“Between 80–90 people a day in the DFW metroplex will receive a cancer diagnosis” — Cancer Support Community
Mention Cancer Support Community to any staff member, doctor or nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, and they’ll respond with an enthusiastic…“Oh, the red door!”
Behind the red door of Suite 129A in Medical Office 2 is an inviting home-away-from-home for cancer survivors and their caretakers. You’ll be greeted with a warm smile from Adrianne Wert, Program Manager of the Collin County clubhouse, who emphasizes that anyone impacted by cancer in all of Collin County is welcome—and the services are all free.
Cancer Support Community is a nonprofit organization that offers survivors and caregivers educational programs and psychosocial support. With clubhouses in Dallas, Tarrant and Collin Counties, membership is free and each clubhouse offers a menu of personalized services. The Collin County clubhouse offers yoga, tai chi, art, educational classes on the healing power of food, and more. A wellness group is for members who are currently going through cancer, and a post-treatment group is for survivors who are off treatment, but still dealing with the vicissitudes of their journey. Survivors with kids can rest at ease because Cancer Support Community offers Noogieland, a colorful classroom with trained caretakers and fun toys to keep young ones busy. You may find the kids baking cookies or cupcakes in the kitchen.
After a personal recurrence of thyroid cancer, I received a flyer to attend an art show at Cancer Support Community. The flyer read: “Healing Through Art: Come see [survivors’] emotions made visual by our art class. In attendance will be the ladies who are the art class, Jody Neice, art instructor; and two nurses from Texas Oncology, as well as friends and family of the art class attendees.”
It was the most inspirational event I had ever been to! Survivors shared their journeys on canvas, reflecting stages of denial to acceptance and finally, healing. Many experienced lymphedema (swelling in the arm or legs). Most struggled with body image. One woman, once a muscular athlete, stood up and said, “One day, I looked in the mirror and I had no markings on my body. I was a mannequin. Gradually though, I found the strength to exercise again and today I can look back and say, I’m healed.”
Another woman pointed to a picture of an empty space in the universe and shared, “I began my cancer journey in a black hole. I felt disassociated. I was lost. But I came here and found healing.”
The last presenter’s artwork tugged my heart the most. Her symbol of hope and healing was a photo that she took of her last drop of chemo.
A common thread weaved in each artist’s testimony was the unwavering support from family and friends, as well as from Cancer Support Community. The clubhouse is truly a community of survivors and caretakers who feel empowered to move on with their lives; they’re not defeated by cancer; instead, they’re thriving and finding hope beyond cancer.
Cancer Support Community North Texas and Texas Oncology
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
6300 W. Parker Rd., MOB 2, Suite 129A West Bldg
Plano, Texas 75093
History of Cancer Support Community
After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, legendary comedienne Gilda Radner found a lifeline of hope and support at The Wellness Community in California. Her husband, Gene Wilder, and therapist, Joanna Bull, along with several friends, formed Gilda’s Club in Radner’s honor.
Gilda’s Club opened in Oak Lawn in Dallas in 2002 and seven years later merged with The Wellness Community to become Cancer Support Community. Its unwavering vision is that no one should face cancer alone.
Month-by-month cancer awareness
JAN: Cervical Cancer
FEB: National Cancer Awareness
MAR: Colorectal & Kidney Cancers
APR: Testicular & Esophageal Cancers
MAY: Skin & Brain Cancers, Mental Health
JUN: National Cancer Survivor Month
JUL: Sarcoma & Bladder Cancers
AUG: Get a checkup!
SEP: Ovarian & Childhood Cancers, many more
OCT: Breast & Liver Cancers
NOV: Lung & Pancreatic Cancers, many more
DEC: Spend time with your loved ones!