“Life is full of curveballs,” according to local legend Briony Benjamin.
Briony has become known as a passionate change-maker, creative storyteller, producer, videographer, actress, keynote speaker and most recently, an author.
Early in her career she assisted change-maker organisations such as World Wildlife Fund, Get Up and The Climate Council by creating and sharing entertaining content that not only engaged large audiences, and we’re talking in the millions, but also made a significant difference in relation to some of the most challenging issues facing the future of our planet.
From there, Briony’s life took another turn and she found herself living and working in Sydney as Executive Producer of Video at Mamamia, Australia’s largest independent women’s media group. She created countless short clips that launched her as a viral video creator and producer. Briony also featured in several the videos and her mischievous personality ensured viewers were captivated – again, in the millions!
“I should have been on top of the world, but the only thing I ever felt ready for was bed!” says Briony.
At the young age of 31, she was in a seemingly permanent state of feeling sick, utterly exhausted, and “basically feeling crappy all the time.”
She was told she was stressed, she should learn to meditate, get more rest. It was only through the persistence of Briony’s worried parents that she insisted her GP refer her to a specialist. It was then she encountered the greatest curveball of all: stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
It was the shock of my life! Cancer certainly wasn’t on my vision board!
The diagnosis sent Briony down a path of shock, tears, endless medical appointments, IVF, egg harvesting, chemo and nausea, loss of her long, beautiful hair – nothing she expected in her wildest nightmares.
The perpetual storyteller in Briony saw her keeping a video diary of her cancer experience and whilst going through chemo she even made a clip, ‘With and Without Hair’, which she hopes will encourage viewers to listen to their bodies and put their health first.
Once treatment was behind her, and she was on the slow path to wellness, Briony created a short video ‘You Only Get One Life’, and it was no surprise that it quickly went viral leading to a publishing deal.
Her book ‘Life is Tough – But So Are You’ was launched on the Gold Coast last month and has become a huge success. It is a unique story about much more than illness. It is a story of recovery, life lessons, coping in crisis, being kind to yourself, plus great tips on how to support family and friends who have been hit with a curve ball.