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Our Clubhouse Creates a Community of Support for Those Living With Cancer
By Lisa Bianco

"We don't want anyone to face cancer alone," says Teddi Horvitz, Executive director of Our Clubhouse, a non-profit organization that creates welcoming communities of support for everyone living with cancer—men, women, teens, and children—along with their families and friends. "Our program complements medical care for people undergoing treatment. We provide networking and support groups, workshops, education and social activities. Everything we offer our members is free, as is membership. We understand the emotional, physical and social toll that this disease can take, and are dedicated to providing a community of comfort, care and hope."

She adds, "We're here to provide support and help our members feel that they're not alone. It's very empowering when they know they can walk in our door, mention the word cancer, and feel normal. Our members can be themselves at Our Clubhouse." When Our Clubhouse members take part in programs and attend the classes they begin extending their personal support group to an even larger group. Before they know it they feel that they have a whole community of people around them who are sharing a similar experience to their own. They can problem solve with others who truly understand and come back knowing they are not alone.

Support groups are part of the Our Clubhouse Wellness and Education services. Some groups are specific like Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer while others are more general like Living with Cancer. Each meeting, members are encouraged to share with the group what they feel comfortable saying about their cancer experience."

Wellness & Education

  • Some of the programs Our Clubhouse offers are:
  • Living Life Post Cancer Treatment A 9 week free program for adult survivors of any cancer diagnosis (must be within 2 years post-treatment)
  • Health and Movement Workshops Gentle yoga, meditation, Pilates, and nutrition classes are just a few examples.
  • Short-Term One-on-One Support This includes individual support, with additional, short-term support.
  • Art and Expression Workshops
  • Speaker Series are educational lectures and interactive workshops for our members and the public to learn more about cancer related topics and navigating through the system.
  • Social Activities Our volunteers, members and staff plan social activities that create a welcoming environment to celebrate just about anything.
  • Caring for the Caregiver

Family & Youth

Our Clubhouse understands that the entire family is impacted regardless of who has been diagnosed. The Family & Youth Program is designed to meet the needs of families with children and teens. Children with a loved one with cancer, as well as children and teens with a cancer diagnosis can become Our Clubhouse members and participate in the special children and teen programming.

Six tiers of support are also offered that members can access as the person living with cancer, or the caregiver. These are:

  • CLIMB, a 6 week free program. During each 2 hour session, children/teens between the ages of 6-17 who have a parent with cancer, engage in therapeutic art and play and discover how to express their feelings, learn basic information about cancer, and develop coping skills. CLIMB can also be adapted for children and teens who have a grandparent or other significant adult figure with cancer.
  • Workshops
  • Family Resource Center
  • Individual and Family Support are available and are tailored to the needs and goals of the family, and the child's developmental level.
  • Workshops and Social Activities
  • Pediatric Cancer Support for families with a child or teen living with pediatric cancer. This monthly group is family friendly support that addresses the needs of the family that has experienced childhood cancer. Adults can meet informally to share their stories, share resources and support each other.

Horvitz speaks of the Our Clubhouse volunteers as an essential component of the organization. "We have more than 200 volunteers and most of our workshops are volunteer led. Our volunteers also cook dinner for members. Some are university students, some are past members or had a family member who used our services. Horvitz herself started as a volunteer and she is also a cancer survivor. Fundraising for Our Clubhouse is done through events that create public awareness and gain media exposure they otherwise couldn't finance. The next event on October 25, 2016 is called "Docs that Rock." This will be a star studded rock event to raise awareness and funds for the tremendous services Our Clubhouse provides.

Attendees can watch local doctors and health care professionals perform with members from Bon Journey and other local favorites. In addition to this incredible entertainment, the evening includes appetizers and libations. Our Clubhouse invites you to help them celebrate 10 years of providing free comfort, care and hope to those touched by cancer in Pittsburgh!

For more information about Our Clubhouse, contact Michael Bowersox, Program Director, at mbowersox@ourclubhouse.org or at 443-338-1919.

Docs that Rock – A Benefit for Our Clubhouse

Date: October 25, 2016
Location: Our Clubhouse, 2816 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Time: Doors Open at 6, entertainment at 6:30.
Tickets: $50 ticket. What else: The evening includes appetizers and libations, acoustic music by Docs that Rock, Bon Journey and other local favorites, tours of Our Clubhouse, and more.

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