Our History & Mission
About Gilda’s Club
Gilda’s Club NYC reaches more than 10,000 people annually through direct services at our Clubhouse and offsite hospital partners, and outreach through our website, health fairs, schools, corporate presentations, and inquiry calls. Men, women, teens, and children attend free support groups, educational lectures and healthy lifestyle workshops at the West Village clubhouse, or at select medical centers throughout New York City.
Our supportive and educational program is an integral supplement to conventional medical treatment, and helps restore a sense of control, redefine hope, reduce stress and isolation, and educate participants to better manage their care during and after treatment.
Cancer doesn’t just affect the cancer patient. It also impacts the entire family which is why we provide support to caregivers, family members and friends, and those who have lost someone to cancer, as well as those with a cancer diagnosis.
Gilda’s Club New York City was founded in memory of the talented Saturday Night Live comedian, Gilda Radner, who said that having cancer gave her membership in an elite club she rather not belong to. While living in the West Coast, Gilda was a part of a psychological and social support community for people with cancer and their families. It was there that she found friendship, hope, and a renewed sense of control of her life. Before passing away from ovarian cancer in 1989, she expressed her wish that a similar community exist on the East Coast.
Founded by Gene Wilder (Gilda’s then husband), psychotherapist Joanna Bull, Mandy Patinkin, Joel Siegel, and other friends and generous individuals, Gilda’s Club NYC opened its iconic Red Door in 1995 to provide a place where cancer patients and their families could find support, resources, and a community that cares.
In 2000, the success of Gilda’s Club NYC gave birth to Gilda’s Club Worldwide, an organization dedicated to developing a national network of clubhouses. In 2009, Gilda’s Club Worldwide merged with The Wellness Community to form the Cancer Support Community (CSC), which is now the largest cancer support network in the country. Although an affiliate of CSC, Gilda’s Club NYC is an administratively and financially independent entity.