Cancer didn't get the last laugh.
Survivors of the disease, their family and friends did last week at Cancer Support Community Central Ohio.
The dozens who gathered at the nonprofit organization's local offices on Old Henderson Road to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day did so, as the program for the afternoon was entitled, with "Love, Laughter and Light."
"Today is a treasured celebration of life," Bev Soult, president and chief executive officer of the central Ohio satellite office for the organization, said in welcoming guests.
Even before the celebration began, with Pharrell Williams singing Happy in the background, survivors greeted one another with warmth and understanding.
"You look so nice!"
"How have you been?"
"I feel good, real good," one woman told another after relating that she'd undergone a double mastectomy.
A person is considered a cancer survivor from the moment they are diagnosed until the day he or she dies, Soult said.
An estimated 14 million Americans are considered cancer survivors, she added, and 64 percent of them were initially diagnosed five or more years earlier.
Soult described the "strength and comfort" cancer patients receive from friends and family as "invaluable," and also said that all survivors and their loved ones owe a debt of gratitude to researchers delving into cancer's causes and improved methods of treatment.
"Together we strive for a world where all cancers can be prevented, cured or managed," Soult said.
Gary Cheses of the Gahanna area, a former Cancer Support Community Central Ohio board member who had his own brush with the disease, showed a video he and his daughter, Shelby Cheses, had compiled entitled "Humor Is a Powerful Medicine and You Don't Need a Prescription." It was a compilation of bits from comedy shows and comedians appearing on The Tonight Show, including Bill Cosby, Flip Wilson, Lily Tomlin, Red Skelton and Buddy Hackett.
An extended skit from The Carol Burnett Show with Tim Conway as an inept dentist accidentally injecting himself over and over with Novocain while patient Harvey Korman cracked up had the survivors and their family members laughing out loud.
They also laughed aloud, although not spontaneously, during a demonstration led by Joyce Johnson, a certified Laughter Yoga instructor.
Johnson, who currently leads a program in the exercise at the nearby Breathing Association, will offer "Breathing, Laughter and Other Good Things" at the Cancer Support Community site beginning Aug. 1.
"We've all heard laughter is the best medicine, and there's quite a bit of truth in that," she said.
As the event drew to a close, Valerie Wigton, director of development and communications, invited attendees to participate in the Cancer Experience Registry, a program among all Cancer Support Community affiliates to "help improve the cancer journey for others."
The address for the online registry is www.cancerexperienceregistry.org.