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Cancer support group drops Radner's name


 Actress and comedienne Gilda Radner holds up copies of her book at a New York bookstore in 1983.
FILE/Suzanne Vlamis/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 11/30/2012

BY DINESH RAMDE and SCOTT BAUER

Associated Press

MIDDLETON, Wis.

--Remember Roseanne Roseannadana? Or Emily Litella? Or Baba Wawa?

Younger generations might not recognize the characters popularized by comedienne Gilda Radner. Nor might they remember Radner herself, an original cast member of Saturday Night Live who died 23 years ago and for whom a national cancer support group is named.

That's troubling to the Madison-area chapter of Gilda's Club, which planned on Thursday to change its name in part because of concern that many don't know who Radner was. The move prompted outrage from some Radner fans, who see it as a slight to a woman who confronted cancer with dignity and humor, and led other chapters across the nation to hastily reaffirm they have absolutely no intention of changing their names.

Lannia Syren Stenz, the Madison-area club's executive director, said her organization decided to change its name to Cancer Support Community Southwest Wisconsin after it realized that most college students were born after Radner died in 1989.

"We are seeing younger and younger adults who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis," Stenz 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."

Her comments angered some Radner fans, who let loose a storm of criticism on the organization's Facebook page.