The mission of Cancer Support Community East Tennessee is that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.
That no one faces cancer alone.
Cancer Support Community East Tennessee, originally known as The Wellness Community Knoxville, opened its doors on January 2, 1990, thanks to founders Rachael Young, her late husband Robert Young, and his late brother Lindsay Young. Rachael, a cancer survivor, was determined to bring The Wellness Community to Knoxville after hearing the founder, Harold Benjamin, PhD, speak at a cancer workshop in Santa Monica, California.
Dr. Benjamin founded The Wellness Community on the concept that cancer patients and family members should partner with their health care team and take an active role in the healing process. He also believed that those affected by cancer provide invaluable information, support, and hope to one another when coming together in community. Complementary cancer care is now seen as “an integral and necessary component of quality cancer care” by The Institute of Medicine in its groundbreaking report Cancer Care for the Whole Patient.
The Wellness Community Knoxville was the fourth Wellness Community affiliate in existence and the first outside the state of California. We are proud that our founder Rachael Young had the vision to bring this organization to Knoxville.
In 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club Worldwide united to form Cancer Support Community, a global network of 52 affiliates and more than 100 offsite and satellite locations worldwide.
Over the past 29 years Cancer Support Community East Tennessee has grown significantly into a much larger physical space, serving a greater number of adults each year, and since 2011 has expanded services to include supporting children when cancer is in the family. To date, more than 11,000 people impacted by cancer have been served through the Cancer Support Community.
All services are led by professionals, offered free of charge, and are designed to enhance physical and emotional well-being as well as improve quality of life. Programs include weekly and monthly support groups, health and wellness courses, educational workshops, stress management sessions, lectures led by experts in the field of oncology, and social gatherings – all within a community that includes laughter, joy and hope.