*In the midst of despair, laughter is always the best medicine. That’s why comedian Alex Thomas deserves an honorary PhD—he makes children smile even after they’ve been diagnosed with cancer.
Although comedy pays his bills, Thomas’ heart gets nourished during his routine trips to children’s hospitals. With the help of another smile specialist, the famous Ronald McDonald, Thomas brings toys, arts and crafts, and pure joy to pediatric cancer patients all over Southern California.
According to current medical research, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children 1 to 14 years of age. The National Cancer Institute reports that on average, 1 to 2 children are diagnosed each year for every 10,000 children in the United States.
In 2009, The Alex Thomas Foundation joined the fight against cancer. Partnered with the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House, an organization dedicated to helping serve young cancer victims, the ATF specializes in helping kids cope with their illnesses and treatment.
Thomas’ annual celebrity golf classic is a tool he uses to promote his foundation. This year, despite early morning clouds and light rainfall, he welcomed a star studded group of golfers, including NBA veteran Matt Barnes, NFL legends Jim Brown and Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, as well as comedian and television producer Chris Spencer.
“Over the last five years, several members of my family have been diagnosed with cancer,” Thomas explained with sadness in his eyes. “Finding ways to be happy in the midst of tragedy is something I’m used to. If I can make a child with cancer smile for even just a few minutes, then I’m making a difference. Laughter makes everyone feel better.”
He added: “I just want to give back to my community. Just because these kids suffer from an illness doesn’t mean they should stop living and being happy. I’ve been put on this Earth to make people smile. That’s comedy. That’s who I am.”