Comedian Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989, and there are chapters of Gilda's Club — community organization for people living with cancer, their families and friends — across the country. But a Wisconsin outpost has decided to change the name to Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin.
As Us Weekly reports:
"We are seeing younger and younger adults who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis," executive director Lannie Syren Stenz told the Wisconsin State Journal of the decision to change her club's name. "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."
Fans of the comedienne, however, argue that changing the name also changes the mission and message of the organization, which was started by Radner's friends in family in 1991 to honor the star's brave three-year battle with ovarian cancer. The name Gilda's Club was inspired by something she said after her 1986 diagnosis with the disease: "Having cancer gave me membership in an elite club I'd rather not belong to."
And the AP has a heartbreaking quote:
Radner's husband, actor Gene Wilder, said he didn't like the name change but he understood it. He said if he had to break the news to his late wife she might ask, "Do they have to throw me out?"
"I'd say, 'It's not throwing you out, honey, it's getting more money.' And she'd say, 'OK, I guess if they have to, they have to,'" he said. "It's too bad. I wish it weren't so. But I understand."