Cindy Hamilton Gilda's Club Middle Tennessee Everyone Has a Cancer Story Williamson County


Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I was a “typical Williamson County mom” with a husband, two kids, and busy days spent coordinating after-school activities, overseeing homework, and keeping the household running smoothly. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2017, everything changed. Our community rallied around us, but we still felt alone.

During one of my treatment sessions, a fellow patient told us about Gilda’s Club in Franklin. It was scary to admit we needed Gilda’s Club… My husband actually went first and then convinced me to go. The primary reason I was willing to give Gilda’s a try was because I wanted to learn to talk to my children about my cancer. I wanted them to understand without scaring them.

Leslie, Gilda’s children’s wellness consultant, was so reassuring. She acknowledged the reality – that’s it’s not always “rah rah!” She offered great advice and even offered to have the entire family in to help facilitate the conversation with our kids.

Over the next several months – and to this day – Gilda’s Club provided my family with much of the support we needed. This support came in the form of emotional counseling sessions for me and my husband; ongoing conversations with Leslie; regular Pilates classes geared toward cancer patients; and a weekly support group that helped me connect with others on a deeper level.

I love that what we need can vary from week to week. In support group, some Fridays we’re cheering each other on – and other Fridays, when someone has gotten bad news, we’re just quietly there for each other.

Gilda’s is a place where it’s okay to not be okay…a place where you can share without judgement. Sometimes you don’t have to say a thing – people just know. They’re there with you. They’re going through it, too. Gilda’s is a place you can celebrate the highs and grieve the lows with people who understand. It has been a shelter in our storm.