Laughter really is good medicine and LaughFest 2017 is serving up a healthy dose of it.
Gilda's Club president, Wendy Wigger, joined the Weekend Morning team to talk about this year's line up of sessions, discussions and other events.
Organizers tell us this year’s LaughteRx series consists of Laughter Yoga drop-in sessions (hosted at Gilda’s Club locations in Grand Rapids and Lowell), free presentations/panel discussions about the health benefits of laughter, and a ticketed event.
Here's a look at what's happening:
Laughter Yoga - Free
Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids: March 12, 3 p.m.; March 16, 10 a.m. March 17, 10 a.m.; March 18, 10 a.m.; and March 19, 3 p.m.
Gilda’s Club Lowell: March 14, 3 p.m.
Jeannette Rizzi, Blindsided, March 18, 5p.m. Dog Story Theater, $10
For the last few years, Jeannette has been performing her solo show Blindsided at comedy clubs, theaters and schools. Emboldened by the suicide of her best friend, the show is about finding hope during seemingly hopeless times. Blindsided showcases Jeannette’s deft character work, her willingness to share all aspects of her life and her unique ability to connect with an audience.
Laughter and Humor in the Treatment of Pain and Serious Illness, March 14th, 10 a.m., Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids
When trying to manage pain and dealing with serious disease, the last thing on your mind might be laughter and humor. But really they can be an aid when trying to cope with chronic pain and serious illness. Join Dr. John Mulder, MD, FAAHPM, CHMD and Dr. David L. Sharp, MD as they talk about pain management and how laughter and humor can be a useful tool to have in your toolbox. Attendees will walk away understanding the benefits and how to integrate humor/laughter when dealing with serious health issues. And it’s always good to laugh with others so you’ll be able to assist family and friends in understanding the value of a little laughter when things might not seem so funny.
The Sexy Chapters of our Lives, March 16th, 1p.m., Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids
A panel of health professionals talking about the side effects of cancer for men and women when it comes to the Sexy chapters of our life. We’ll have two health professionals – Dr. Humphrey’s an expert in men’s health with the focus on urological cancers and Dr. Bitner an expert in women’s health with a focus on gynecological and breast cancers. Uncomfortable giggles, nervous “giddy” laugher and blushing cheeks are welcome!
How the funny things in life enhance physical and spiritual vitality, March 14th, 7p.m. Catholic information Center
Fred Stella takes attendees on an exploration of ways to see the world through the lens of comedy and how some of the greatest philosophers in history saw value in those incidents that make us laugh. The latest science and theology will be used as evidence that chuckles are like vitamins and prayer. Needed daily!
Music and Laughter, Franciscan Life Process Center (Lowell), March 15th.
The Real and Funny Side of Living Life with a Disability presented by Disability Advocates, Grand Rapids Art Museum, March 17, 7p.m.
The night will consist of individuals, who all happen to have disabilities, either perform comedy or telling a personal story that is equally hilarious. At this event, you will hear the good, the bad, and the funny experiences that make us all the same, human!
Humor and Health Panel, The BOB, March 18, 11a.m.
A professor, a health professional and a comedian all walk into a bar. No this isn’t the start of a joke. This is the makeup of the LaughFest Humor & Health Panel. These professionals will be sharing their knowledge on the benefits of humor mentally, emotionally, professionally and culturally. The audience is encouraged to come with questions.
Click here for more information about LaughFest 2017.
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Meredith TerHaar is the Weekend Morning News Anchor and a Multi-Skilled Journalist. Email story ideas to her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter: @MeredithTerHaar