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Gilda's Club exterior
Gilda's Club in Middleton. MICHELLE STOCKER -- The Capital Times

Roseanne Roseannadanna and other memorable “Saturday Night Live” characters created by comedian Gilda Radner are not part of the cultural literacy of young people in 2012. And that’s a main reason Gilda’s Club Madison is changing its name, effective in January.

“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,” said Lannia Syren Stenz, the club’s executive director.

“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.

The national organization is phasing in the new name, Cancer Support Community, Stenz said, and the Gilda name will slowly go away.

The Madison club — Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin — is the fourth affiliate to make the change.

The organization, which was established in Madison in 2008, provides emotional support, cancer education and wellness activities for cancer patients and their families.

The formal name change announcement will take place at 5:15 p.m. Thursday with a ribbon cutting and grand reopening celebration at the Cancer Support Community clubhouse, 7907 UW Health Court in Middleton.

Al Falaschi, the founding member of Madison’s venerable funk combo Phat Phunktion, whose wife died of cancer in 2009, will provide music at the event.

Community supporters interested in attending need to RSVP to

Visit or call 828-8880 for more information.

Historically, the Gilda’s Club worldwide organization, based on the East Coast, and the Wellness Community, where Radner got support on the West Coast after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986, slowly grew together.

The new name, Cancer Support Community, “really says what we do very clearly,” Stenz said. “When you hear Gilda’s Club, if you don’t know what that means, you may not come to us.”

Another factor is that Gilda’s Club Madison is located in Middleton, and the new name will incorporate a wider geographical area.

The organization has more than 2,000 members, 1,600 active, from 26 counties.


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