At the Bay Club, we love helping our community celebrate life’s happy moments. But we also know that not every moment is happy, and while some of life’s surprises bring joy and laughter, others bring struggle and fear—and we want to support our community in those moments, too. For some, these unexpected trials show up as illness, and for Gina Raiola Rodriguez, our Corporate Spa Director, the moment arrived when her 3-year-old daughter was diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
While there’s no way to cushion how this kind of news devastates a family, Gina also found strength from the outpouring of support from those around her, especially in a group of moms whose children also have pediatric cancer. Through this group of “Warrior Mamas” as they would call themselves later, Gina was introduced to Team G Childhood Cancer Foundation, a local childhood cancer foundation started by fellow mom, Kristin Cosner, whose daughter, Gabriella, was also diagnosed with pediatric cancer.
We had the privilege to speak with Kristin about Gabriella’s story, learn what motivated her to start Team G, and how we could help this incredible organization throughout the month of September and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. And that’s where you—our members, associates, and community—come in. But before we give you the details on how we’re supporting Team G, we also want to share some of what we learned about pediatric cancer—and what Team G is doing to fight it.
Did you know every two minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer? That sadly, one in every five of these kids will succumb to cancer? We didn’t know these statistics either, and they were certainly jarring numbers for the Cosners, when Gabriella was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of pediatric cancer, at age four.
As Gabriella went through her first year of aggressive treatment at Lucile Packard, the Cosners learned how underfunded pediatric cancer research is (merely 4% of the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s cancer research budget is allocated to childhood cancers), and made a commitment to make a difference any way they could. Along with Claudia Cisneros, whose daughter Tianna had recently passed away from Rhabdomyosarcoma, the families started Team G as a way to fundraise for research, as well as support the families and children diagnosed with pediatric cancer. While the foundation was started in honor of all of the kids in the community battling cancer, the “T” in Team stands as a memory of Tianna, the foundation’s angel, and the “G” is for Gabriella, the foundation’s survivor, now a happy eight year old.
In just three years, Team G has donated over $100,000 to four progressive pediatric cancer centers, including Lucile Packard, UCSF Benioff, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and UCSC Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative, where most recently funding from Team G and other non-profits has helped to make big advances in a gene study to identify new forms of childhood cancer treatments. Team G has also grown into an inspiring movement to provide families with a little hope—in a tote that’s delivered straight to the hospitals.
“The Hope Totes are care packages for families of newly-diagnosed kids with cancer,” Kristin explains. “When your child is first diagnosed with cancer, there’s so much information coming at you at once. The Hope Totes are a tangible sign of support that says, ‘You’re not alone in this journey.'”
Each Tote includes a book from Nancy Keene, an author who writes children’s books on pediatric cancer, healthy snacks, toiletries, a letter with resources for financial and family support, and other necessities that family members might need, especially when they typically don’t leave the hospital for days, even weeks, at a time.
As an added personal touch, Kristin includes her personal phone number in each Tote, so parents can reach out to her directly. “It provides a support line for them,” Kristin says. “People want to know where do I go from here?” And while doctors do everything they can to answer medical questions, Kristin has been there for parents as a mom who’s had a similar experience.
With each tote delivery, Kristin feels Team G has done something good for someone in need—and perhaps a bit for themselves. “Helping is healing,” she says.
If you’d like to help fight childhood cancer, we hope you’ll join us at one (or all!) of the events we’re hosting throughout September to benefit Team G. And if you can’t make it to one of these events, participate in our social media initiatives benefiting Team G. Throughout September, we’ll donate $2 to Team G for every new follower of our Bay Club Instagram account. Already a follower? You can still help! For every “like” on a photo posted in September, we’ll donate $1 to Team G.
Want to donate more? Stop by your club’s Reception Desk to fill out a donation form—just $35 fills a Hope Tote to send to a family at the hospital.
Yoga on the Plaza
September 10, 17, and 24 | 9:00 am | 555 California Street, San Francisco | $20 Donation
Join us for this annual series of outdoor yoga classes, with all proceeds going to Team G! We’ll have a live DJ, raffle prizes from Beyond Yoga, Manduka, the Bay Club, and more. We’ll also have complimentary light refreshments after class. These events are open to the public.
Shauna Harrison | September 10
Laura Burkhart | September 17
Jennifer Keller | September 24
Sunrise Yoga + Pop-Up Shop
Sunday, September 25 | 8:00 am | Boulder Ridge Golf Club | $50 Donation
Join a talented team of instructors from Bay Club Courtside early Sunday morning for a relaxing outdoor yoga class, followed by breakfast and mimosas! This event is open to the entire family and includes complimentary childcare during class. We’ll also have a pop-up shop featuring Beyond Yoga, Jennifer Tuton, and more. This event is open to all Bay Club members and guests. Class is limited to 100 spots.
Charity Golf Tournament
Monday, September 26 | 1:00 pm | Boulder Ridge Golf Club | $25 Members, $50 Guests
Team up with fellow members and guests as you compete for bragging rights at our Charity Golf Tournament, benefiting Team G. Your day on the links will include a box lunch, non-alcoholic beverages, and tee prizes. Then, invite the whole family to join Family Dinner Night, including kid-friendly activities (additional cost applies). This event is open to all Bay Club members and guests, and registration for the golf tournament is on a first-come, first-served basis; tournament is limited to 144 spots.