Follow us on Facebook and tune in on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. to watch our latest workshop LIVE! Have an idea for a topic we can cover? Email

Adult Workshops


Family Workshops


Being Diagnosed with Cancer

Join us as we sit down with two of our members, Jon and Ella to talk about being diagnosed with cancer and sharing more about our Gilda’s Club program.

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Yoga with Embody

Join us as we talk with Dana Christian Lee from Embody YOGA about our partnership and the health and wellness benefits of yoga.

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Better Than a New Year’s Resolution

Join us to talk with Matt Kilroy, personal coach, Tae Kwon Do teacher and health care professional, about the in’s and outs of setting and reaching goals for your life.

View the “Cleaning up the Past” workshop with SMART goals referenced in the video here.  

You can also see a PDF of the slides here. 

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Lessons in Improv with Rick Truer

Join us as we sit down with River City Improv’s Rick Truer and discuss life lessons from Improv that can help improve your communicating skills and deal with life’s tough stuff!

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COVID-19 & the Holidays

Join us as we sit down with program staff members Beth Nelson and Melissa and discuss making plans for the holidays in the midst of COVID. COVID has added a lot of opportunities to grieve to our lives. This may be felt more acutely during the holidays. Together we’ll discuss tips on coping with that grief, things to remember when making plans and ideas on ways to adapt your celebrations.

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Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Making Treatment Decisions

Our Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Making Treatment Decisions Workshop is led by the Gilda’s Club program team. Together we’ll share info on treatment options, the cost of care and navigating the decision-making process.

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Breath Workshop with Jim Petzing

Sit down with writer and professional poker player, Jim Petzing. Jim may have bet against receiving two cancer diagnoses in three years. But the retired marketing strategist and lifelong non-smoker, survived neck cancer treatment in 2014, only to hear in 2017 that the dry cough he couldn’t kick was lung cancer. Jim said he believes that writing has helped his healing process, and that sharing what he has been through might help others dealing with the physical and mental aspects of cancer. Learn more about Jim’s journey in his book, “Breath: Living My Best Life with Chronic Lung Cancer.”

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Caregiving Workshop

Being a Caregiver for someone with cancer means you’re now part of their care team. Join program staff Sandi and Melissa as we talk about what being a caregiver means and tips for taking care of yourself while you’re caring for someone else.

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Frankly Speaking About Cancer: Multiple Myeloma

Join us in welcoming Jenna Curtis, RN as we discuss Multiple Myeloma. Together we will explore treatment options for Multiple Myeloma, side effects, the cost of care, and navigating life with the disease. In addition, participants will learn about ways to cope with the social and emotional challenges of a Multiple Myeloma diagnosis. This program is funded by a grant from Cancer Support Communities. Please help us receive funding for your viewing by filling out a post event survey found at  

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Peripheral Neuropathy 

Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids is delighted to welcome Dr. Amro Stino, MD of University of Michigan to speak in the Peripheral Neuropathy Support Group. Dr Stino’s presentation includes information on these topics: Overview of the major categories of Neuropathy: chemotherapy, diabetes, and other causes. What works well in coping with Peripheral Neuropathy. How to live well overall with Peripheral Neuropathy. What’s new in the research.  

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Humor, Laughter and Well-Being:
What Does the Research Tell Us?

Folk wisdom teaches that laughter is the best medicine. This aphorism often rings true to so many people that it is rarely questioned. However, the reality is more nuanced than this. For example, are the supposed benefits due to the behavior of laughter itself, the emotional experience of humor, or something else? Moreover, research suggests that not all humor is created equal. Indeed, certain kinds of humor could be beneficial, but other kinds are detrimental. Join us as we unpack what science says about the connections between humor, laughter, and health.

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Cardio Oncology

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Wissam Abdullah from Spectrum Health in this Cardio Oncology Workshop!. Cardio Oncology is a rapidly expanding sub-specialty within cardiology which focuses on the cardiac care of cancer patients before, during, and after treatment. 

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Meditation and mindfulness can change you outlook and help improve your health. Join us today as we discuss it’s benefit and practice together!
Handouts referenced:;; Other Apps with free portion to them: Insight Timer, Calm, 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, and The mindfulness app.

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In this work shop we talk about gratitude and it’s affect on your brain today at 1 p.m. Be sure to tune in to learn more about how it can help shift your mental state and tips on lasting benefits.

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Life with Loss during COVID

Join us for a Facebook Live with program staff and Ashley Huisman LMSW, Grief Support Manager at Emmanuel Hospice as we discuss grieving during this new and different time.

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Making Sense of Cancer by Sharing Your Story

Join us as we discuss narrative medicine and therapy as well as the powerful healing properties of sharing your story with Narrative Therapist Sheila Carroll.

