Harold Benjamin and Gilda Radner

Organizational History



In 1982, Harold and Harriet Benjamin transformed the way our culture faces cancer. Harriet, a cancer survivor herself, sought to create an organization that would provide social and emotional support to not only cancer patients, but also to families, friends, and caregivers. The Benjamins strongly encouraged psychosocial care because they believed in a strong correlation between emotional and physical well-being. Thus, the first walk-in community facility of its kind, The Wellness Community (TWC), was founded in Santa Monica, CA for those living with cancer to receive appropriate support.


One of the biggest advocates of TWC was late comedian and “SNL” cast member Gilda Radner. When diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1986, Radner sought support from TWC. She called for similar support-focused organizations to be available not only on the West coast, but everywhere. Unfortunately in 1989, Gilda passed away.


In honor of Gilda’s legacy, her husband Gene Wilder, and psychotherapist Joanna Bull, along with friends and family, founded Gilda’s Club in 1991. The first local Affiliate organization, Gilda’s Club New York City, opened its iconic Red Doors in 1995. Since then, additional locations have opened worldwide.


In 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club Worldwide merged, becoming the Cancer Support Community. As a result of this union, the Cancer Support Community is now one of the largest providers of cancer support worldwide, with Gilda’s Club and Cancer Support Community affiliate locations across the country.

Why Cancer Support?

Gilda’s Club Madison provides free emotional support, cancer education, and hope to children and adults impacted by any kind of cancer and to those who care for them. Our mission is to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.

What We Offer

We offer a place where people, young and old, can share their experiences, questions, and feelings while enjoying a cup of coffee, playing in the kids’ Noogieland area, participating in support groups, experiencing yoga or tai chi, taking part in educational lectures, or participating in social events. We offer a welcoming environment away from the emotionally charged health care setting where people can be themselves and share their experiences with others.
Getting Started

New member meetings are offered at a variety of times each month. If the scheduled meeting times do not work for you or your family, you may call or email the clubhouse to schedule a 1-to-1 meeting with one of our caring program staff. Email program@gildasclubmadison.org or call 608-828-8880 to get started.
More About Gilda's Club

Each year Gilda's Club Madison completes a financial audit, compiles an annual report, and works to keep our supporters informed through the bi-annual Gildagram. Click on the links below to learn more.