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Gilda Radner Cancer Support Group Changing Its Name Because People Are Stupid

Gilda Radner
Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images / Gilda’s Club

The cancer support group Gilda’s Club is a tribute to legendary comedienne and noted ‘SNL‘ alum Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.

It got its name after Radner famously said cancer is “an elite club I’d rather not belong to,” and it’s helped a lot of people — but now several of the groups are renaming themselves to appease younger patients who don’t know who Gilda Radner is.

For God’s sake, people. It’s called the internet. You should use it. Learn something, maybe. Or order a Radner DVD from Netflix. Anything.

Regardless, several branches of the support group — created along with Radner’s psychotherapist Joanna Bull, broadcaster Joel Siegel and Gilda’s husband, legendary actor Gene Wilder — have announced they’re changing their names, including the Wisconsin-based Gilda’s Club Madison, which will now be known as Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin.

According to executive direction Lannia Syren Stenz, “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. 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.”

Unfortunately, changing the name to completely erase Radner is a disservice to her memory and her loved ones who created the organization. They couldn’t just go with “Gilda’s Cancer Support Club”?

Let’s remember that before the breast cancer foundation that bears her name was founded, no one knew who Susan G. Komen was either. And recent PR bungles by the group aside, a whole lot of people were eventually inspired by its namesake’s story — just as many people have been inspired by Radner’s.

And besides, the college kids Stenz wants to attract would benefit from knowing who Gilda Radner is — if nothing else, finding her old ‘SNL’ performances could bring them a little joy.

But Gilda’s Club Madison will hold a grand reopening on Thursday to celebrate the name change anyway, promising that “the Gilda name will slowly go away.”

We don’t use the word “sacrilege” very often around here, but this? Definitely qualifies.

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