BENEFITING: GILDAS CLUB NEW YORK CITY
My mom, Dr. Patricia Gundersen, died from metastatic cervical cancer on March 23, 2009. It was 6 days before my 27th birthday.
Since 2010, I have participated in the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour every year to raise money for Gilda's Club NYC in memory of my mom. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict this year, I'm unable to ride. However, I've undertaken a new challenge - completing my first half-marathon in our family's favorite place on earth - Walt Disney World.
On February 23, 2014, exactly one month before the 5-year anniversary of my mom's death, I will run 13.1 miles through Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center, where I spent nearly every vacation of my childhood, and many visits as an adult, with my mom. I'm looking forward to both the personal achievement and the opportunity to celebrate the nearly 56 years of my mom's life in a place that she loved.
Please consider supporting this endeavor by donating to Gilda's Club NYC, an amazing nonprofit I work with that provides support to people living with cancer. My goal is to raise at least $2000 in tribute to my mom, who spent her entire career as an educator and inspired me to work in public service and give back as much as possible.
About Gilda's Club NYC:
Gilda’s Club New York City was named for Gilda Radner, the brilliant comedian and one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. For years, she made us laugh with memorable characters like Baba Wawa, Emily Litella and Roseanne Roseannadanna. Gilda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986. She learned to live with cancer with help from a support community she joined in California, where she felt she could express what she was really feeling—an experience she described in her autobiography, It’s Always Something. It was her dream that anyone touched by cancer would be able to receive the kind of emotional and social support that she had found. Following her death in 1989, Gilda’s husband, Gene Wilder and her cancer psychotherapist, Joanna Bull started the Gilda’s Club movement. In June, 1995 GCNYC opened its signature red door – Gilda’s legacy to everyone living with cancer.
Since opening, GCNYC has offered a place where men, women and children living with cancer – and their families and friends – can join together to build social and emotional support as a supplement to medical care. New Yorkers touched by cancer embraced the opportunity to join our free support community, and by 1997, GCNYC had over 1,000 members. The success of our flagship prompted the formation, in 2000, of Gilda’s Club Worldwide, an organization dedicated to developing a national network of clubhouses.
Many other milestones have followed. We now have over 5,000 members, including many at our community satellites in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and our Manhattan Clubhouse has seen over 100,000 member visits. And in honor of our 10th anniversary in 2005, the City of New York renamed West Houston Street between Varick Street and 6th Avenue “Gilda Radner Way.”
Gilda’s Club New York City continues to grow, expanding both our program and our membership. Every year, nearly 35,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in New York City, and each diagnosis affects an entire circle of family and friends. Once you walk through our red door, you enter a special community where living with cancer is the common denominator — and you can choose how you would like to participate. Our goal is to ensure that social and emotional support is available to every New Yorker, because no one should have to face cancer alone.