The organization, which offers support groups, counseling and workshops to people with cancer and their loved ones, provides services for more than 10,000 people each year. Stone, whose mother is a breast cancer survivor, dedicated part of her acceptance speech to the services Gilda’s Club provides to young people.
“I was 19 when my mom was diagnosed and the idea of trying to understand that, especially as a little kid … and knowing that at Gilda’s Club, kids can have fun and go to summer camp and enjoy time with other kids who understand what they’re going through is absolutely incredible,” the Oscar winner said.
The benefit gala, usually in-person, transitioned to a virtual format for the first time this year in an effort to continue raising funds for Gilda’s Club. Hosted by WABC-TV anchor Bill Ritter, the event also featured various celebrities and guests who spoke about their appreciation for Gilda’s Club namesake and “Saturday Night Live” legend Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.
“It’s already such an isolating experience to be going through something like cancer, and a place like Gilda’s Club showing them that they’re not alone — and that everyone can access it for free — is absolutely a vital resource and something that I am so proud and lucky to have gotten to visit and be a part of in a small way through the years,” the Gilda’s Club NYC ambassador said.
Giovanni Caforio, the chairman and CEO of Bristol Myers Squibb, was also honored during the event for his company’s role in creating pharmaceuticals for cancer patients.
“While medicines play an essential role in cancer treatment and survival, we also know that people fighting cancer need much more than medicine,” he said. “They need the support and care from organizations like Gilda’s Club.”
Other speakers during the gala included “Saturday Night Live” actors Ego Nwodim and Kenan Thompson. Ben Platt featuring Finneas on piano, Nicole Van Giesen and The Workshop A Cappella performed at the event.
“SNL” alums Martin Short, Laraine Newman, Chevy Chase and more congratulated the organization on its 25th anniversary and reflected on the impact Radner had on their lives.
“(Gilda) learned to care about other people who were going through the same thing during her illness,” said co-founder Joanna Bull. “In that sense, she anticipated the foundation of Gilda’s Club — the heart and the soul of it.”