From the moment I heard that my mom had a brain tumor and had only eight months to live, I knew it would be impossible for me to continue performing as the Phillie Phanatic. How could I act like a clown while I was dealing with Mom’s mortality? What I didn’t realize was the big green guy would provide me with the power of distracting fun. It gave me the strength to be there for mom and built lasting memories of love that soon replaced my grief after she was gone. It is a lesson that I practice and preach today and continues to help me celebrate good times and survive the bad.
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and I wanted to reflect for a moment and share some really important news for all of you who believe in The Power of Fun.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children in the US. 15,000 families this year will receive the difficult news that one of their children has cancer. Imagine for a moment if this was your family – or maybe you already know what that blow feels like.
I want to introduce to you someone who suffered that diagnosis but used the Power of Fun to survive. Her name is Tara Geraghty and her TEDx Talk “Choosing Fun in the Chaos of Cancer” is a must see. Her message is simple but counter intuitive: cancer and fun can co-exist! Tara says that giving families dealing with cancer permission to giggle and be silly releases stress for everyone because of the “feel good” dopamine that starts to pump through their bodies. Fun distracts us from both physical and emotional pain and nothing is more important for us when the brutality of life visits us.
Take some time to reflect on how fun helped you when it was totally unexpected. Take some time to be grateful for what you have and watch Tara’s TEDx talk to learn how the #poweroffun it can save lives.