'It's Always Something!'

The Emotional Support of Gilda's Club

Life is not always easy for people living with cancer or the loved ones taking care of them. There are lots of appointments and decisions to be made when they are already not feeling well, and just getting through a normal day can be exhausting for everyone involved. Luckily, there is a place they can go where people are waiting to offer them relief and comfort, and it’s absolutely free.

Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee is a cancer support organization that provides services completely free of charge not only to those with the diagnosis but the family and friends who love and care for them. Named after Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer in 1989, the center offers everything from counseling and support groups to educational lectures, workshops and classes. The evidence-based program is designed to connect people who are dealing with or have dealt with the same issues. “We bring them together and allow them to create friendships and bonds that carry a lot of the weight,” said Laura Alabed-Olsson, Director of Marketing, Communications and Events for Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee.

The support groups are offered Monday through Friday and vary from diagnosis-specific groups to groups for young adults living with cancer or those grieving the loss of a parent. “They don’t have to fake it here,” said Laura, “If they want to cry, they cry. If they want to laugh, they laugh.” Between the Nashville and Franklin locations, the program offers over one hundred different activities each month including yoga, Tai Chi, guided imagery and relaxation, painting, pottery, quilting, cooking and more. The Resource Library is stocked wall-to-wall with information on subjects like mindfulness and nutrition all available for the taking. It’s also where you can pick up something like a free turban or port pillow.

“Noogieland” is the part of the center dedicated to children. Whether they are living with cancer or affected by a family member’s diagnosis, they can participate in different therapies with a counselor, such as play therapy and puppet therapy. That is also where the Teen Room is located – a place for
teenagers to hang out on the sofa, play games, talk and just feel normal. Overall, the center emanates a warm, welcoming feeling. “There are moments of sadness, but there’s also tremendous joy and relief here. We’re all about joy,” said Laura.

Anyone who decides they would like to connect with Gilda’s Club must simply call and schedule an initial information session with a member of their clinical staff. They will recommend how the Gilda’s Club community can best meet their needs and connect them with other resources like services that can take them to and from medical appointments or deliver prepared meals to their homes. They can access the online calendar and come and go freely to meetings and classes. The staff is happy to assist with any needs that may arise because, like Gilda Radner’s famous SNL character Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “It’s always something!”

Nashville Clubhouse

1707 Division Street  


Williamson County Location 

The Provision CARES Proton Therapy Center 

4588 Carothers Parkway, Suite 250


What: Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee’s Songwriters Night with Dennis Matkosky and Greg Barnhill. $150 tickets include heavy appetizers, beer, wine and valet parking and may be purchased at

When: April 16, 2020 @ 6:30 p.m

Where: The Barn in Franklin, a private event space

Why: To help fund the organization’s free cancer support program

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