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 which empowers cancer patients to become actively aware of their medical care and encourages them to be 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 to open our second facility, The Wellness Community-South Bay Cities, which then became Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach and moved into our location on the Redondo Beach Pier. We began as the second affiliate in what has grown to 47 affiliates of the Cancer Support Community/Gilda’s Club network nationwide.

To better reflect the area and people we serve, Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach became Cancer Support Community South Bay. Our community, resources, and impact all continue to grow as we embody our belief that community is stronger than cancer. Because of this growth, we also relocated to a larger space where we could better house all of the innovative programs and services we offer. We are now part of a network of 170+ locations worldwide including affiliates, hospital partners and satellite sites, and growing stronger every day.