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About Us

Our Mission

Gilda's Club Seattle offers a broad, community-based program of social, emotional, and educational support for cancer survivors, their loved ones and friends that provides sustained support, education and resources on-site in the Seattle Clubhouse and off-site with collaborating partners. Free of charge to participants, and nonprofit, we offer a Five Core Component program that includes a variety of support services, educational opportunities, classes and workshops, social events, and resources and referral. Our program serves anyone touched by cancer across the cancer continuum -- from diagnosis, through treatment and post-treatment, survivorship, and bereavement, including children, teens, and whole families.

Our Story

Gilda's Club is named in honor of Gilda Radner, who, when describing the emotional and social support she received when she had cancer, called for such places of participation, education, hope and friendship to be made available for people with cancer and their families and friends everywhere. The New York flagship facility, with its International Training Center, opened in June of 1995.

Anna Gottlieb, our Executive Director, saw an article in People Magazine on a rainy Seattle afternoon many years ago about the first Gilda's Club opening in New York City. She was so intrigued by the family focus and the humor that went along with a cancer support community that she went to NY to see it for herself.

She was so convinced that this wonderful program was needed in Seattle that she spent the last few

years pursuing this dream. Anna says, "This has been a journey filled with much love, dedication, passion and commitment on the parts of so many. It has been a privilege and honor to play a small part of this incredible team."

Gilda's Club Seattle officially opened its red doors on March 7th 2002. We now have over 2500 members and are always growing. We welcome all those touched by cancer to come and join us.

Anna Gottlieb Anna Gottlieb

A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was young. No one talked about it in my family. My father never mentioned the word cancer and my mother cried all the time. My sister and I were very scared. We were told not to tell anything to anyone about my mother being "sick." My mother is a 43-year breast cancer survivor and still will not talk about it. The feelings of isolation and terror always stayed in the back of my mind. I can only imagine how isolated my mother felt.

Many years later, my 36 year old sister-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia. She had two small children. Times had changed. We could talk about her cancer and try to support and help her and her family. Yet, there was still nowhere we found to go or to take her for support. She wanted to talk to other parents. She wanted to know how to tell her kids she was dying and how to help them after she died. She yearned for a place that the whole family could go. She knew she was dying and even surrounded by loved ones, I think she felt alone.

I first read about Gilda's Club in an article in People magazine while I was waiting for a friend at her doctor's appointment. Gilda Radner, cancer, humor and families. It was almost as if a light bulb went off in my head-so this is what I want to do. I went to New York in 1996 to see the first Gilda's Club. I was in awe. A program for families learning to live with cancer. For men, women and children, for all cancers. And it had spirit and humor and caring. I remember flying back to Seattle thinking in my head, "how hard can this be?" That makes me laugh now because it is a good thing I did not know the answer.

Five years later with the help of many, many dedicated and compassionate businesses and individuals, our bright red doors opened at 1400 Broadway in 2002. It was everything and more that I had imagined. We really can and do make a difference. Our members tell us so every single day.

Families learning to live with cancer every day, they are the experts. There are many tears, and much laughter here. Sharing our lives makes a difference.

As one of our members put it so eloquently, "you don't have cancer only on Tuesdays from 2-4pm. You have it everyday and you need a place everyday. And so does your family."

One question I get asked all the time now is, "where were you when I needed you?" Well, we are here now.

Gilda Radner knew what we all needed. Her legacy continues to grow-now with 23 Gilda's Clubs open throughout the United States and many more to come.

It was her dream to have a place where no one has to face cancer alone. Her dream is our reality.


Anna Gottlieb
Executive Director and Founder
Gilda's Club Seattle

Did You Know?

“Gilda's Club plays an important role in the Seattle community and in the Pacific Northwest. It provides an invaluable support for those touched by cancer directly and indirectly and for all our patients at the University of Washington.”

Barbara A. Goff, MD
Associate Professor, Gynecologic Oncology, University of Washington

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