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Cleaning Up the Past While Looking Toward the Future

Join program staff Sandi and guest Linda Kiel, a professional organizer, in sharing tips on managing your person’s belongings after they have died. Together we’ll explore more on cleaning up the past, while looking toward the future.

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Frankly Speaking About Cancer – Eating Well

Enjoy this virtual special workshop where an oncology registered dietitian, Sue Gunnink, MS, RDN, CSO, Board Certified Specialist, Oncology Nutrition, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, answer all your questions and concerns about nutrition during and after cancer treatment. Together we will learn why nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment and into survivorship, how to manage common cancer-related eating problems during treatment and into survivorship.

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Being Prepared with Advanced Care Planning

We’ll sit down with Carol Robinson, DNP, MS, BSN, RN, CHPN® from Making Choices Michigan to explore conversations to have with others and plans you can have in place to ensure the medical treatment you would, or would not, want. Dr. Robinson has had a varied nursing career in both clinical and administrative leadership positions. Her clinical specialty has focused on adults and children with life-limiting illness. Her passion for the care of chronically ill patients and families led to extensive experience with patient/family communication relative to quality of life and treatment preferences. Her scholarly work has focused on communication skills for health professionals, including advance care planning conversations. Her friendly and open approach has helped many individuals create an advance directive reflective of one’s own personal values, beliefs, and preferences for end-of-life care.

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Managing Stress Tips

Feeling stressed out? Overwhelmed with many things all happening at once? Join us for a Facebook Live presentation of “Managing Stress.” Gilda’s Club Program Staff member Beth Shepherd, LMSW will share stress management strategies that will help in coping with the stress in your life

Book referenced:     Handouts:

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How to Help Myself Feel Better

Together we’ll talk about self-care tips, the difference between self-care and self-indulgence. When to know when you’re over the edge to help yourself and you need to get help.

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Cancer Treatment During COVID-19

Join us as we talk with Heather Levanduski, LMSW from The Cancer and Hematology Center of West Michigan as we discuss things visits to your doctor’s office and undergoing treatment during this COVID social distancing time.

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Meditation Session

n this time of higher stress and anxiety, it can be very difficult to stay grounded and stay connected. Meditation can help us stay in the present and reduce anxiety. Follow along with one of our program staff members, Melissa, as she leads us through a meditation session.

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No Sew Mask Craft

Looking for a way to make a mask with materials you have on hand? Follow along with Director of Strategic Initiatives and LaughFest, Joanne as she walks through making a mask out of bandannas, old shirts, hair ties and rubber bands. Referenced in the video:

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Sit & Be Fit

Join us for our Friday Sit and Be Fit Class as Noreen walks us through gentle exercises that can be done at home.

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Recognizing and Managing Anxiety during COVID

We know that there’s a lot going on right now that may be causing anxiety. How do you name that the feeling you’re feeling is anxiety? How do these manifest physically? What is the best way to manage your anxiety. Join two members of our program team, Lehanna and Melissa as we explore these topics and more

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“I am Enough”

Join us in reading “I am Enough” written by Grace Byers and pictures by Keturah A. Bobo. We’re joined by guest reader and Gilda’s Club member, Tamara. Afterwards, we’ll do an activity together talking about “who am I?”

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“Snowmen at Night”

Join us as we read “Snowmen at Night” written by Caralyn Buehner with pictures by Mark Buehner. For today’s activity, we’d encourage you to go outside, play in our fresh snow and make your own snowperson! Don’t have snow? Check out this video on how to make artificial snow:

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“The Day You Begin”

Join us as we read “The Day You Begin” by Jaqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López and discuss sharing your story with others.

We’re thrilled to welcome guest reader, Eric Zuniga (he/him), board member for the Grand Rapids Pride Center. Learn more about their offerings at

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“The Gift of Nothing”

Today we’re reading “The Gift of Nothing” written by Patrick McDonnell, featuring guest reader, Santa, straight from the North Pole!

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“The Day Santa Got Sick”

Today we’re reading “The Day Santa Got Sick” by Deanne Samuels. Today’s guest reader is with Paula Collier, a member of our Sister to Sister Cancer Support Group who is supporting her mother who is a cancer survivor. Paula is an Alumni Member of the Grand Rapids Chapter of Delta Sigma Theda sorority and a Community Engagement Advocate.

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“Right Now, I am Fine”

We’re thrilled to welcome the City of Grand Rapids’ own Mayor Rosalynn Bliss as our guest reader on our Facebook Live Family Workshop! Together we’ll read “Right Now, I am Fine” by Dr. Daniela Owen. This book is a mindfully written self-help guide to aid children in dealing with stress and anxiety, by uncovering their emotions and following a simple calming routine.

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“Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You”

Join us over on Facebook today at 1 p.m. as Melissa and Julie from our program team read “Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You” by Nancy Tillman and do an activity together. We’ll also discuss different ways to cope with not being with our family members and friends physically over the holidays.

