Published in (201) Magazine and NorthJersey.com on October 19, 2021
By Joram Mushinske
Saranne Rothberg believes that “laughter has a way of connecting souls." So when she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 1999, she immediately ran to the video store to rent some comedies to help her laugh and find peace.
She also used this as motivation to start The ComedyCures Foundation, a nonprofit organization that brings joy, hope, laughter, and therapeutic edutainment to patients, caregivers and others who need it.
"I try to make the world a better place, one laugh at a time,” she says. Thankfully, laughter is contagious, and ComedyCures has lifted the spirits of more than one million people through live and digital events worldwide. We recently spoke caught up with Rothberg, who was the cover model for the October, 2004, issue of (201) magazine, to hear more about her research study, working with the United Nations and being Oprah's hero.
THE 2021 LAUGHTER SUMMIT
"In response to the pandemic, isolation and depression sweeping the globe, I decided to create and launch the five-day 2021 Laughter Summit, which featured 24 hilarious comedians and fun live sessions from 29 compelling thought leaders in the areas of joy, wellness, creativity, comedy, laughter, leadership, relationships, research, caregiving, diversity, workplace, self-care and personal productivity. Thanks to a generous contribution by The Laughing Cow, I was able to greatly reduce the ticket price and give away free admission to patients, caregivers and those experiencing economic hardship. The 2021 Laughter Summit was filmed live in Tenafly, and the video recordings will be available at ComedyCures.org."
MINDSET & METASTATIC CANCER RESEARCH STUDY
"Even with an early stage IV cancer diagnosis, I stayed mentally and physically strong after three surgeries, 44 radiation treatments and two years of chemo. At my first chemo treatment, I threw a 'Chemo Comedy Party' for everyone at the facility. As word got out, I was asked to teach my inventive wellness strategies at leading cancer organizations and hospitals. I created this research study to determine the effect of relaxation and stress management strategies, comedy and a digital wellness platform (using artificial intelligence) on the perceived stress of women living with advanced cancer. The project is based out of Bergen County in collaboration with The ComedyCures Foundation, Neolth, and The Willow Foundation, with study participants from around the world."