Surviving & Portraying Cancer in the Performing Arts

November 16, 2022
Hosted by Michelle Beck

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Brianna Barrett had seen too much loss due to cancer even while a college student. Then she was diagnosed herself with cancer herself in her early 20's. She realized how rare it is to see young adults depicted in the media with cancer and how it feels to them and is working to accurately represent them in the arts. "The long-lasting effects of being a survivor (physically, emotionally, financially) are often-overlooked subjects that are rich with the kind of drama perfectly well suited to theater or film. Not only that, but in not telling these stories we are overlooking a large and growing population of young people who share this experience. When we talk about diversity, and bringing more diverse perspectives into the world of arts and entertainment, there is a conversation to be had about how we depict people with chronic illnesses or people who might be differently abled. I’m not talking about the “look how hard some people have it” angle that is inspiring to people who don’t have to deal with the same problems. I’m talking about the stories we can all relate to: our friends who are hilarious and messy and complicated and face uncertainty and insecurity and occasional moments of levity like everyone does." Brianna will tell us her experiences and how she is working to change how the media and arts portray young cancer patients, even by using comedy to deal with incredibly stressful times.

Breast Friends Cancer Support Network

Wednesday at 9 AM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel

Breast Friends helps women and families deal with the emotional upheaval of cancer. Breast Friends Cancer Support Network is here to remind those dealing with a diagnosis of cancer that they are not alone. We get it. Our show focuses on education, inspiration and hope, by offering useful information to survivors, thrivers, friends and family. While interviewing a variety of guest speakers, including doctors, nutritionists, sex therapists, counselors, comedians and entrepreneurs to name a few, host Michelle Beck asks pertinet questions, highlighting unique perspectives and providing helpful information every week. Breast Friends Cancer Support Network can be heard live every Wednesday at 9 AM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel.

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Michelle Beck

Michelle is a 2-time, 9-year survivor of breast cancer. In 2017, she began volunteering at Breast Friends of Oregon, and in the process found support, encouragement and a tribe of women who understood exactly what it is like to hear the words “you have cancer.” This changed her life forever.

Michelle’s early career was spent as a paralegal and then as a C-Level Executive Assistant for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Organization and details are her jam; everything has its place and “rules” are to be followed. But, after becoming a stay-at-home parent and two breast cancer battles, all her rules went out the window!

Her second cancer journey led Michelle to a new career path at Breast Friends. In early 2019, she was hired as the Patient Programs Assistant where she made herself indispensable. She is now embracing the opportunity to host the Breast Friends Cancer Support Network.

Michelle is a fierce breast cancer advocate. She is working on a book to tell her story and loves to speak to audiences about how to move forward in the face of life’s trials. Her blog, “I Never Liked Pink” allows her the platform to, as she says, “overshare” the things she’s discovered on life’s journey. The good, the bad and the “What the F??” Michelle enjoys exploring with her husband Nate, son Jackson and 2 dogs in their travel trailer She loves reading books, watching movies and is obsessed with true crime and paranormal podcasts.

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