RACE FOR THE CURE

Laughter yoga helps cancer survivor

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Laughing wasn't something Nira Berry could find a reason to do when she was going through breast cancer in 2001.

For a year, the 54-year-old Potomac woman went through chemotherapy and several surgeries, including a double mastectomy with two young children at home.

"It was hard for them and it was hard for me not being able to be there for them,” she says. “It was a tough time."

Through time, Berry found that laughter helped her deal with her physical pain and stress.

She traveled to Switzerland and was certified in laughter yoga.

She started Laughing RX, a Bethesda-based company that uses laughter for healing and leads interactive laughter programs for small groups and corporations.

"It made me feel better,” she says. “Then, I started doing it with groups. It's just really contagious."

It's not just breast cancer survivors who attend Berry's class. People suffering from depression also use it as an outlet.

Berry's outlook on life is forever changed.

"I just threw myself in a laughter, happiness spectrum because I realized that's what life is all about,” Berry says. “I just totally changed my gear in life."

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