Gildas Club Barrie

Dec 11, 2018 | Mary Poeta


Do you know what Gilda's Club is and what they can do for a loved one fighting Cancer ?

The majority of us have a Charitable organization that is near and dear to our hearts. Mine is Gilda's Club (officially, Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka). I became involved with Gilda's through a fellow Rotarian and was asked to be on the Board of Directors. That was a few years ago. I have learned over the years, that in order to enjoy being on any board, you need to be passionate about the organization itself. You need to believe in the mission, the staff and all of the volunteers, which essentially is what I am . A volunteer. I doubt  that I would be assuming anything if I said that you, yourself, have been touched with cancer in some way. You have lost a loved one to it, or you certainly know someone fighting it, right now. Cancer can be emotionally debilitating at the very least.  In many cases, cancer victims have very few people they can rely upon for emotional support. Without support of friends or family,  the person can become isolated, feeling hopeless & extremely frightened. Walking through that RED DOOR can change their whole outlook during this journey.


Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka, an affiliate of the Cancer Support Community, is dedicated to providing support, education and hope to all people impacted by cancer, family members and friends of those diagnosed, children, and people who have lost someone to cancer. The Club provides a gathering place where people with cancer, as well as their families and friends, or people that have lost someone to cancer, can join with others to actively involve themselves in building social and emotional support as a supplement to regular medical care. Their evidence-based programming includes support groups, healthy lifestyle workshops, mind-body classes, social activities, educational lectures and community resource information.


Who is Gilda?

Their namesake, Gilda Radner, was one of the original cast members of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Throughout her time on the show, she created several enduring characters, including Roseanne Roseannadanna, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner. When Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986 she quickly realized the importance of emotional and social support. After attending The Wellness Community in Southern California, Gilda envisioned places of participation, education, hope and friendship to be made available to men, women and children with all types of cancer and their families and friends. After her death in May 1989 her husband, Gene Wilder, and Joanna Bull – Gilda’s psychotherapist – founded the flagship Gilda’s Club in New York City.

Gilda’s Club’s warm and welcoming 10,000 square foot clubhouse is conveniently located across the street from Royal Victoria Hospital and the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program. Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka currently has more than 1,000 adults and children participating in support groups, workshops, lectures, and social activities annually. If you wish to have a tour of the clubhouse, please contact me and I can have that arranged.


Noogieland™ is specifically designed for children and teens ages 4-17, who have a loved one living with cancer, have a diagnosis of cancer themselves, or are grieving the loss of a loved one. Noogieland™ is named after the “noogies” that Todd (Bill Murray) gave to Lisa (Gilda Radner) on Saturday Night Live. Aimed at educating, supporting, and connecting families impacted by cancer in any way.


Here is What I REALLY need you to know about Gildas; they rely solely on the support of individuals and business' here in our community. They receive NO government funding. The annual operations (current) costs run at roughly 800K. Cancer diagnosis in our community continues to increase annually. Members and their families can use any or all of the facilities, participate in any of the available programs, FREE OF CHARGE! All they need to do is walk through the RED DOOR.


I have provided the link to Gilda's website below. There are many ways to give.  A one time donation, monthly donations, or you can become a member of our" Beyond the Red Door" Society, which means pledging a minimum of $1,000 annually for 5 years.

I am a member of the BRDS and very proud to be.


The mission of Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka is to ensure all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.