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B.C. seniors credit 'laughter yoga' in their enduring love story

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ESQUIMALT, B.C. -

As Sarah Kendall and Gene Furbee look back on their enduring love story, they can’t help but laugh.

“It seemed to fit,” 84-year-old Gene says. He became a "laughter yoga" teacher more than a decade ago. “It‘s what we both needed at that time.”

They discovered through the practice that if you start to laugh deliberately, you will eventually find yourself unable to stop laughing genuinely.

“You let go in that moment,” Gene smiles. “And just let the body take over.”

But letting go physically can be a challenge when you’re carrying around so much emotionally.

“It was an aneurysm, a stroke in my brain,” Sarah says. After she was hospitalized in a coma for months, she was left partially paralyzed. “It was a thoroughly horrible thing.”

The situation often felt hopeless, until the couple happened upon a public "laughter yoga" demonstration and tried to give it a try.

While the positive benefits for immediate for Gene, it was more of a struggle for Sarah.

“I said I will just fake it until I make it,” Sarah smiles. “And then I would [really] start to laugh.”

For more than a decade, whenever they find themselves stuck in a moment, either Gene or Sarah will start laughing, and strive to transform the situation.

The couple were also inspired to stop resisting life’s challenges, and start learning from them.

“You realize this is the way it is,” Gene says with a laugh. “And here I am.”

They also began searching for the potential gift in even the most adverse of moments.

“I decided I wanted to love the most I could in every day,” Sarah smiles.

Which is why Sarah says she’s learned to feel grateful for her stroke, because it’s inspired them both to live a more loving life.

“[Sarah] is a bright light,” Gene smiles before laughing. “She shines!”

And Sarah says Gene is genuinely joyful, before bursting into a genuine laugh. “We love each other!”

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