Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka offers free Support Groups to those impacted by cancer—including those living with a cancer diagnosis, caregivers, and those who are grieving the death of someone due to cancer. Adult Support groups are available for those ages 18 years of age and older; for information on children’s Support Groups, click here.
All Support Groups at Gilda’s Club are professionally facilitated by a registered mental health professional, with the goal of encouraging peer-peer support and connecting you to others who “get it.” See below a list of our current Support Groups. Please note that FREE Membership and prior registration is required in order to join a Support Group at Gilda’s Club; for information on how to become a Member, click here.
Please note that due to COVID-19, all Support Groups are held virtually through Zoom until further notice.
Support Groups, 8-week series
These groups run throughout the year for 8 weeks at a time.
Living with Loss Support: A group for those who are grieving the loss of a family member or friend who died from cancer. Recommended for those who are bereaved for 6 months and 3 years.
20’S & 30’S Cancer Support: A group for those ages 18-39 living with any cancer diagnosis, from newly diagnosed to 18 months post-treatment.
NEW Cancer and Coronavirus Support Group Series: A group for those diagnosed with cancer, and/or underwent cancer treatment, at any point during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support Groups, Ongoing
These groups run continuously throughout the year.
Family And Friends Support: For those caregiving for someone who is living with a cancer diagnosis.
Circle of Life Support: For those with a late-stage and/or terminal cancer diagnosis.
Facing Forward Support: For those who have completed treatment for any type of cancer, and looking for support in adjusting to life after cancer.
Monthly meetups focused on sharing wisdom and getting your questions answered by others who have been there. We currently have Networking Groups for those diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and Blood Cancers.
Support Group FAQs
What can I expect from a Support Group at Gilda’s Club?
- You can expect to meet and find support from others who have similar lived experiences. Although all cancer journeys are unique, we find that unless you’ve been there, you don’t always get it. Support Groups are a place to have your feelings validated, learn from the wisdom of others, and find comfort and growth.
How do I join a Support Group at Gilda’s Club?
- There is a two-step process to joining one of our Support Groups. First, is to become a Member- this is a FREE and easy one-time process where you meet one-on-one with one of our Program Staff to create your very own Customized Membership Plan (learn more about our FREE Membership here[link to Become A Member]). Second, during your meeting (or anytime thereafter), you can request to join a Support Group with your Program Team Staff member.
Do I need to talk a lot in a Support Group?
- The short answer is no. Many people only want to listen to others, or speak seldomly, in a Support Group. This is absolutely okay. Your Facilitator is there to ensure that anyone who wants to speak gets the chance to, but speaking is always optional.
If I share something personal in group, will it be kept a secret?
- All Facilitators at Gilda’s Club are registered Mental Health Professionals with a Master’s or PhD degree in social work, psychology, counselling or equivalent. This means that they are legally obligated to keep everything you say confidential; they cannot tell your partner what you talked about in group, or let others know that you were in a Support Group at Gilda’s. There are 3 exceptions:
- If you mention any intention of hurting yourself or somebody else;
- If you mention that a minor (someone aged 17 and under) is at any type of risk of harm;
- Where required by law
- In these cases, your Facilitator is legally and professionally obligated to report only the relevant information to the appropriate legal authority.
Although your fellow Members are not legally required to maintain confidentiality the way that your facilitator is, we ask that all Members respect the privacy of others in their Support Groups. This includes not sharing who was present in your group with others outside of the group, and not sharing stories told by other Members with those outside of the group if they contain any personal and/or identifying information.
Why do I need to commit to coming to every session of my Support Group?
- Support works two ways: when you get to know your fellow group Members, you can trust, open up, and become more honest and authentic. Similarly, it works better for your fellow Members to consistently see the same folks in group. Inconsistent attendance can create more unease and chaos for others, and does not allow you to get the maximum benefit from the group.
What if I cannot make a session due to a medical appointment, illness, or transportation issue?
- We absolutely understand that “It’s always something!” We appreciate that our Members make every effort to be consistent with their Support Group attendance, but if life gets in the way, please call or e-mail us to give us a heads up, and so that we do not worry about you. We also ask that Members stay home when they are ill, to prevent the spread of germs at Gilda’s Club.
What happens when I no longer need support, and wish to leave the Support Group?
- For open-ended groups, your facilitator or a Program Staff will work with you to find create a plan to transition out of group. Please speak with your facilitator and/or a Program Staff if you are thinking you are getting ready to be done with your Support Group. For open-ended groups, we request a minimum commitment of 8 sessions; however, you may find that you need more or less sessions, depending on your unique cancer support needs. Some ways to know that you are ready to move on may include:
- Scheduling other activities on group days
- Having less to share than normal
- Inconsistent attendance
- Only coming to group to help others
- Wondering when you can leave the group
Please note that if/when you leave a Support Group, your Gilda’s Club Membership remains valid. You may still register for other activities, such as Healthy Lifestyle Classes and social events. You may also re-join your Support Group if you find that you once again need that type of cancer support; however, re-registration through a Program Staff Member is again required.
For more information on Support Groups, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 705-726-5199 ext. 225.