Community Service Plan

Gilda’s Club Offers Support for Cancer Patients at Hudson Valley Hospital Center

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Cortlandt Manor, NY - (February 20, 2013) – When Patricia Witters of Cortlandt Manor was first diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2012 she said one of the most difficult things she faced was telling her 8 and 11-year-old sons.

“One of the biggest hardships was how would I tell my sons,’’ said Witters, a patient at HVHC’s Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center. “The C word is very scary. I had to think very carefully about it.’’


That’s why Patricia said she is so excited about a new program for children of cancer patients now offered at Hudson Valley Hospital Center through Gilda’s Club Westchester.

“Kid 2 Kid” gives children ages 5-12 a safe, supportive environment to discuss how cancer has affected their lives. It’s one of two new support groups being offered by Gilda’s Club as part of a new partnership with Hudson Valley Hospital Center that was announced February 20 at a press conference at the Hospital in Cortlandt Manor, NY.

Hudson Valley Hospital Center President John C. Federspiel said the new partnership with Gilda’s Club Westchester was an example of how the Hospital continues to expand services at its cancer center. The cancer center celebrates its one-year anniversary this month and, Federspiel said, it continues to grow, offering new treatments, adding new physicians and support services like Gilda’s Club.

“Gilda’s Club has a reputation for providing quality services to cancer patients and their families,’’ said Federspiel. “Their focus on offering a warm and caring environment is in keeping with Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s core belief that a patient is always a person first.  As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the cancer center, we continue to look for ways to improve the quality of care and strengthen our mission as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, providing all services under one roof.”

Gilda’s Club Westchester, a leader in support for cancer patients and their families, has been located in White Plains since 2001, but recently chose Hudson Valley Hospital Center as a second location so it can make its services more accessible to upper Westchester and Putnam residents. Gilda’s provides networking and support groups, workshops, education and social activitiesin a warm, inviting place where cancer patients can come together to share their experiences.  

“Gilda’s Club Westchester is thrilled to be partnering with Hudson Valley Hospital Center and their distinguished team of clinical professionals at their Comprehensive Cancer Center,’’ said Gilda’s Club Westchester Chief Executive Officer Melissa Lang. “Their extraordinary program and philosophy that quality service includes providing emotional and social support for patients and their families in one location is consistent with our belief that psychosocial services are an essential complement to medical care."

Neil Castaldo, a former prostate cancer patient at HVHC who spoke at the press conference, said the Gilda’s Club groups would make a big difference to patients at the center. “It’s something really essential to any good cancer program,’’ he said.

Starting this month, Gilda’s Club Westchester at HVHC will offer a support group for people recently diagnosed with cancer. The group called “Living with Cancer,’’ will meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center at 1978 Crompond Road, Cortlandt Manor. This will be followed in March by “Kid 2 Kid.” The group will meet every third Thursday of the month from 6-7:30 p.m. at HVHC’s Cancer Center. For more information on these programs, call Miranda Dold, LCSW at 914-644-8844.

The center also offers support programs through Support Connection, a Yorktown-based support program for breast and ovarian cancer patients.

The first Gilda's Club opened in 1995 in New York City in fulfillment of Actress/Comedien Gilda Radner's dream to have an informal, welcoming place, like a clubhouse, where people living with cancer, their families and friends, might come together to laugh and cry, exchange information and experiences, find support and pass it on to others. Other clubhouses soon opened around the country, creating 22 clubhouses nationwide.

In July 2009, Gilda's Club and the Wellness Community joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community. Today, through a network of over 50 local affiliates, more than 100 satellite locations and on-line resources, they bring the highest quality emotional and social support to millions of people touched by cancer.

The Cheryl R. Lindenbaum Cancer Center at HVHC started treating patients in February of 2012. Unlike others in the area, HVHC's Cancer Center offers all services in one location close to home. Its team of physicians and medical professionals work together to design a treatment plan that coordinates all services so patients can receive treatment in one place, eliminating travel time and reducing stress. The center offers radiation, infusion and support services in a new state-of-the-art facility equipped with the latest technology and designed with comfort in mind.

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Hudson Valley Hospital Center is dedicated to serving the health care needs of the community and to providing quality, comprehensive medical care in a compassionate, professional, respectful manner, without regard to race, religion, national origin or disease category. Offering state-of-the-art diagnostic treatment, education and preventive services, the Hospital is committed to improving the quality of life in the community.  In fulfilling this mission, the Hospital will strive to continuously improve the care provided and develop and offer programs, facilities, systems and alliances that most effectively respond to community health care needs.  Hudson Valley Hospital Center is located on Route 202 (1980 Crompond Road) in Cortlandt Manor, New York. Call 914-737-9000 or visit www.hvhc.org