Do These Things Go Together?

Written By Robert Hawke
two women laughing so hard that they're near tears during a laughter class
Two women having a great time at A Spoonful of Laughter

Fiddy Cent and Mary Poppins.

Harper and the Liberals.

Cancer and Laughter.

These pairs really shouldn’t go together. But one of these seemingly mismatched pairs goes together quite well, thank you very much. No, it’s not Harper and the Liberals – although that sounds like a great name for a band – the surprising winner is cancer and laughter. 

Clearly, facing a diagnosis of cancer for yourself or a loved one is no laughing matter. In fact, it can be one of life’s greatest challenges. I’m not talking about laughing about having cancer or at people going through this disease. I’m talking about finding laughter and strength in this very challenging time.

I’ve been teaching a class called "A Spoonful of Laughter" for cancer patients for over a year now. The results have been inspiring and it’s been an honour to witness them.

Patients often arrive at a class looking a bit nervous or unsure about what we’ll be doing. Within 10 minutes or so, we’re all doing improv, cracking each other up and remarkably forming bonds and a unique sense of community. As one participant said “I laughed so hard with everyone I had to put my spleen back in.”

I’m always amazed and impressed by how willing everyone is to try something new, to be playful and to laugh in spite of the disease that brought us together. (By the way, I’m a cancer survivor too.) To me, it speaks about how tough we are and how much we can learn from each other in challenging times. So yes, I say cancer and laughter do go together. And it doesn't take coming to the class to find humour. Funny things happen every day.

Has laughter ever helped you in your cancer experience? What funny “cancer” thing has cracked you up? Spread the humour and share it on our Facebook page.