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Cancer group drops Gilda Radner from its name because youth don’t recognize it

A cancer support group in Wisconsin is dropping a reference to Gilda Radner, seen here in her SNL character Roseanne Rosannadanna, from its name.

A cancer support group in Wisconsin is dropping a reference to Gilda Radner from its name because young patients do not know the former Saturday Night Live comedian.

As a result, Gilda's Club Madison will become known as Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin in January.

"By incorporating what we do into our name, we hope to eliminate the confusion that we sometimes see in conjunction with Gilda's name," the group says in a statement.

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As a cast member of the first season of Saturday Night Live, Ms. Radner developed such characters as Roseanne Roseannadanna and Baba Wawa, based on Barbara Walters.

After her diagnosis with ovarian cancer, Ms. Radner said the disease gave her "membership to an elite club I'd rather not belong to." The comment inspired the name Gilda's Clubs, a network of clubhouses for cancer patients that was founded in 1991, two years after her death.

But young cancer patients were unaware of Ms. Radner's legacy.

"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," Lannia Syren Stenz, the club's executive director, told the Wisconsin State Journal.

"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," she said.

In 2009, Gilda's Club merged with the Wellness Community under the new name of Cancer Support Community. Other Gilda's Clubs will also be renamed.

However, Gilda's Club Greater Toronto plans to keep its original name.

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