Two Organizations, One Mission
On May 14, 2009, Gilda’s Club Worldwide and The Wellness Community came together to host a joint celebration. The theme of the evening was Two Organizations, One Mission and throughout the evening guests celebrated the work both organizations have done over the past 25 years to provide support, education and hope to men, women and children touched by cancer.
Nearly 150 guests from all over the country attended the celebration at the Parker Meriden in New York City. Attendees first heard from Gilda’s Club Board Chair, Laura Wheat. Ms. Wheat spoke enthusiastically about both organizations’ shared history and also the growing need among cancer patients and their families for the services Gilda’s Club and The Wellness Community provide. Ms. Wheat went on by asking the audience to take a moment to honor the Founders of both organizations; Dr. Harold Benjamin who founded The Wellness Community in Santa Monica in 1982 and Joanna Bull who founded the first Gilda’s Club in New York City in 1991.
Joanna Bull followed by shedding light on the tight bond she shared with Dr. Benjamin and comedian Gilda Radner and their collective passion and dedication to help all people affected by cancer which led her to open the first Clubhouse in 1991. She went on to acknowledge both organizations’ commitment to advancing the 2007 Institute of Medicine report, Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs, so that no one has to face cancer alone.
Kim Thiboldeaux, President and CEO of The Wellness Community gave the closing remarks. Ms. Thiboldeaux spoke about the future and the potential that the combined organization will posses. She went on to share that the new entity will be the largest support organization in the United States for men, women and children touched by cancer. With the combination, the new organization will provide free services at nearly 50 full time centers and 100 satellite locations worldwide, and will employ over 400 oncology support professionals, including social workers, psychologists and therapists.