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SoulPancake released two more videos for the series My Last Days, and both mention the importance of laughter.

“Dying sucks. Cancer sucks, but you make the best of it,” says Juli. Her “best” is photography. Juli has five children and stage four breast cancer. For her, photography is an escape; it’s a time when she can live in the moment instead of dreading what’s to come. In the video, she says, “I can capture moments the kids will always have.” These photos, these images are something she’s leaving behind for her kids. They can look at their memories and know she was there.


She is so positive and inspires many patients at the hospital she goes to. Her family tries to stay busy and finds support in their small numbers. By sharing her story with SoulPancake, she is touching the lives of people all over the world. Even if they don’t contact her, she has inspired hundreds. She gives sage advice:

  • You have to be positive
  • You have to laugh every day
  • You have to show everybody you love them
  • You have to make jokes about it

Although Juli is talking about her stage four breast cancer, this advice can pertain to anything. Juli makes the most out of her life. She finds ways to stay happy.

Shane Burcaw has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and has spent his whole life relying on other people to do simple things. His muscles are slowly deteriorating, “except his penis,” he jokes. Like Juli, he faces his disease head-on and stays positive, jokes about it, because at the end of the day he knows what’s coming. “You have to laugh at yourself,” Shane says. “I’ve heard before laughing is a coping mechanism.” Is it really that easy to find a way to laugh about your life?

He keeps a blog to share his story with others called laughingatmynightmare.1000notes.com. His blog documents how his life is different because of his disability, but how he is still the same. At the time of the video he had over 170,000 followers. He’s provided his contact information for anyone to reach him and has created LAMN (Laughing at my Nightmare), INC. a non-profit for muscular dystrophy and helping people find ways to laugh at their life.

I want to know if this applies to everyone struggling with a mental/physical illnesses. In all six videos SoulPancake has released, everyone mentions at some point the importance of staying positive and laughing, but it’s hard to stay positive. Maybe that’s why I find this so inspirational. It’s hard to convince your brain to think one thing when it’s already focusing on something negative, especially for those with mental disorders.

One of my closest friends struggles with an eating disorder. Like Shane, she also has a blog. She is so honest with her readers, and has inspired many people. She talks about her outpatient treatment, and isn’t afraid to share her experience from inpatient. What she learns is applicable to many people, which is why she has such a strong following. She admits how hard it is sometimes to stay positive, but the community she has created is one that keeps her as positive as she is.  I could be wrong, but it seems like her readers inspire her to kick her habit. There are thousands of people who read her blog who have never met her but they contact her asking for advice, sharing their stories, and words of inspiration. She was the one who inspired me to create Chasing Dream Balloons. I can’t thank her enough because she keeps me going. There have been so many nights where I’ve been sad, and down on myself for one thing or another, and she is there. She has been there sharing words of wisdom from treatment, advice similar to Juli’s. Her ultimate goal is always to get me to laugh, to get me to stay positive.

I haven’t met Shane or Juli, or any of the other four people from the My Last Days series, but their stories mean a lot to me. I know I’m not the only one. For those out their reading, what is your story? How do you stay positive?

 Keep Chasing!