Gilda's Club

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Gilda's Club is a community organization for people with cancer, their families and friends. Local chapters provide meeting places where those who have cancer, their families, and friends can join with others to build emotional and social support as a supplement to medical care. Free of charge and nonprofit, Gilda's Club chapters offer support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social events in a nonresidential, homelike setting. The club was named in honor of original Saturday Night Live cast member, Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. In 2009, Gilda's Club merged with The Wellness Community to form the Cancer Support Community, although local branches generally opted to retain the name Gilda's Club.

Gilda's Club, Seattle


Gilda's Club was founded by Joanna Bull, Radner's cancer psychotherapist and co-founded with Radner's widower, Gene Wilder (himself a cancer survivor) and broadcaster Joel Siegel (who died after a long battle with the disease).[1] Joanna Bull started the project with just $10,000 and networked in the New York cancer support community.[2] She became the executive director of the first club opened in New York City in 1995, after a long fundraising campaign that included movie trailers featuring Wilder in theaters around the country who acted as the celebrity spokesman.[3] The organization took its name from Radner's comment that cancer gave her "membership to an elite club I'd rather not belong to".[4] Radner's story can be read in her book, It's Always Something.

In July 2009, Gilda’s Club Worldwide merged with The Wellness Community, another established cancer support organization to create the Cancer Support Community (CSC).[5][6][7] As of 2012, there were over 20 active local affiliates of Gilda’s Club. Although some local affiliates of Gilda’s Club and The Wellness Community have retained their names, many affiliates have adopted the name Cancer Support Community following the merger. The proposed name change caused controversy in some communities.[8][9][10][11] The national organization introduced a web-based diagnostic "distress screening" tool [12] which led the Pittsburgh Gilda's Club to change its name and sever its ties with the national organization because of a disagreement over requirements to offer the screening tool to all patients.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dennis McLellan, "Joel Siegel, 63; film critic on ABC morning news show", Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2007.
  2. ^ Williams, Lena. "Gilda's Club for Cancer Patients Is Rising". Retrieved 2018-03-18.
  3. ^ Lena Williams, "Gilda's Club for Cancer Patients Is Rising", The New York Times, November 3, 1994.
  4. ^ "Gilda's Club Twin Cities: Who We Are". Website. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  5. ^ "Wellness Community & Gilda's Club May Merge". Oncology Times vol 31, Issue 7. pp. 8–10. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  6. ^ McClure, Susan (December 14, 2009). "Gilda's Club and The Wellness Community Join Forces". Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "Merging to Increase Mission Impact". The NonProfit Times. Archived from the original on December 7, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "Gilda's Club Name Change Seen as Insult", Associated Press in Daily Herald, November 30, 2012  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  9. ^ Allison Takeda, "Gilda Radner Fans Say Gilda's Club Name Change Is an Insult to the Comedienne", Us Weekly, November 30, 2012.
  10. ^ Scott Bauer, "Gilda's Club Name Change Reversed In Madison, Wis. Chapter", Associated Press in Huffington Post, January 23, 2013.
  11. ^ Samara Kalk Derby, "Gilda's Club Madison reverses decision, won't change name", Wisconsin State Journal, January 24, 2013.
  12. ^ Laura Landro, "To Treat the Cancer, Treat the Distress", The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2012.
  13. ^ Brett Sholtis and Michael A. Fuoco, "Pittsburgh's Gilda's Club leaves national group over diagnostic tool", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 7, 2014.