Laugh, Create, Heal

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You know the old adage, “laughter is the best medicine”? Well two amazing tomatoes from Sea Cliff, New York, Barbara Grapstein and Joan Accollo have taken laughter a step further and combined it with art, in a program called “Healing Headbands” that’s helping children with cancer, especially those undergoing chemo therapy. We had a chance to meet with them last week.

Barbara, a certified laughter leader and laugher yoga instructor, and Joan a designer and artist, have brought their talents together and their passion to help others to create this very unique non-profit program, Healing Headbands.  The inspiration for the headbands came about when Barbara was traveling through Central America and saw beautifully colored headbands everywhere, and she started to think about the head coverings children going through chemo often wear.  After extensive research, she and Joan found a special ultra-soft, UV-protective fabric that artwork can be printed on, and the program was born.

Laugh, Create, Heal

Photo from Newsday article

Now Barbara and Joan go into hospitals and other organizations that support children with cancer and their families.  Barbara leads the children through laughing exercises, which inspires and opens up their creativity, and then Joan encourages the children to paint onto poster boards. The artwork is sent to a printer and then processed on deliciously soft UV protected fabric.  The headbands are sown together and about a week later, the children get their very own healing band.  It’s through this positive mindset that healing begins.

Barbara and Joan have brought Healing Headband programs to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, St. Judes Children Research, and Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island.  Next month they’re moving West, when they bring the program to Children’s Hospital of Orange County, in California.

How You Can Help

Laugh, Create, Heal

First, they are looking for volunteers they can train to becoming workshop leaders so they can expand and grow the program. And of course, donations are needed to bring the program to more children.  For just $20 they can provide a child with the workshop experience and a headband made from their artwork, and an additional headband for another child. Visit to learn more and donate.



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