Francie Stoner is President and Founder of The LAUGHH Foundation. Francie has been deeply involved in a variety of charitable organizations over 50 years. In 2011 she was awarded the Soul of First Hand Award – only the second recipient of this award – for her dedication to changing the lives of children. Also in 2011 she received the University of Kansas School of Health Professions Distinguished Alumni Award for her work in changing healthcare around the world.
She has served on many philanthropic and university boards and developed a number of funds to serve needs of those less fortunate while on those boards. One of those was the KU Women for KU Women Fund – The Elevator Fund – to help KU Seniors and graduate students with one time gifts to overcome an obstacle holding them back from success with only the ask to someday pay it forward when they are able.
In 2007, thinking there was a need for helping people get education that can help them with life skills, she began the process of setting up a foundation to do that. She incorporated The LAUGHH Foundation – with LAUGHH as an acronym for Live Abundantly Using Guided Helping Hands, as when you Laugh, it causes the release of endorphins in the body to boost immune system. And in his book The Power of Intention, Wayne Dyer points out that when we see good, do good or receive good, these same endorphins are released and our immune systems are bolstered. So LAUGHH was created to help people LAUGHH and get healthy – psychologically, medically and physically!
Francie received training clinically as a medical technologist, rad tech and EMT, and spent 29 years as an executive at Cerner Corporation, a leading healthcare informatics and health care change agent. In 2004, Francie went on her first mission trip – a surgical mission to Chulucanas, Peru, with the team that has become the founding members of LAUGHH. The deep friendships that developed meant that this group would gather at least once a year to participate in a community activity. Ten years after that first mission trip, the group decided to take another mission trip together. We needed a charitable organization to help drive this. It was just perfect for LAUGHH to be the organization to carry these missions forward. And the partnership was formed!
“We really wanted to be different from standard mission organizations. One of the biggest problems with medical missions was that they would go into a town and apply lots of ‘bandaids’ to medical problems but don’t have time to treat the causes, so patients may have had a temporary fix, but rarely know how to cure, control or prevent disease, especially chronic conditions,” says Ms. Stoner. “So we set about designing a program that would not only diagnose and treat patients in a clinic situation, but also develop an educational process that would help the patients understand what the condition was, what caused it, how to treat it and what would happen if they didn’t take care of themselves. It would include diet and nutrition, exercise and ideas for creating healthier communities, even in the poorest of conditions! What better way to help people realize better health than with a LAUGHH! We can hardly wait to see what our Guided Helping Hands do as we join together in this great mission!”