The mission of Gilda's Club Kansas City is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.
Gilda Radner, our namesake, once said,"Having cancer gave me membership into an elite club I'd rather not belong to." At Gilda's Club Kansas City (GCKC), we know that no one wants to have cancer, but we also know that when they do, they seek education and support from their community. GCKC opened its doors in October 2011 after our founder had seen first hand the impact that another Gilda's Club affiliate had on a friend. Our Clubhouse is located in midtown Kansas City, providing a warm and welcoming home-like environment for people who need a community of support while they, or a loved one, is living with cancer.
Since opening, GCKC has continued to grow a robust program including support groups facilitated by licensed mental health professionals; educational programs and materials such as the "Frankly Speaking About Cancer" series; healthy lifestyle classes such as nutrition, exercise, and arts; social activities such as comedy nights, cookouts, and remembrances; and resource and referral programs.
In 2016, Gilda’s Club Kansas City served 875 unduplicated patients, with a total of over 4,735 visits, representing tremendous growth.
We also use CancerSupportSource®, a validated psychometric distress screener, with both internal and external validity and reliability that determines overall level of distress for our participants. In aggregate, our patient population reported distress decreased from a 3.0 rating to 0.25 (on a 0 - 4 point scale, with 0 representing “no distress” and 4 representing “very seriously distressed”) during their participation in 2015.
Top Goals for 2017:
The American Cancer Society® reports that today, one in two men and one in three women will receive a cancer diagnosis in his or her lifetime. As a result of early diagnosis and advancement in treatment, we are seeing increasing numbers of individuals living with cancer in our community. The American Cancer Society’s report “Cancer Treatment and Survivorship: Facts and Figures 2016 – 2017” estimates 139,660 persons in the state of Kansas and 275,980 persons in the state of Missouri are living with cancer. It is estimated that there are 83,607 people in the local 10-county region and 77,000 in the five-county metro living with cancer. Additional literature cites that approximately 27% of those with a cancer diagnosis has a child aged 18 or younger in the home.
This is where Gilda’s Club Kansas City comes in. We offer our evidence-based, professionally led program to those impacted by cancer – free of charge to participants. To keep pace with the increasing demand, we are hopeful our community can help with the following:
GCKC support groups are offered for both those living with cancer and for families and friends, all facilitated by a licensed mental health professional. Support groups are focused on the emotional and social aspects of living with cancer throughout the entire experience, from newly diagnosed, in active treatment, in post-treatment, or end-of-life and bereavement. Consistent with best practices, GCKC support groups are 90 minutes long and led by a licensed mental health professional. The groups follow the Patient Active Model, designed and utilized by Cancer Support Community affiliates around the world. In advance of joining a support group, each member engages in a one-hour clinical interview to determine appropriateness for group participation.
91% of participants report feeling more connected with others living with similar experiences.
Cancer Support Source™, a validated psychometric distress determinant screener, with both internal and external validity and reliability, is used to determine overall level of distress of our members. We expect to see CSS ratings for those with a cancer diagnosis, at the end of the session, of 1.5 or less. (CSS rates distress on a 0 to 4 point scale, with 0 representing “no distress” and 4 representing “very seriously distressed.”)
To evaluate the effectiveness of the program, Gilda's Club Kansas City will assess program participation, program satisfaction and a variety of self-reported indicators related to the quality of life. To assess program participation, Gilda's Club Kansas City will track attendance and outreach efforts to ensure that benchmarks are being met. We survey participants at the end of each workshop and offer an overall member survey each year to ensure we are meeting the needs of those we serve.
“I want to thank you for the wonderful work you do with families impacted by cancer. I am inspired by your love and concern for those dealing with the confusion, despair, and anger caused by cancer. You are also very important in helping us celebrate life. Some of the biggest takeaways for me as a member of the care givers group were to appreciate the time we have and celebrate the good times. With that, I also learned to embrace the uncertainty. Thank you and the legions of people that make Gilda’s Club a safe haven.” –Steve, GCKC Member
Educational workshops are a core component of our program offerings at GCKC. As therapeutic moments and issues may arise, we have a licensed mental health professional facilitate, lead or participate in each workshop. Educational workshops provide people impacted by cancer with information related to many aspects of the cancer experience, including specific diagnosis and treatment information, post-treatment/survivorship concerns, and financial and insurance issues. Classes include a variety of topics from our Frankly Speaking About Cancer series. Healthy Lifestyle classes address exercise, nutrition, stress management, expressive arts and other mind/ body education that have been demonstrated to positively affect the experience of people who are impacted by cancer.
“All of us that have benefited, and continue to benefit, from the assistance provided through Gilda’s Club, are eternally grateful to have this amazing resource available in Kansas City. While going through the incredible expense of cancer care and treatment, it is such a blessing to be able to attend Gilda’s Club at no cost to the participant. I know my husband and I would not be able to participate in this organization if there was a cost involved. We have benefited so much from attending Gilda’s Club, and do not know where we would be emotionally, or where we would be as a couple, if we hadn’t been able to attend the wonderful support groups available through this Club.” –Jenny, GCKC Member
Noogie Nights is a weekly support group for children (ages 4+) who have been impacted by a parent or grandparent’s cancer diagnosis providing children with a safe place to relax and play while discussing the emotional aspects of their cancer journey down in Noogieland, our children’s area.
This is a bi-monthly program for all family members when a parent, grandparent or adult relative has cancer. An adult support group is held while children (ages 4-12) meet for support and fun in Noogieland.
Kid Support is a 10-week support program for children (ages 5-12) who have been impacted by cancer. The group offers children the opportunity to make friends and learn skills to help them live with the stresses of cancer. Parents take part in their own support group at the same time.
Cancer Support Source™, a validated psychometric distress determinant screener, with both internal and external validity and reliability that determines overall level of distress for our members.
We will utilize CancerSupportSource®, our distress measurement tool, and a post-program member survey for both the parents and children participating in Kid Support.
“I think Kid Support means to me that I got help to understand what was going on and to be confident in myself. Kid Support is a good resource to help kids feel comfortable and not have stress. You don't have to be worried and know that you have good peers around you. Kid Support is special.” –Sommer, age 8
“Dealing with a cancer diagnosis in your family is an incredibly difficult experience. Kid Support at Gilda's Club helped my family in more ways than we can explain. My daughter had a safe environment to discuss the issues surrounding her Mom's diagnosis. Both my wife and I experienced the support group for patients, caregivers and survivors. We were able to express our concerns and get support all under the guidance of a trained professional. Kid Support helped make sense of an unimaginable journey. I don't know how we would have coped without it.” –Joe, GCKC Member
Siobhan McLaughlin Lesley has over two decades of experience in
providing marketing communications leadership to some of Kansas City’s most
successful and visible marketing communications companies, as well as civic and
Prior to joining Gilda’s Club Kansas City, Siobhan served as vice president and director of client services at Walz Tetrick Advertising and served as president and COO at Valentine Radford.
Siobhan also serves on the Board of Directors of The Kansas City Ballet, Goodwill Industries of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas, The Health Care Foundation’s Community Advisory Committee and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. She is also a trustee of Pembroke Hill School and serves on the Parents’ Association Arts Council.
Siobhan has her master’s degree from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
1055 Broadway Blvd., Suite 130, Kansas City, Missouri 64105
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