I have a slow-growing type of thyroid cancer, so cancer is a constant in my life and in the lives of my wife and two boys. The surgeries…the damage to my vocal chords that resulted from the surgeries…have been a lot and will probably always be a lot for all of us.
I discovered Gilda’s Club when we were living in Michigan, near the Grand Rapids location. So, when we moved to Nashville a few years ago, getting involved at Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee felt natural. I thank God every day that these places exist, because cancer is lonely. Cancer puts you by yourself, even within your own family.
For me, the support group I’m a part of at Gilda’s Club has been so helpful. I was a bit of a hard nut to crack, but having group every Monday helped me understand the power of talking…the power of listening. Through my group, I have met people from all walks of life, yet we are all walking the same path, because we all have cancer. When you have cancer, it can feel like you’re being shoved into a lonely corner… Being able to be with and share with others who get it is amazing.
My wife Christine and our boys, Mitchell and Miles, also benefit from much of what Gilda’s Club has to offer. In fact, we’ve taken advantage of pretty much every service Gilda’s has – and, in many ways, it’s been life-saving. As a caregiver on an ongoing basis, Christine really appreciates the counseling. And the boys love Teen Night so much that they ask that we make sure it’s not missed, even with busy after-school schedules. It’s such a positive thing for them.
We also donate to Gilda’s Club, but no matter how much we give, we get so much more back. We could give everything we have and it still wouldn’t be equal to what we receive.
For us, Gilda’s Club is family – and in families we have hugs, which is one of the things I love best about Gilda’s, because I’m a big hugger. We go in to talk about cancer, and we do, but we can also set it aside and talk about other things…forget about it for a while, which is really nice.
But most of all, for us, Gilda’s Club is hope in a time of darkness. And we are so grateful for it.