Cancer Support Clubhouse Backtracks on Name Change

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MTT News Desk's picture
Matt Geiger
Gilda Radner.

A cancer support organization in Middleton has abandoned plans to change its name. In a statement issued Wednesday, Gilda’s Club Madison, which announced late last year it would change its name to Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin in January, said it is retaining the Gilda’s Club name.

“Many of you have noticed that our website, Facebook page and signs did not change in January,” said a Gilda’s Club message sent via email to supporters and members of the media. “Since mid-December, the Gilda’s Club Madison board of directors has been working with our national Cancer Support Community board regarding the name change.”

“We want you to know that we listened and we heard you,” the statement continued. “The board and staff of Gilda's Club Madison have just gone through a very humbling, but heartwarming experience. We felt it was important for our name to reflect what we do and who we serve.  As an organization that offers emotional support, cancer education and wellness activities at no cost for anyone affected by cancer, we believed that it made sense for us to align with our national office and become Cancer Support Community. Ultimately, we wanted more families to find us, understand what we do, and use our services. It was never our intent, however, to remove Gilda Radner from our hearts or our clubhouse.”

The local Gilda’s Club facility, located at 7907 UW Health Court in Middleton, held a ribbon cutting ceremony last year to announce its impending name change.

The organization is named after Gilda Radner, a comedian who was on the television show Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s. Radner died of ovarian cancer 24 years ago. When the organization announced its intent to change its name, media outlets across the country reported on outrage at a move some saw as an insult to the late comedian.

“Following our decision, we received an overwhelming flood of love for Gilda and her legacy from our members and the local community,” said Wednesday’s statement. “Thank you if you added your voice to that discussion. We heard that Gilda is much more than a name; she is a hero to those that come to us for cancer support. We understand that now better than ever. In response, we are taking your feedback to heart and keeping the name Gilda's Club.”


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