Blogger Shane Burcaw overcomes adversity with laughter

To help raise awareness about spinal muscular atrophy, Burcaw started the inspirational and informative nonprofit Laughing at My Nightmare.


Fernando Alfonso III


Published Feb 29, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 8:44 pm CDT

The blogger who told people to laugh at his nightmare has gotten his wish—and then some.

Shane Burcaw of Bethlehem, Pa., started the nonprofit Laughing At My Nightmare Inc., an organization dedicated to raising “money to fund research for a cure for muscular dystrophy diseases by promoting positivity.”

Burcaw has spinal muscular atrophy type 2 (SMA2), a debilitating genetic disease that saps a person of almost all their motor skills and shortens his or her life dramatically.

By sharing his story, Burcaw and his 23-year-old cousin Sarah hope to inspire people to “laugh in the face of negativity and live the shit out of life,” said the organizations Facebook page.

“Initially, our primary focus will be selling shirts and wristbands and continuing to develop our Web presence with more videos and a website that we have been working on,” Burcaw told the Daily Dot. “We also want to eventually produce a professional documentary about a group of my friends and I driving from Pennsylvania to California, stopping along the way to meet other people with muscular dystrophy, to see how their lives have been impacted by the disease.”

The first project completed by the organization was a six-and-a-half-minute-long YouTube video that shows people holding up index cards explaining the challenges in their lives. The video has been a huge hit on Burcaw’s Tumblr, Laughing at My Nightmare, where it has collected 4,000 notes in less than two days.

“Totally made me appreciate what I have,” chardeleon commented. “My problems are minute compared to the opportunities that lay in front of me everyday. Thank you Lord!!”

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*First Published: Feb 29, 2012, 2:04 pm CST