Letter written by our good friend and Gilda’s Club member, George Ramos:
How could I keep my family going while my bride fought for her life?
I asked myself that question one lonely night in July, 2009 after my wife – my soul mate – LaNae, had undergone a radical mastectomy and was beginning aggressive chemotherapy.
Cancer sucks. A lot.
In the days and weeks that followed I began to notice something about our home …the laughter was gone. I prayed a lot. I told myself I had broad shoulders and could bear a lot, but not LaNae – and definitely not our three kids. My family needed help.
Taking those first steps through the Big Red Door
Somewhere in the quiet one night I remembered Gilda’s Club. I had been there years before for the official opening in my role as a police officer. Now – my family needed them.
I remember arriving for our appointment with Claudia (the executive director) and Melissa (program director). I remember the hugs – and the assurances that someone besides our family cared – and that we would not have to face cancer alone.
Cancer would not control us.
During that first appointment Claudia remembered that I was a cop and said, “Cops are used to being in control. You can’t control cancer – but it doesn’t have to control you – or your family.”
At our first Wednesday night meeting, LaNae went to wellness group, the kids went to Noogie Land and I went to the caregiver group. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was greeted openly and warmly. Some had been caregivers for years. Others were like me – just starting on the journey.
They went around the room and told their stories. When it got to me, I was told that I didn’t have to talk – but I did. As I started the story of my bride, the tears began to fall. I was afraid. I was afraid for me. I was afraid I would lose LaNae and I was afraid our kids would have to grow up without their mom. I wanted my life back. I wanted my family back. I wanted to laugh again.
As LaNae’s cancer journey went on, chemo treatments came and went, days came and went and Gilda’s Club was always there – with love and support. In spite of cancer, my family learned to laugh again. Without Gilda’s Club, my family would have been lost and the laughter would have never returned.
Did you know?
- Gilda’s Club of the Quad Cities is a 501C3 non-profit organization.
- All services are free.
- Only 5 full-time staff served over 17,000 of your friends, neighbors & family members last year.
- Over 150 volunteers help with dozens of tasks.
They need your help.
Gilda’s Club relies on you, your friends, neighbors and employers here in the Quad Cities for all financial support. They receive no government funds and there is no help from a large national organization. Every penny they raise stays in the area and helps people you probably know.
The holidays are here and there is so much that needs to be done for families like mine. Please click the donate now button at the top of this page and make a contribution. Remember, your donation is tax-deductible.
I’m helping them this year. Please join me.
LaNae and kids
P.S. I often say that it is a shame that Gilda’s Club is needed, but it is a blessing that they are here. God bless Gilda’s Club.