shared grief and belonging is a key factor in a child's ability to cope.

My daughters are now four and seven and are thriving because of Gilda's Club. Noogieland is a priceless program for children who have experienced a life changing event because of cancer. They learn to express themselves through art, games, and discussion.

Gilda's Club provides emotional and social support for men, women and children impacted by cancer. As an adult, Gilda's Club is a place where it is okay to not be okay. Members are encouraged to talk as much or as little as they choose in a no pressure, non-judgmental environment. Once again, the group facilitators and volunteers make us feel at home. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, but we always feel like part of a caring community.

I think what best sums up Gilda's to me is in a simple statement made by a gentleman in our group to a new member. The new member expressed a feeling not only of loneliness, but being alone in his grief. To this, the gentleman replied, "What I learned here is that we are a family. You're now part of our family and you will never be alone."

Marisa Myers, Gilda's Club South Jersey Member

Every year Gilda’s Club South Jersey must raise at least $800,000 to provide our comprehensive program of support, educaon, and hope FREE of CHARGE to our members, like Marisa and her daughters. Your contribuon will make a difference to the many people right here in our community who are living with cancer. We welcome you to visit our Clubhouse in Linwood or to our satellite at the AtlanCare Cancer Care Instute in Egg Harbor Township.

Click here, Give Today.