Cancer survivor uses laughter as best prescription for hope
A cancer survivor from Levittown who volunteers at Plainview Hospital uses her comedic craft to create the best medicine for those going through tough times.
Valerie Libasci, 74, uses her humor to lift the spirits of patients and staff members all while providing a dose of compassion.
"People say I have the gift of gab," says Libasci. "I don't know if my sons and husband think it's such a gift, but you know, doing the comedy at the hospital it's like appreciated and it's a great outlet for me."
Libasci's journey to becoming a hospital volunteer began five years ago after she beat cancer.
"I'm actually a cancer survivor from five years from endometrial cancer and I wanted to give back," says Libasci.
She honed her comedic craft by taking a few classes and doing standup comedy at various venues.
Now Libasci's stage is a wing or a waiting room at Plainview Hospital -- providing comedy and comfort to all who need it.
"The hospital can be a scary place for patients, as well as volunteers as well as for visitors, so to have a calming influence on the patients makes a big difference and Valerie has that from when I first met her," says Laurie Kirschner, director of volunteer services at Plainview Hospital.
Even though Libasci doesn't get paid she says she's gotten rich in other ways.
"The greatest reward for me is serving others," says Libasci. "When I can make people laugh, it either relieves their stress or puts a smile on their face or changes their mood in a very stressful time, it gives me a lot of satisfaction."