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Hedda Matza-Haughton uses humor to heal during her "Laugh For The Health Of It" presentation Sunday afternoon. (Tribune-Star/Bob Poynter)


Take Time

Take time to work, it is the price of success.

Take time to think, it is the source of power.

Take time to play, it is the secret of perpetual youth.Take time to read, it is the foundation of wisdom.

Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness.Take time to love and be loved, it is the privilege of the gods.Take time to share, life is too short to be selfish.Take time to laugh, laughter is the music of the soul.

Author unknown



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Read Hedda's article on Laugh For the Health of It

Tribune Star article - June 2004
Cancer survivors laugh way to health

Best stress reducer? Laughter - February 2003
Laughter is a healing, cathartic release, says social worker Hedda Matza-Haughton.

Crain's New York - February 2000
Coach builds her practice on medicinal mirth

2000 Patient Family Conference:
Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation
View the entire PDF from the 2000 Conference
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Cancer survivors laugh way to health

Workshop marks 17th year of National Cancer Survivors Day
By Suzanne Risley/Tribune-Star
June 7, 2004

At first glance, the room full of colorful hats and feather boas didn't appear to be a gathering of cancer survivors.

There were no mopey faces or crying, just the celebration of beating the dreaded disease. They were there to "Laugh for the Health of It" for National Cancer Survivors Day, sponsored by the Illiana Chapter of Oncology Nursing Society.

This is the 17th year of National Cancer Survivors Day, in which more than 700 communities in the United States are expected to take part. It always is staged on the first Sunday in June.

About 40 survivors plus their friends and family attended in Terre Haute, said Jackie Bradfield, chairwoman for the event.

"You've got to put joy into each day," said Hedda Matza-Haughton, who entertained and motivated those in attendance Sunday afternoon in the cafeteria in Honey Creek Middle School.

A social worker and a breast cancer survivor from New York, Matza-Haughton presents her workshop "Laugh for the Health of It" across the country.

Research has proven that laughter helps the health of the body and the mind, she said.

To prove it, she guided participants through a series of interactive games in which they had to communicate with each other, such as role playing.

About an hour into the program Sunday, she asked participants if they felt different than when they initially walked into the room. Responses included happier, crazier, more relaxed and exhilarated. One woman said she was able to forget the pain.

Tom Johnson, 76, has survived multiple bouts with cancer since 1973. Sunday was his first time attending National Cancer Survivors Day and he was glad he made it.

"I feel great. This is joy," he said, as he sat in the front row wearing a hat with a football and bunny ears on it.

There are many benefits to laughter, Matza-Haughton said. It increases circulation, respiratory activity and digestion. It decreases muscle tension and anger, sometimes causing a change in perception, she said.

"When you laugh until you cry, you naturally clean your eyes," she said.

So that people could remember the importance of laughter, she gave survivors her laughter kit, which includes a red clown nose, an affirmation tape with laughter and other fun-inducing items.

In addition to the laughter, the Illiana Chapter of Oncology Nursing Society honored their annual cancer survivor of the year. This year it was Marge Kress, a 34-year survivor.

Suzanne Risley can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or

Story created Jun 07, 2004 - 10:07:40 CDT.

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