Minnie Pearl will always be a local legend, but that name will no longer be on a local cancer support group.
The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation changed its name Tuesday in a move that has some wondering why.
It came after a four-year discussion for the well-known nonprofit, which now has a new name and a new focus.
Her tell-tale greeting "How-dee!" from the Grand Ole Opry stage made her one of country's most beloved performers, but when the actress - Sarah Cannon - battled cancer, the character's name soon found itself on a beloved Nashville nonprofit.
Twenty-five years later, the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation officially became PearlPoint Cancer Services with a new logo and a new focus.
"People were not connecting Minnie Pearl with cancer," said president and CEO Susan Hosbach. "We truly felt that making this name change at this time was the right time. We found that niche where there truly is an opportunity to make a difference and now we just want to take it into a broader market."
The group also unveiled a new resource called MyPearlPoint, which connects patients or family members with free information.
"It's written at a 4th-to-6th grade level, and there is no other cancer support organization out there that has medically-vetted information at that level," Hosbach said.
Minnie Pearl's dress still hangs at the nonprofit's west Nashville office, where Hosbach defended the name change as a way to increase the group's reach beyond the area the actress called home.
"She will always be a part of our organization. She is embedded in all of our information," Hosbach said. "We were starting to get calls from people in other states, so the board recognized that we could become a national and eventually, an international organization."
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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