Laughter is the best medicine for local stand-up comedian with leukemia

Posted on March 9, 2020 by Staff reports

Emily Dillon has always used her sense of humor to cope with stressful situations. When she was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago, she turned to comedy to help her process the life-changing news.

“After sharing the news with my family and friends, I went straight to an open mic night,” said Dillon, a local stand-up comedian. “Sharing laughs was the only way I could cope with it. I had to laugh or I would have cried.”

She has a rare form of leukemia that causes her bone marrow to make too many white blood cells. She will have to take medication for the rest of her life. Her medical care is followed by Dr. Alex Brown, a medical oncologist at Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Center in Pensacola.

Dillon said her cancer diagnosis taught her to live with less fear. She founded the Stingers Comedy group and started performing “Killing Cancer with Comedy ‒ A Night of Hilarity and Hope.”

Her passion for comedy has also helped her to fulfill a purpose. Proceeds from the shows are donated to Rally Pensacola’s Family Emergency Fund and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Dr. Brown said Dillon’s ability to find humor in a life-altering diagnosis is a testament to her resilience.

“It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine,” he said. “Research has shown that laughter can ease stress and improve one’s outlook on life. I look forward to Emily’s visits because she puts a smile on my face.”

Dillon said her diagnosis has been a blessing in many ways. “I’ve met so many incredible people, like Dr. Brown.”

On March 14, Dr. Brown will be in the front row supporting Dillon and the Stingers Comedy group when they perform at the Pensacola Little Theatre. For ticket information, visit