Gilda Radner, the former “Saturday Night Live” actress who died in 1989 after battling ovarian cancer, has long been the inspiration behind the national cancer support group Gilda’s Club. But one chapter of Gilda’s Club in Madison, Wis. has drawn heat for changing its name because it felt younger generations wouldn’t recognize what it stood for as they no longer knew who Radner was.
“We are seeing younger and younger adults who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis,” the club’s executive director, Lannia Syren Stenz, tells the Wisconsin State Journal (via CBS News). “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.”
Instead, the Madison chapter is now called Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin. Though other chapters of the organization have declared they won’t be changing their affiliation to Radner, local chapters were given the opportunity to change their names from Gilda’s Club to Cancer Support Community when Gilda ‘s Club Worldwide merged with The Wellness Community in 2009.
Even with that being said, the idea that Radner is no longer relevant to younger generations is not a belief the entire organization stands behind. Linda House, executive vide president of Gilda’s Club, calls Stenz’s comments “not accurate, period.”
“Gilda Radner is very much a part of the fiber of this organization,” House tells AP. “There has never been an intent and there is no intent to lose Gilda as part of the organization.”