Grand Rapids—Gilda's Laughfest is in its first weekend after kicking off with a world record setting rubber chicken toss last Thursday. While the weekend's adult entertainment features headline comedian Bill Cosby, Super Saturday was a day for the kids.
Kids descended on GRCC's Ford Fieldhouse for a day of laughing, crafts, mechanical bull riding and bounce house fun.
"Once a kid finds a bounce house it's kind of hard to get him out of that," said Justin Weeks, watching his son play.
As a father, Weeks is happy to see his 6-year-old son enjoying life again after cancer recently took his grandmother's life. The support given from members of Gilda's Club is a big reason for his son's smiles.
"Oh, it's incredible to have a whole organization that really cares. It makes everything else really easy," said Weeks.
It's not always obvious but children are just as affected by cancer as adults.
"They understand what's happening in their family. They might not have the words, they might not have the language or the self awareness, but they are impacted," said Louise Edison, Gilda's Club Development Director.
A change in a child's behavior can be an indicator they're having a hard time coping. Gilda's doesn't just help children deal with emotions, it also provides tools to help them become part of the family support system.
"They help my family help me get through cancer," said Michelle Jacobson, a breast cancer survivor.
Jacobson and her family found their way into Gilda's loving embrace during her bout with breast cancer.
"... Yes it's cancer, yes you are going to lose your hair but yes you're going to make it through," said Jacobson.
Having a let-loose day is just what her family needed, as well as a day to see others fighting to defeat the disease.
"It's just good to break out and dance. It's just good to be around other people that are laughing and having a good time and see the spark in their eyes."
Laughfest runs through March 20th. There's another Super Saturday event on the 19th from 9am to 2 pm at GRCC's Ford Fieldhouse.