1. Pink Well Challenge Finalist Profile: Gilda's Club South Florida


    The mission of Gilda’s Club is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.  Each month Gilda’s Club South Florida provides 60 support groups, educational lectures, workshops, and social activities – free of charge. Last year, over 2600 members came through Gilda’s Red Door in search a warm, supportive place to share a good cry, enjoy a belly laugh, find friendship with people who understand, and most importantly, help them learn to LIVE with cancer.

    Gilda’s Club South Florida has been providing high quality support services for men, women, and children touched by cancer for the past 14 years. Selecting one accomplishment to highlight is difficult as every day here is magic. Witnessing a newly diagnosed member discover hope or watching children laughing in Noogieland is an accomplishment. On Wednesday nights every room in the clubhouse is booked with various support groups. It looks like a family reunion as members greet one another with hugs and laughter. Gilda’s Club is thrilled to be a part of this celebration as our members accomplish LIVING with cancer on this day and everyday no matter what the outcome.         

    In reviewing cancer statistics, assessing the gaps in our community, and listening to our members, it appears that the area of greatest need is breast cancer among women of color. Breast Cancer is the 2nd most common cause of death among black women. While black women are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than white women, they are dying is disproportionate numbers. Gilda’s Club intends to focus on this issue over the next 5 years to raise awareness and reduce breast cancer mortality among women of color.

    The Pink Well funds will be used to RAISE THE ROOF ON BREAST CANCER. Our objectives for this initiative include: engaging 100 women of color to be champions in spreading the word, getting 1,000 women of color take the Pinkie Promise Pledge, reaching 10,000 women of color over the next year through marketing and outreach activities, and providing breast cancer prevention & education workshops. The Pink Well funds will be used to support these outreach, education, and marketing objectives. At the end of the year we intend to celebrate our success with GLAMO-MAMMO day of pampering.

    On November 17, 2011 more than 100 women of color came together at Gilda’s Club to kick off the RAISE THE ROOF ON BREAST CANCER CAMPAIGN. Marcia Barry- Smith, Executive Director of the Bank Atlantic Foundation led the group in a Pinkie Pledge. “Everyone was given a mirror to make a pledge to themselves to schedule a mammogram today. They then took it a step further, and told each of us to reach out to someone we did not know.  A beautiful woman with glasses and close cropped hair pointed at me and said, "You!"  We hooked pinkies and pledged to get ourselves checked. Tears came to my eyes as this stranger grabbed me into the biggest and best hug I've had in a long time” shares Lauren Pottinger.