Cancer Support Community North Texas Opens Satellite Location at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen
05/17/2010

ALLEN, Texas — Cancer Support Community of North Texas, formerly Gilda’s Club North Texas, has opened a satellite location on the campus of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen to bring hope and FREE support to cancer patients and their families closer to home. The public is invited to an OPEN HOUSE at the new facility on June 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tours and information will be provided throughout the day.

Twenty-two percent of the now 2,760 members at Cancer Support Community North Texas, located at 2710 Oak Lawn, reside in the Collin County area and indicated they would like to have a clubhouse closer to home. The first phase of this additional clubhouse will be the second Texas location, serving as a satellite campus of Cancer Support Community of North Texas, which opened in 2002 as Gilda’s Club North Texas — the only Texas affiliate of a national program created in memory of comedienne Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live fame.

The space for the Cancer Support Community Collin County Clubhouse, which will be 3,100 square feet upon completion, is being donated rent-free by the hospital. The Collin County Clubhouse will offer a limited level of services and programming options initially, but eventually will expand to include more. Funding for the project, as with all Gilda’s Clubs, comes from the philanthropic contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations. Texas Health Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation has committed $20,000 to the project and is soliciting donations for additional funding.

“As the city has expanded northward, so has our membership,” said Kelly Counts, Executive Director, Cancer Support Community North Texas.

The first time McKinney resident Faith Kuczaj walked into Cancer Support Community North Texas — formerly Gilda’s Club — she found support and understanding from people who knew exactly what it was like to face life with cancer.

As Kuczaj dealt with her diagnosis and treatment for grade II, stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), Cancer Support Community soon became a form of therapy she couldn’t do without. So, despite the hour-plus commute each way, she would make her way to Dallas, often multiple times a week.

“Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the loneliest experiences I’ve ever had,” she said. “No matter how many family members and friends are with you, only you are the one nose-to-nose with death. Only you cry tears no one sees inside the CT scanner. Only you have a needle the size of your pinky finger pull bone marrow from your hip. Only you are injected with toxic chemo drugs.

“Only people who have gone through it or are going through it truly understand,” added Kuczaj. “Cancer Support Community is a place where you can talk openly and receive much needed support.”

With the opening of Cancer Support Community Collin County, Kuczaj, who now has no evidence of the disease, and others dealing with any aspect of cancer may find a new place of solace.

Through its network of affiliates, Gilda’s Club Worldwide has created communities of support to meet the needs of anyone whose life is changed by a cancer diagnosis — patients, family and friends. Free of charge, the organization offers support groups, networking, lectures, workshops and social events — as well as structured programs for children and teens — in a warm, welcoming and home-like setting. This provides the opportunity for individuals to interact with others touched by cancer, and build emotional and social support as a supplement to medical care.

“At Cancer Support Community North Texas, we recognize that when cancer happens, it happens to the whole family, as well as their close friends. This is an incredible opportunity for Texas Health Allen to put our mission of improving the health of the people in the communities we serve into action,” said Sheila McKinney, president of Texas Health Allen.

Gilda’s Club was founded by Gilda Radner’s cancer psychotherapist Joanna Bull, together with Radner’s husband, actor Gene Wilder, with assistance from the late film critic Joel Siegel, actor/singer Mandy Patinkin and several of Radner’s other friends. The first Gilda’s Club, with its signature red door, opened in New York City in 1995.

Cancer Support Community was recently formed with the merger of Gilda’s Club Worldwide and The Wellness Community and is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to providing FREE support for men, women and children living with cancer, as well as their families and friends, as a supplement to medical care. Through a network of affiliates, the nonprofit has created communities of support to meet the needs of anyone whose life is changed by a cancer diagnosis –patients, family and friends. Free of charge, the organization offers support groups, networking, lectures, workshops and social events – as well as structured programs for children and teens – in a warm, welcoming and home-like setting. This provides the opportunity for individuals to interact with others touched by cancer, and build emotional and social support as a supplement to medical care. The original Gilda’s Club North Texas is located at One Works of Grace Plaza, 2710 Oak Lawn, Dallas, TX 75219, 214-219-8877. For general information, visit gildasclubtx.org.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen is a 62-bed acute-care hospital serving the northern Collin County area since 2000. The hospital’s services include women’s services, a Level II neonatal intensive care unit, orthopedics, pediatrics, wound care and sleep medicine. Texas Health Allen, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has more than 425 physicians on its medical staff practicing in more than 25 specialties. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Allen.