Reynoldsburg News

Cancer survivors to celebrate 'Love, Laughter, Light'

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There will be tears, possibly of laughter.

And there will be laughter, but of the artificial kind.

In observance of the 27th annual National Cancer Survivors Day, which falls on Sunday, June 1, Cancer Support Community Central Ohio on the Northwest Side will hold a "Love, Laughter, Light: Celebrate Survivorship" event beginning at noon Thursday, June 5.

The Cancer Support Community Central Ohio offices are located at 1200 Old Henderson Road.

All patients, survivors and caregivers are invited to attend at no charge.

A complimentary light lunch will be provided by Noodles & Co.

Robyn Haines, a digital journalist with WCMH-TV (Channel 4), will be the emcee. She is a cancer survivor, according to the announcement from Valerie Wigton, director of development and communications for Cancer Support Community Central Ohio, which serves residents of Franklin County and all six contiguous counties.

The local observance of National Cancer Survivors Day will include inspirational speakers, the showing of a "hilarious video" produced by survivor Gary Cheses of Gahanna and a brief participatory exercise titled, "Breathing, Laughter and Other Good Things," according to Wigton.

The exercise event will be led by East Side resident Joyce Johnson, a cancer survivor and certified Laughter Yoga instructor.

Johnson, who received her training six years ago as part of an international program, teaches the method of improving breathing and lightening the mood at various locations around Columbus, including at the Breathing Association, which has offices not far from Cancer Support Community Central Ohio.

Laughter Yoga encourages class participants to laugh artificially, according to Johnson.

"The concept of Laughter Yoga is based on a scientific fact that the body cannot differentiate between fake and real laughter," she said. "One gets the same physiological and psychological benefits.

"We just laugh and do silly exercises. We laugh for no reason. Your body has the same results."

Johnson continued to teach Laughter Yoga while being treated for cancer, instructing classes during the weeks she wasn't undergoing chemotherapy.

"It wore me out, but I felt better," she said. "Once you have a good laugh, it creates a happy, positive energy that carries you through the day."

National Cancer Survivors Day is a service of a nonprofit foundation based in Franklin, Tenn.

"Participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive and even inspiring," the annual event's website states.

Reservations to attend "Love, Laughter, Light: Celebrate Survivorship" at Cancer Support Community Central Ohio may be made by calling 614-884-4673 by Monday, June 2.

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