Cancer journeys start with a diagnosis. Usually, that’s a very private moment.
Brianna Barrett’s cancer journey started with her filming her diagnosis.
Barrett was 24 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma during a Christmas 2012 visit home to Portland. Barrett then lived in Los Angeles and was pursuing a career in television writing.
When Barrett’s doctor called that winter, she figured she could flip whatever bad news he had into better news by making a tale out of it. Her idea turned into a series of short videos on YouTube called “Welcome to Cancerland,” where she filmed things like getting a bone marrow biopsy.
“I made it this kind of adventure. I gave myself something to do to keep me busy and keep me interested,” Barrett said. “It was gross and awful, but also I was very interested in making it not that. When you’re committed to making something very funny and very interesting, you can make that out of any experience.”
Barrett, who’s now 31 and lives in Portland with no evidence of cancer left, has returned to cancer storytelling with a play she wrote called “After this Episode,” which debuts at Camas High School on Friday night as the school’s annual fundraiser play for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
There will be a raffle basket fundraiser accompanying the production, and a presentation by Barrett, Camas High School Drama Program Director Sean Kelly and Dr. Kathryn Kolibaba of Compass Oncology.