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Gilda’s Club Name Change?

During my 15 years in Albany radio, I worked closely with the American Cancer Society, and supported the local chapter of Gilda’s Club.  I’ve been a long-time fan of Gilda’s, even though the highlights of her career occurred when I was far too young to fully appreciate her genius.  As you may know, Gilda lost her battle with ovarian cancer in 1989, and her husband, Gene Wilder (also a FAVORITE of mine) and friends formed Gilda’s Club, a cancer support community focused on empowerment, and of course, laughter being the best medicine.

I heard on the news last night that the name “Gilda’s Club” could be changing, as a Wisconsin affiliate decided to change their name to match the parent company, “Cancer Support Community”.  Their director claimed the Gilda’s Club moniker could “confuse younger patients unaware” of her legacy.  This bothered me.  Probably too much, but nonetheless, it did.

I did a little research, and was mildly happier to learn that this name-change is not a directive for all Gilda’s Club affiliates.  It’s solely up to each affiliate.  But as the backlash has grown, I’ve seen comments fielding the same sentiments as mine.  Just because a certain generation doesn’t know her work, should her legacy be eliminated?  I never knew John F. Kennedy, but I don’t see them changing the space center’s name.  I didn’t know Betty Ford, but I sure do know what her clinic does.

I may be being overly sensitive here.  After all, Shakespeare wrote “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  The organization will undoubtedly still do amazing work.  They’ll continue the mission of Gilda’s Club, just by another name.  I just feel like sometimes, we should leave well-enough alone.

Wonder how Roseanne Rosanadana would feel about this? (This is one of my all-time favorite Gilda moments)

<3 LD

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