Paul Stabile and his children. Stabile's wife fought breast cancer for more than 5 years.
A grief group event at Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.
JENISON, Mich. (WZZM) -- It was during a five and a half year battle with breast cancer that Paul Stabile, his late wife Laurie, and their three children faced one of life's most unexpected, and difficult journeys.
Laurie Stabile was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2005, and died from the disease in June 2011.
"The future was scary, and that's what happens to a lot of people," said Paul Stabile. "You get hit with that word [cancer] and your future is totally within doubt, so a lot of what your going through in that moment is fear and indecision."
Fear gave way to a new path leading them to Gilda's Club of Grand Rapids, a local organization at the center of LaughFest.
"Getting together with these peers, and understanding what's all's involved, it makes it easier to live in the moment...to really appreciate what you have," said Stabile.
At Gilda's Club Grand Rapids people with cancer, their families and friends can receive emotional support for dealing with the disease.
Stabile remembered when he was introduced to a group session at the club. "When someone new walks into the group,we make sure they know that hey, we've been down this road, we've walked through that mine field, and what your experiencing is not unique unto you."
"After a while you get really comfortable, you let your guard down a little bit, and that's where some of the funny experiences and funny stories come out between friends," said Stabile.
Humor was a vital mental health tool that Paul and his family used during closed group sessions.
"(Laurie) went to the peer group for those who are in treatment, and honestly, that's where probably the funnies stories come out," added Stabile.
People in the group sessions find the humor in their personal stories -- and the commonality of the stories bond them together.
"That future is no less certain, and no less scary, but having that camaraderie, and talking to people who are going through the same thing makes it easier to appreciate the moment, and stay in the moment," added Stabile.
Stabile will be emceeing "What's Funny About That?" at Gilda's Club on March 16. The event is free and open to the public.