This week, our guest post is by Kellie Givens “as told to Cynthia Manley.”
I had the honor of spending a while with Kellie at the Clubhouse a couple of weeks ago hearing about her mother, Connie, who was diagnosed in early 2008 with stage 4 colon cancer. She was 57.
Connie had put off a colonoscopy for some time while she was busy getting coordinated health programs in public schools in all 95 counties of Tennessee. Kellie considers that accomplishment her mother’s legacy.
Here’s what Kellie told me about the impact that Gilda’s Club and its Friends and Family Support Group had on her life and why she’s walking the Country Music Half Marathon as part of Gilda’s Gang:
We had passed by, seeing the red door and wondering what it was two or three times a week, never realizing I’d be walking in there for services.
My mom was feeling fine one day and the next day, she got the news and she was in treatment within a week. We were all kind of pushed into it.
At Gilda’s Club, I was able to unload. It was a place where you could say anything about your feelings. You didn’t have to always be positive. You could give the good bad and the ugly. There was no judgment.
It was also important to get others’ thoughts and perspectives. It helped me be a better advocate for her care. She’d always been our advocate. It was my turn to step in.
I’ve never been asked for a dollar so this was a great way for me to give back. I want Gilda’s Club to be here for others who need it when they are thrust into it. I know where the money is going. It stays here at Gilda’s Club.
By doing Gilda’s Gang, I can give back and keep my mom’s spirit alive.
Kellie's mom, Connie
Kellie, thank you for sharing your story with me and our readers. And thank you for your smiling face every Saturday morning. You are a mood-changer for me when I see that smile, and I’m sure other Gang members feel the same way.
Here’s a link to Kellie’s First Giving page. Doesn’t Kellie look like her mom!?