THE LAUGHH FOUNDATION, INC.
2004 – A group of healthcare folks joined together as a team for a surgical mission trip in Chulucanas, Peru. Deep friendships brought this group together once a year in different locations to participate in a community activity. From these trips, the founding members of LAUGHH emerged.
2007 – Francie Stoner created an organization to help people get education to help them with life skills. She incorporated The LAUGHH Foundation, with LAUGHH as an acronym for “Live Abundantly Using Guided Helping Hands”. She knew that laughing causes the release of endorphins which bolster the immune system. The book The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer points out that when we see good, do good, or receive good, these same endorphins are released. The LAUGHH organization was created to help people LAUGHH and get healthy – psychologically, medically, and physically!
2013 - The group decided to go on another medical mission trip. A charitable organization was needed to help drive this. And so LAUGHH was chosen to be the organization to carry these missions forward. And the first partnership was formed!
2015 – 2019 – Medical mission trips have taken place with about 80 volunteers each year from all over the world. Several partnerships have been formed:
Government officials in Santander, Colombia work with LAUGHH in order to identify the towns/villages that need us to come, assisting with transportation, and welcoming us to their communities.
ACOME is the association for medical students in Colombia. Each year a small group of students join us to learn and to assist us. Their numbers have increased each year, and now an application process is in place to choose the participants. In 2015, six medical students joined us. In 2019, 28 medical students joined us!
Physical therapy – Several local therapists join us and evaluate patients for their needs. They distribute equipment as needed, including wheelchairs, walkers, canes, etc.
Optometry – Local optometry volunteers participate, providing eye exams, eyeglass measurements, and distributing readers to those who need them. When the eyeglasses are ready, these volunteers go back to the towns in order to distribute them to the patients. Sunglasses are also provided to those who are in need.
The Missions Continue
Francie Stoner is trained clinically as a medical technologist, radiology technician, and an EMT. She spent 29 years as an executive at Cerner Corporation, a leading healthcare informatics and healthcare change agent. Francie is the President and Founder of The Laughh Foundation, the CEO and Partner of DifCom Designs LLC, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Kansas University Health Center.
In 2004, her first mission trip to Chulucanas, Peru opened her eyes and her heart to the work of missions. Francie offered LAUGHH to be the organization to carry on the work of clinical missions so that this group could continue the work they wanted to do.
2014 – The first medical mission trip took place in Bucaramanga, Santander, Colombia. Much planning happened prior to this trip, as the group wanted this mission to be “different”. Many standard mission organizations go into a town, apply lots of ‘bandaids’ to medical problems, but time is limited. They are able to help with temporary fixes, but rarely address the cause and the cure. LAUGHH’s program was designed so that diagnosis and treating patients in a clinic situation would take place, letting the patients participate in an educational process to help them understand what their condition is: the cause, the treatment, and what would happen if they didn’t take care of themselves. The program includes diet and nutrition, exercise and ideas for creating healthier communities, even in the poorest of conditions.
The First Mission