It all began with a popular blog.
Cousins Shane Burcaw and Sarah Burcaw Yunusov had the idea to start a nonprofit while in college. Their dream was inspired by Shane’s “Laughing at My Nightmare” blog where he posted his “funny, absurd, and at times, gut-wrenching” experience living with a severe form of muscular dystrophy.” His message was “no matter what life throws our way, there is always a reason to laugh.”
Sarah describes their family’s experience:
“Shane and I grew up in a family that was always laughing [and] we learned how incredibly powerful humor was when dealing with adversity … His blog was basically just an extension of the mindset instilled in us by our family. It’s about the hilarious and crazy experiences Shane has had living with muscular dystrophy, but more than that, it teaches readers that a positive attitude can help them effectively cope with stress and adversity.”
Bolstered by the positive response to his blog, Shane and Sarah’s nonprofit, Laughing at My Nightmare, Inc. (LAMN), was officially launched ten years ago with a dual mission to “teach children that all people deserve kindness and respect, regardless of their differences, while also providing free equipment to people living with muscular dystrophy.”
I was first drawn to LAMN because I had a cousin with muscular dystrophy. Getting to know Sarah and Shane and seeing their passion and commitment in action, I became a strong advocate, supporter, and mentor.
Besides promoting understanding and acceptance of diversity to students in hundreds of schools, Laughing at My Nightmare, Inc., has given more than $500K in adaptive equipment/assistive technology to those in need. It also launched a COVID-19 Resource Relief program to help members of the disability community deal with the extra burdens imposed by the pandemic.
In honor of Laughing at My Nightmare, Inc.’s 10th Anniversary, this post is dedicated to Shane, Sarah, their families, and all LAMN supporters. Congratulations!
To learn more, check out Shane Burcaw’s books:
- Laughing at My Nightmare
- Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability (written for children and school presentations)
- Strangers Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse (Shane and Hannah are now married).