Barrie-based Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka reaching out
Guests at Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka, wander through Gilda's Courtyard of Hope reading names of cancer survivors and their families honored during Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony in celebration of the courtyard’s first phase. Mark Wanzel/Barrie Examiner/Postmedia Network
Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka is taking on cancer one brick at a time.
The Barrie-based club’s mission is to help someone or a family deal with cancer and it showcased the completion of the first phase of Gilda's Courtyard of Hope during a Thursday evening event.
Individuals can purchase a personalized, inscribed brick for the courtyard for $200 as a gift in honour of someone special, or in celebration of a memorable occasion, according to community development co-ordinator Anne Naumyk.
“They can also recognize a person, family, or business,” she said. “The purchase of each brick directly impacts Gilda's Club, so we can continue to provide free support to anyone touched by cancer, and ensure that no one faces cancer alone.”
The non-profit organization, which has been on the receiving end of some support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation in the past, relies on public support, she added.
“Whether you are dealing with your own diagnosis, or that of a family member or friend, Gilda's Club is a cancer-support community for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer,” Naumyk said. “There is no charge to become a member, and all of the program activities offered are 100% free of charge for men, women, children and teens.”
Community support is vital in keeping the Gilda’s Club ‘Red Door’ open for all who are living with cancer in the community, according to CEO and program director Kristen Dawson.
“It’s a revenue-generating stream which allows us to continue to offer our programs free of cost,” she said. “It’s also a way that both those who are involved with our program of support but also the larger community can recognize and celebrate, and also remember those people in their lives who have been impacted by cancer.”
Area businesses are being asked to step up and three have already helped make Gilda's Courtyard of Hope a reality.
Jeff White Property Maintenance workers volunteered their time to install the bricks. Staff from Monument Restorations did the engravings and Unilock donated all the stones, Dawson said.
Gilda’s Club was created in memory of comedian Gilda Radner, who was diagnosed with cancer in the 1980s. There is now a network of more than 55 Gilda’s Club organizations in North America and around the world providing a community of support for people affected by cancer.
For more information about how you can help, visit www.gildasclubsm.org.