Our Mission

Our mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

We provide a comprehensive professional program of social and emotional support and education designed to enhance the mind, body, and spirit of people whose lives have been affected by cancer.

All of our programs and services are provided at no cost to our participants (known as our members) so there’s never a barrier for anyone who needs cancer support.

So that no one faces cancer alone.

Our History

The Benjamin’s Dream

In 1982, Dr. Harold Benjamin and his wife Harriet founded an organization called The Wellness Community dedicated to providing free support, education, and hope to families affected by cancer. The Benjamins believed in the powerful connection between emotions and physical well-being. Harriet was a breast cancer survivor, and both she and Harold had benefitted from the encouragement of family and friends during their cancer journey. Their experience with this support system and its role in Harriet’s recovery became the foundation for Dr. Benjamin’s Patient Active Concept, which encourages active participation in cancer treatment, camaraderie, and community “to improve the quality of life and enhance the possibility of recovery.” The Benjamin’s original dream sparked a transformation within the cancer care community that began in Los Angeles and is still going strong today.

Gilda Radner’s Legacy

Gilda Radner is best known as an original cast member of Saturday Night Live. As one of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players,” she created loveable characters like Rosanne Rosannadanna, Emily Litella and Lisa Loopner. Gilda was also one of the first participants in the Wellness Community and became one of its biggest advocates. She felt it provided “a community for people who have cancer to come and play in, to make their lives better, to have an opportunity to help themselves and help other people.” Sadly, Gilda’s cancer was diagnosed too late for effective treatment. Following her death, her husband (actor and comedian Gene Wilder), her psychotherapist Joanna Bull, and many of her friends founded an organization similar to the Wellness Community Gilda had loved. They called the organization Gilda’s Club because of Gilda’s tongue-in-cheek comment that having cancer in her life made her a member of an elite club to which she’d rather not belong.

Merging Two Organizations:

The Birth of the Cancer Support Community

As the years went on, the need for social and emotional cancer support lead both the Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club to see tremendous growth, with both organizations opening chapters throughout the country. In 2009, the headquarters organizations of the Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club merged to form the Cancer Support Community. Today, the CSC is an international non-profit dedicated to providing support, education and hope to help adults and children affected by cancer.

A (Greater) Philadelphia Story

Both the Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club saw a dedicated group of individuals come together to open affiliates in the Greater Philadelphia region. The Wellness Community of Philadelphia (in Fairmount Park) opened in 1993, with Gilda’s Club Delaware Valley (in Warminster, Bucks County) opening its doors in 2003. Like all the affiliates of either organization, both The Wellness Community of Philadelphia and Gilda’s Club Delaware Valley were independent non-profits. Governed by members of their local communities, and financially supported almost entirely by local individuals and organizations, they brought their parent organizations’ evidence-based social and emotional cancer support programs to area families affected by cancer. In 2013, the boards of directors for both Gilda’s Club Delaware Valley and the Wellness Community of Philadelphia (renamed the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia following the national merger) began exploring a merger on the local level. Their goals were to increase efficiency and stretch their generous donors’ gifts even further to help even more families in the Greater Philadelphia region affected by cancer. The merger was approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at the end of 2013, and 2014 saw the birth of the Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia (CSCGP): one cancer support organization serving the region. To continue to honor Gilda Radner’s legacy, CSCGP’s Warminster location is known as CSCGP at Gilda’s Club. The Fairmount Park location is known as CSCGP at the Suzanne Morgan Center at Ridgeland to honor Suzanne and the Morgan family for their tremendous work to expand cancer support services in the region.

Our Staff

Administration

Ginny Krystopowicz

Director of Finance & Operation

EMAIL

Program Staff

Beth Cribb – MSW, LSW

Program Director – Abington Memorial Hospital Satellite
& Gilda’s Club

EMAIL

Christina Wise – MA, GC-C

Child & Teen Program Manager

EMAIL

Lauren Dotter – MS, MSW, LCSW, LPC, DSW

Program Coordinator, Doylestown Hospital Satellite

EMAIL  

Stephanie Fortunato – MS

Senior Program Manager – Ridgeland & Coordinator at Crozer Chester Alliance Cancer Specialists

EMAIL

Aly Rice – MSW, LSW

Volunteer Services Coordinator & Program Coordinator, Grand View & Doylestown Hospital Alliance Cancer Specialists

EMAIL  

Lauren Busfield – DSW, LCSW

Program Coordinator

EMAIL

Carly Rowlands

Program & Development Assistant

EMAIL

Kelly Walsh

Program Assistant
& Site Supervisor

EMAIL

Development

Kathy O’Mara

Director of Special Events

EMAIL

Internships

Marketing Internship

The Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia offers a marketing and communications internship every semester (including the summer). The position may be based in either CSCGP’s Warminster location (Bucks County) or its Fairmount Park location (Philadelphia). The position is unpaid and would be for a minimum of 16 hours a week. The internship could be extended up to 35 hours a week if the intern wanted to take on additional leadership and resume building activities.

Internship responsibilities could include management of all CSCGP’s social media, updates to the CSCGP website, blogging, research into speaking opportunities for CSCGP staff, representing CSCGP at health fairs, writing for CSCGP’s e-newsletter or print newsletter, designing flyers, writing press releases and pitching media, and assisting with CSCGP events.

CSCGP is also willing to work with the intern to provide opportunities in areas of specific interest to the intern.

Qualifications: Quick learner, hard worker, good writer, access to own transportation. CSCGP is more than willing to provide training in any particular requested task. This internship is designed for college students able to receive credit for their experience, but CSCGP is willing to discuss the internship with recent graduates or other individuals who do not meet this qualification.

To apply, please send resume and cover letter, noting your preferred internship start and end dates, to info@cancersupportphiladelphia.org.

 

Social Work Internship

The Cancer Support Community Greater Philadelphia collaborates with many local Universities to host clinical practicum experiences for undergraduate and graduate Social Work and Human Service students every semester (including the summer). These internships may are based at either CSCGP’s Gilda’s Club (Bucks County) or Ridgeland (Philadelphia).  All internships are unpaid and follow individual school internship hourly requirements, evening availability is mandatory. Licensed mental health professionals supervise interns.     

Internship responsibilities vary depending on degree, school requirements and schedule.  Typical graduate students should expect experiences with program development (both clinical & non-clinical), group facilitation and short term counseling intervention opportunities.  All interns will assist with daily programming, representing CSCGP at health fairs, conducting outreach, researching educational lectures to bring to CSCGP and daily interactions with individuals impacted by cancer.   

CSCGP is also willing to work with the intern to provide opportunities in areas of specific interest to the intern. 

Qualifications: Quick learner, hard worker, creative, access to own transportation and evening availability.

To apply, please send resume and cover letter, noting your preferred internship start and end dates, to bethc@cancersupportphiladelphia.org.