BY SUSAN MCTIGUE
HAWORTH, N.J. –– When dealing with cancer, depression, trauma, or other life-changing health challenges, laughter has a rough time breaking through the gloom.
But when Saranne Rothberg found herself battling Stage IV cancer in 1999, she launched the Comedy Cures Foundation from her chemo chair to bring joy, hope, laughter and therapeutic entertainment to other patients and their caregivers. Today Saranne is cancer-free.
Based in Tenafly, Comedy Cures held a fundraiser at the Haworth Country Club on Friday evening, Oct. 27. Fran Ganguzza and general manager Emily Kuo partnered with many local sponsors to offer dinner, casino gambling, a silent auction, vodka and bourbon tastings provided by NewJersey’s Claremont Distillery, and entertainment by comedian Richie Byrne.
“This charity is very near and dear to my heart,” Ganguzza explained. “The work they do each and every day to enrich so many people’s lives is remarkable.”
In Oprah Winfrey’s book “Live Your Best Life,” Rothberg is celebrated as a hero, and Dr. Oz proclaimed her a “medical miracle” on his TV show. She was the first therapeutic humor expert called to Ground Zero after Sept. 11 and has worked with victims’ children. Rothberg produced the first comedy event in the history of the United Nations and has helped over 1 million people at over 1,400 live events to rediscover their funny bones.
As Richie Byrne performed his comedy set, the audience roared with laughter, showing exactly how comedy can replace negativity with a positive outlook. The Comedy Cures team, through its events and digital outreach, partners with dozens of well-known comedians along with many prominent organizations including Ronald McDonald House Charities, Gilda’s Clubs, Paul Newman’s Camps, the American Cancer Society and numerous Fortune 500 companies. Thousands of people each month call the free Comedy Cures Laugh Line at (888) HA-HA-HA-HA (1-888-424-2424) for a daily joke.
To learn more or to contribute to this 501c3 nonprofit organization, visit www.Comedy Cures.org or call (201) 227-8410 in Tenafly.
Photos by Susan McTigue