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“Room on the Broom”

Watch our special Halloween Family Workshop featuring special guest, Christina the Kind Witch. Together we’ll read “Room on the Broom,” written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler and discuss five ways you can celebrate Halloween in a socially distanced way.

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“Hush, Hush Forest”

Join program staff Melissa Budzynski and guest reader Shawn Ruetz, our Director of Development and Engagement, as we discuss “change” and read “Hush, Hush Forest” by Mary Casanova and Wood Cut Illustration by Nick Wroblewski. After the book we’ll do an activity together! What change are you noticing in your life?

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“Whoever You Are”

Join program staff Sandi and Tracey as we read “Whoever You Are” by Mem Fox and illustrated by Leslie Staub. Together we’ll discuss our topic “In This Together” and do an activity together.

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“The Blue Day Book for Kids”

In this family workshop we read”The Blue Day Book for Kids: A Lesson in Cheering Yourself Up” by Bradley Trevor Grieve and discuss our topic of “Sad Things Happen” We also talk about things we can do when we’re feeling blue that will help us change to a different color.

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“When Sophie Gets Mad: Really, Really Mad”

In today’s Family Workshop program staff Melissa and Vice President of Development Daryl as we read “When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry…” by Molly Bang and discuss what we do when we’re angry and healthy ways to cope with anger.

Handouts referenced in this recording:

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“Gilbert the Great”

In this Family Workshop we’re thrilled to have you join us as we read “Gilbert the Great” by Jane Clarke & Charles Fuge and talk together about the topic “What’s Different Now” and doing an activity together. As you listen to our book, see if you can pick out some of the ways that Gilbert manages the changes in his life. Do you so any changes or feelings similar yours?

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“You’ve Got Dragons”

Program staff Melissa and Kim read “You’ve Got Dragons” by Katherine Cave and Nick Maland. After the story, we talk together about the topic “It’s no-bodies fault” and do an activity together!

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“I Like Myself”

Together program staff Melissa and Tracey read “I Like Myself” by Karen Beaumont and Illustrated by David Catrow. Afterward we discuss the topic “I can be strong!” and do a craft together. Suggested supplies include paper and something to draw with like markers, crayons or pencils.

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“Today I Feel Silly”

Join program staff Tracey and Melissa as we discuss “My feelings inside and out” while reading “Today I Feel Silly” by Jamie Lee Curtis and do an activity together.

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“The Desert is Theirs”

In this Family Workshop we read “The Desert is Theirs” by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Peter Parnall, discuss “In My House” and do an activity together.

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“In My Heart: A Book of Feelings”

Join program staff Lindsay and Kim as we read “In My Heart: A Book of Feelings” written by Jo Witek and illustrated by Christine Roussey. After we read the book, we’ll also do an activity together.

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“Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge”

Join program staff Melissa and Kim as we read “Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge” Written By Mem Fox, Illustrated by Julie Vivas, together and do an activity!

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“The Feel Good Book”

Join program team members Melissa and Tracey for as we read The Feel Good Book by Todd Parr and do an activity together!

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“How Are You Peeling?”

Join program team members Kayleigh and Kim as they read “How are You Peeling?” by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers, with a craft. We’ll also talk about strategies in recognizing and sharing our feelings and managing anxiety. Suggested supplies: crayons or markers, scissors, glue, paper and magazines. See the handouts referenced in the video here:

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Virtual Family Improv Workshop

Calling all families! Gilda’s Club abd LaughFest invites you to be part of the funny during the Virtual Family Improv Workshop. Lead by local improv instructor, Amy Gascon, families will get silly playing improvised games. Learn new games to play on long road trips and find new ways to use your imagination on a rainy day. No improv experience required!

About Amy: Amy is the Training Center Director at The Comedy Project GR where she also performs and teaches. She has taught youth improv class for The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, for the Lyceum program at the Museum School, and directed The Characters That Lived program for a number of years for The Creative Youth Center. She loves cheese, catchphrase and her corgi, Doug.

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Laughter Yoga

Gilda’s Club and LaughFest are thrilled to partner with Angēla Essick Dykes to bring Laughter Yoga to the digital sphere! The word yoga means unity and harmony. In Laughter Yoga, laughter is the means to bring unity and harmony to mind, body and spirit. No equipment or special clothing is required to laugh. Participating in Laughter Yoga can provide the same benefits of aerobic activity without the aches, pains and muscle tension associated with exercise.

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“The Invisible String”

Join Melissa and Tracey for a reading of “The Invisible String” by Patrice Karst and a craft! After we read the book, we’ll reflect on our invisible strings and do a craft together to help us remember them! Supplies that would be good to have on hand: string, glue and items that remind you of your person who died or friends and family that you can attach to the string.

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