Our History

Recognizing the need for critical support services for cancer patients and their families, Dr. Harold Benjamin, Ph.D. founded the first Wellness Community in Santa Monica, California in 1982.  The services were based upon the “Patient Active” concept whereby cancer patients adopt a set of actions, behaviors and attitudes to improve the quality of their lives, which could in turn enhance the possibility of recovery.  Being “Patient Active” empowers cancer patients to become actively aware of their medical care, keeping up with new cancer discoveries and armed with ways to manage side effects while being pro-active in all aspects of their cancer experience. In April 1987, a group of concerned South Bay residents including founders Jean McMillan, Elise Asch, Thomas Simko, MD, Anne Clary, MFT and Joost van Adelsberg, MD, worked diligently to raise start-up funds from other concerned South Bay citizens and corporate leaders to open our second facility, The Wellness Community – South Bay Cities, now known as Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach. In 2008, we expanded our program to provide more nutrition, preventative, educational and exercise programs, all completely free of charge.

For over 33 years, Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach has continued to provide psychosocial support and educational programs at no cost in fulfillment of our mission “to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.” We began in 1987 as the second affiliate in what has grown to 47 affiliates of the Cancer Support Community/Gilda’s Club network nationwide. As a part of a global network of affiliate organizations dedicated to providing emotional support to cancer patients and their loved ones, Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach’s support is integral to cancer patients in active treatment, those returning to wellness post-treatment and long-term survivors, as well as their family members, caregivers and other loved ones, age 5 and up.

Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is not subsidized by the government or our national headquarters in Washington, DC.  All funds raised stay with Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach and support our programs. We are solely funded through fundraising events and donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, service organizations and healthcare partnerships.