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Conquering cancer with a sense of humor

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Conquering cancer with a sense of humor

Special education aide David McGrath performs stand-up comedy at The Comedy Nest in Montreal, Canada.

Special education aide David McGrath performs stand-up comedy at The Comedy Nest in Montreal, Canada.

Submitted David McGrath

Special education aide David McGrath performs stand-up comedy at The Comedy Nest in Montreal, Canada.

Submitted David McGrath

Submitted David McGrath

Special education aide David McGrath performs stand-up comedy at The Comedy Nest in Montreal, Canada.

Rachel M. White, Staff Writer

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Special education aide David McGrath uses his life experience and comedy to inform important people in his life about surviving cancer and living with Crohn’s Disease.

As a child, McGrath was treated for Crohn’s Disease and a brain tumor, learning lifelong lessons he’d eventually share with not only friends and family but wider audiences. In addition to being a teacher, McGrath is now a comedian and performs stand up shows at Dick Doherty’s and Bull Mansion in Boston and Worcester, MA.  

“The equation is: tragedy plus time equals comedy,” McGrath said. “Even when I was eighteen, I still had my sense of humor, and that’s what got me through Crohn’s and brain cancer.”

Being a comedian, McGrath loved making people laugh, which encouraged him to get more into stand-up comedy. When he tells his story, he incorporates jokes about his experiences.

McGrath’s medical struggles impacted his perception of other obstacles in life.  

“If you’re healthy [after dealing with a serious illness], all the little problems seem very small [now] compared to your health,” McGrath said.  

An significant lesson McGrath learned from these obstacles was to face his fears. McGrath waited years before addressing his symptoms from Crohn’s due to fear of what he might find out; with that came consequences. When he was first having symptoms from his brain tumor, however, he faced his fears and went right to the doctor, which McGrath said saved his life.  

Facing these challenges gave McGrath a broader perspective on what’s truly important in life.

“[It] made me realize how important the people that you have in your life are,” McGrath said. “My family and friends rallied behind me and were one of the reasons I got through.”

McGrath explains how comedians like himself make light of difficult situations after coming to terms with them. This strategy helps internalize a tough situation and grow from it.

McGrath’s friend, English teacher Alex Silva, believes McGrath had a positive impact on his life and helped him view life in a more confident way.

“[McGrath] has a very unique sense of the way things operate, how they operate in life and he’s taken a very positive approach to it,” Silva said.

McGrath explains how staying positive doesn’t mean always being happy, but rather not dwelling on the negatives.

“If you can stay positive through diseases like that, you can stay positive through anything,” McGrath said.

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One Response to “Conquering cancer with a sense of humor”

  1. Barbara White on November 29th, 2018 3:37 pm

    Love it…awesome

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Conquering cancer with a sense of humor