Comedienne Gilda Radner inspired (and continues to do so) millions with her brave ovarian cancer battle that unfortunately ended in 1989. The support organization founded after her demise, Gilda’s Club, is planning to change its name, it has emerged.The Madison-area Gilda’s Club, for instance, will be called Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin for the simple reason that many of the people who are now seeking help and support while battling cancer have no idea who Gilda is.
Radner was a decisive force, but the fact remains that her name simply doesn’t ring a bell with today’s youngsters, as the Club’s Executive Director Lannia Syren Stenz explains for Madison.com.
“One of the realizations we had this year is that our college students were born after Gilda Radner passed, as we are seeing younger and younger adults who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” she says.
“We want to make sure that what we are is clear to them and that there’s not a lot of confusion that would cause people not to come in our doors,” Stenz adds.
At the same time, fans are totally outraged, seeing the name change as an insult to the memory of a very brave and wonderful woman, one who has helped millions cope with their cancer diagnosis.
Gilda’s Club has always been called that and the name shouldn’t change only because the comedienne’s work is not familiar to today’s audiences, they say.
“[The name Cancer Support Community] really says what we do very clearly. When you hear Gilda’s Club, if you don’t know what that means, you may not come to us,” Stenz fights back.
As outrage spread online and reports started picking up that every Gilda’s Club was about to change its name, more or less forcefully, the executive director of the one in Rochester has issued a statement to set the record straight: the name change is not mandatory and they’re opting to keep it, MSNBC reports.