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'As good as a cure:' SickBoy Podcast introduces the lighter side of terminal illness

Jeremie Saunders is dying.

And so are you, but you shouldn’t let it get you down.

“No matter if you’re sick or not, we’re all dying. And if you just take a moment to actually sit with that, it could have some really profound effects on how you live your life,” Saunders said Thursday.

The 27-year-old actor and yogi is sick. He has cystic fibrosis: a fatal genetic disease with no cure that affects the lungs, intestines and immune system.

As a form of therapy, Saunders and two friends, Taylor MacGillivary and Brian Stever, started Sickboy Podcast.

The concept: “sick people talk about what it’s like to be sick,” but in a comedic way, not a “heavy” one. Each episode will feature a different guest — someone else like Saunders suffering from a serious disease.

Saunders said the conversations can get “introspective” sometimes, but the three co-hosts find ways to keep it light.

“It’s sort of like a roller coaster – an up and down – of emotions when you’re listening to the podcast,” he said.

Some people may find their sense of humour off-putting, Saunders warned, “due to joking about things like fatal illnesses like cystic fibrosis or brain cancer.”

“But as someone who lives with a chronic and fatal disease, those moments of laughter are… it’s like a cure. It’s as good as a cure,” he said.

Saunders — whose parents were told he wouldn’t make it to 25 — wasn’t always so open about his illness, at least not to strangers, because he didn't want his illness to define him.

“I wanted people to know me for me, and then later on, find out that I’m dealing with this illness, but I’m starting to realize now that I have this story that I can share that is actually really inspirational.”

“I feel like I have this obligation to share that, not only to inspire and help other people who are ill, but also people who are healthy.”

The trio has three episodes already finished, and guests are lined up for fourth and fifth episodes.

After launching their website and a blog post Wednesday, they’ve had potential guests from all over the world emailing, hoping to be on the podcast.

Saunders said he’s “overwhelmed,” yet grateful for the outpouring of support he’s had on social media since the website launched, especially considering they’ve yet to release episode one.

He said the podcast is a passion project, and it’s been a joy to create.

“I hope that whoever does listen to it can find just as much, if not more joy from listening to it.”

The first episode will be up on iTunes on Sept. 17, right after a launch party at a yet-to-be-decided location.

"We don’t want it to be heavy. We don’t want it to be a big downer. We want to make light of the situation – to find levity in it all," Saunders said.

Sickboy Podcast will be available on iTunes after a launch party Sept. 17.

Follow @SickBoyPodcast on Twitter for updates.

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