At the end of August, Gene Wilder, famed comic actor, screenwriter, author, and film director, died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. While he was known for his ability to capture audiences of all ages and make them laugh, he was also passionate about a cause important to us at Wicked Sheets — cancer awareness, prevention, and support.
Two years after his third wife, comedian Gilda Radner, passed away form ovarian cancer at 42, Wilder co-founded Gilda’s Club. Created as a place of support for both people battling cancer and for their loved ones, Gilda’s Club has spent more than two decades opening chapters across the nation. Their support includes workshops and lectures, as well as social events designed to be homelike and aid in healing process for both individuals and families. Louisville’s own Gilda’s Club can be found here and those seeking membership or to give assistance can join online.
With numerous locations across both the United States and Canada, Gilda’s Club offers their support at no charge to those seeking help. The poignancy of Wilder’s passing is matched by September being childhood cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and ovarian cancer awareness months. Wilder himself was a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor and championed all forms of cancer awareness and prevention after the loss of Gilda.
“Time is a precious thing,” says Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. “Never waste it.” This mantra was lived by both Mr. Wonka on the silver screen and by Mr. Wilder in his daily life. Wilder himself battled Alzheimer’s Disease in his final years and he chose to keep his diagnosis out of the public eye. When discussing the choice to remain private, his family released a statement, saying:
“The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him ‘there’s Willy Wonka,’ would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” he added.
At Wicked Sheets, we pride ourselves on being as supportive as possible for those suffering from night sweats from any cause. Many of our customer notes come from people suffering from cancer themselves or that of a loved one and are sweating as a result of chemotherapy. One of our most powerful stories came from a woman who lost her brother to cancer. Soon after his passing, she emailed us to say how much more comfortable his bedding made him during the final weeks of his life. Bedding may seem an ancillary afterthought, but for us and for those who are suffering, it’s vital. We’re proud to help make them more comfortable.
We celebrate the life and legacy left behind by Gilda, by Gene, and by the many others who came before, and will come after, that devote themselves to helping those in need.