Organizers serious about getting laughs at upcoming comedy benefit

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Laugh4Hope is set for 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Grand Canyon University, 3300 W. Camelback Road in Phoenix. The evening will feature stand-up performances by Bob Stromberg, who co-wrote and was among the original cast of “Triple Espresso;” Bone Hampton (above), who got his comedic start in an impersonation contest with Jamie Foxx; and Carlos Oscar.
Laugh4Hope is set for 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Grand Canyon University, 3300 W. Camelback Road in Phoenix. The evening will feature stand-up performances by Bob Stromberg, who co-wrote and was among the original cast of “Triple Espresso;” Bone Hampton (above), who got his comedic start in an impersonation contest with Jamie Foxx; and Carlos Oscar.

What began as a serious grassroots fundraising effort has turned into a night of laughter and fun that is appropriate for the entire family.

Laugh4Hope is the first in what organizers hope will be an annual family-friendly friendly comedy night that will bring hope to the community through laughter, all the while benefiting Hope Ultrasound Unit and Life Choices Women’s Clinics. Both offer low-cost and no-cost healthcare for those without insurance.

The evening will feature stand-up performances by Bob Stromberg, who co-wrote and was among the original cast of “Triple Espresso;” Bone Hampton, who got his comedic start in an impersonation contest with Jamie Foxx; and Carlos Oscar.

Laugh4Hope

When: 8 p.m., Feb. 7
Where: Grand Canyon University, 3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Cost: $15 or $25
Info: laugh4hopephx.com or (480) 448-5600

Laugh4Hope is set for 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Grand Canyon University, 3300 W. Camelback Road in Phoenix.

HOPE Ultrasound, a mobile unit offering pregnancy tests and ultrasound exams, added a third day outside of the area’s largest abortion facility this month. HOPE continues reaching out to homeless women, some of whom have a history of abuse and are more vulnerable to abortion.

The mobile unit connects them to the right resources such as Life Choices Women’s Clinics. Staff there hopes funds from the comedy event will provide the last momentum needed to open a third location in the northwest Valley.

“They both operate on shoestring budgets. It’s always tough for them. So I kept taking that to adoration,” Bridget Hurley explained about developing the Laugh4Hope concept.

The Phoenix Catholic realized laughter has the ability to bond strangers and offer hope when she attended a separate comedy event.

“We were looking around. We were smiling. We were laughing. I could just feel my spirit opening up,” Hurley said.

All 16 others on the executive committee — including two whose main role was to pray for its success — were excited too. The pieces kept coming together for the wives and mothers between diaper changes, naps and carpooling.

Hurley said the collaboration has also led to a better partnership between Life Choices and the HOPE Ultrasound Unit.

“It’s real health care. They’re offering real hope for clients who walk through their doors,” Hurley said, noting that those who attend the comedy event will also be helping families stay together.

Life Choices saw 7,000 office visits in 2013, a number that has steadily grown over the years. The HOPE Ultrasound Unit gave 240 clients a pregnancy test or ultrasound last year.

Tonya Gruszynski said many of them were performed right outside of the area’s largest abortion facility. She recorded more than 40 lives saved there this year.

“I would like to have it there all seven days,” Gruszynski said of the mobile unit.

She said the unit also needs a new wrap. The original one from 2009 is well past its three-year lifespan and the images could use an update.

“We want to make it more appealing to the women who walk into the abortion clinics,” Gruszynski said.

A dream would be to acquire an additional mobile unit to regularly cover all seven abortion facilities in the county. It would also free up resources to visit more schools. More than 3,000 parents and learned about or toured the HOPE Ultrasound Unit this year at health fairs and other events. Staff and volunteers also talk to students about fetal development, chastity and the dangers of contraception and post-abortive stress syndrome.

Ambria Hammel is the staff writer for The Catholic Sun. She began reporting for the award-winning newspaper in 2006.

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