Photo: Francesca Eastwood (left) and Frances Fisher (right)
Photo Credit: Vince Bucci
Cancer Support Community Benjamin Center (CSC) held its annual Gilda Award Gala to honor Frances Fisher, Joyce Green, and Matthew Loscalzo.
Francesca Eastwood described the mood best
“What struck me when I walked in was the message of love, hope, and positivity. I have never been to an event like this, and it’s not for lack of going to events that benefit charitable causes. The Gilda Award Gala is the first time that I feel inspired personally, so thank you.”
Most came with friends. Those who came alone did not remain solo for long. It soon became apparent that the Cancer Support Community (CSC) uses friendship and love as a supplemental treatment.
“What gets them through is the support end of the care; it’s so important. Just a friendly handshake or a smile. That means more than the latest medicine, just that encouragement.”
All gathered to raise funds for this organization of friendship and support. The CSC has been around for a very long time. Hal Linden spoke with LAEntNews about the long legacy of the CSC.
“I’ve been involved with this organization practically since it started. My wife had cancer back in the nineties, and we were involved with it then. It’s great to see all the people who are still involved with it.”
All the funds from the evening will pay for the services the CSC provides. These programs are free of charge for patients and their families. Our Emcee and MTV star John Sencio told LAEntNews how he utilized these programs the second time he battled cancer.
Photo: Frances Fischer (left) and John Sencio (right)
Photo Credit: Vince Bucci
“They gave me six months of mainly psychiatric sessions to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ve been to the drum group. I’ve been to yoga. I’ve been to Tai Chi, and they are great natural ways to bring some harmony into your life.”
“When you’re going through cancer treatment you’re affected physically and emotionally. It’s extremely traumatizing, and it impacts you financially as well. So to have the CSC provide 100% free treatments to patients is something that is just spectacular. What we deal with is helping patients with trauma.”
Frances Fisher was the crown jewel of the Gala and Gilda Award winner. Fisher is a huge supporter of the CSC. Regarding her award, she told LAEntNews
“It means that somebody noticed that I am an activist, and that’s really nice because the Gilda Award is given to people who are making differences in their community.”
During the Gala, Fisher was featured in a short video showcasing the CSC programs. She shared her experiences with the CSC.
“I did a yoga class a couple of weeks ago, and it was unbelievable. I hope I will be invited to come back. Nobody in my family has cancer, but I think that maybe I’ll be an honorary member of the yoga team. I’d love to go back and do more good. It’s great. The services they provide are fantastic and also free which is why the gala is so important. It’s so important to raise money because everything is free for the cancer patients and their families.”
Fisher’s Daughter presented her mother with the Gilda Award.
“Someone told me recently that if you go through something hard that the person you are having gone through it is a better version of yourself than if you had never gone through it at all. That’s what I thought of tonight. I’m just really inspired. I commend you. My mom taught me everything and my mom is such a leader in the world. You are so incredible, beautiful, strong, real and just have dedicated your life to helping others. Congratulations!” Eastwood declared at the ceremony.
The Gilda Award Gala Honors the legend of Gilda Radner. The famous comedian was diagnosed with cancer and became a public leader in the fight against the disease. This award honors her as an inspiration.
“Gilda Radner was an amazing comedian. She stepped up when she found out she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and brought it to the forefront. I respect that she did that because it opened up the dialogue,” stated Sencio.
All attendees had great memories of Gilda including the legacy of her life and humor.
“She (Gilda Radner) had a theory that cancer cells hated laughter, and singing, and joy. So laughter seems to be the best antidote,” (Sencio). Eileen Grubba added,
“My mother died of the same kind of cancer Gilda Radner had. I do know from having battled it myself. You have to laugh. When I was about to go into my war, my battle with it; I made sure to surround myself with friends who were the ablest to laugh. I think it’s critical. You have to lift yourself up.”
Photo: Hal Linden
Photo Credit: Vince Bucci
Hal Linden highlighted the power of humor.
“We (Linden and his late wife, Fran Martin) survived four different Cancers over 16 years. Well, we didn’t survive the last one. I’m afraid I lost her. What helped was being involved with it, dealing with it, and learning how to handle it. Through the Wellness Community, we learned how to deal with it. And of course, you better have humor about it. Over 16 years you better do a lot of laughing.
This organization brings joy, laughter, and support for children, mothers, fathers and spouses. Patients and caregivers can find true friendship, laughter, and treatment within the walls of the Cancer Support Community. This gala raised thousands of dollars for a very worthy cause. I believe they made Gilda proud.
“Gilda personified the spirit of our community. When Gilda died, Gilda’s Clubs were created. We were so proud that in 2009 The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Clubs joined to create what we have now. The Cancer Support Community.” – JohnSencio