Jay Peeler young adult grieving loss of parent volunteer support Gilda's Club Middle Tennessee Everyone Has a Cancer Story Nashville colon Franklin


My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in February 2018. He died the following year on January 11, 2019, when I was just 30. I was grieving and knew I needed something, but I wasn’t sure what. It wasn’t until I was at my fiancé’s brother’s house, when he and another girl – both of whom are Gilda’s Club members – were talking about the program that I got curious. So, I asked some questions and realized pretty quickly that I might benefit from some of what Gilda’s Club had to offer.

Not long after, in doing my own research, I learned that Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee has a Williamson County location – about five minutes from where I work. I filled out the online membership form, attended an orientation session, and met with Felice, a member of the Program team, to explore where I would fit in best.

Felice connected me with several resources, which were really helpful in processing things. Among other things, I attended a Young Adults Grieving the Loss of a Parent support group. And, because my office is so close to Gilda’s Club in Franklin, I started volunteering there regularly.

In many ways, Gilda’s Club has provided – and still provides – an outlet for me. It gives me a place to be with others who’ve been through what I’ve been through…experienced what I’ve experienced. Even when I’m just greeting people at front desk as they come in for a class or an informational meeting, it feels good.

Gilda’s is such a good resource for our community.