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Efforts are under way to bring Gilda's Club, a free, non-profit, social support community for people with cancer, their families and friends, to Western New York.

Named after Gilda Radner, the "Saturday Night Live" comedian who lost her life to ovarian cancer, Gilda's Club will offer men, women, children, adolescents, friends and family the opportunity to meet and learn from each other how to live with cancer; it also will be a place where they can relax and be themselves.

There will be support and networking groups, lectures, workshops and social events -- all adding up to a "support community" in a homelike atmosphere for companionship, sharing and laughter. There's no pressure to be "positive." Every person's way of living with cancer is respected.

"We're trying to get as many people interested as we can," says Shirley A. Krise, member of the Gilda's Club committee (852-8144). "A friend of mine of got me involved. We're just in our initial steps." They're looking for funding, a meeting place and a general show of interest.

While working with Dr. M. Steven Piver of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Ms. Krise notes that Gilda's Club will not be hospital-affiliated.

Gilda's Club founder Joanna Bull of New York City points out that families "must be included in this picture: Without them, we're leaving out one of the most potent forces for healing that's out there."
-- Louise Continelli

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