She is the speaker among the Your Stories podcast host trio because Brenda Brody - connector, producer, performer, survivor and mom - has a lot to say. The award-winning marketing executive and dedicated patient advocate answered our questions so you can get to know more about Brenda and her story.
Favorite Travel destination? Cape Town, South Africa.
Favorite podcasts? Simon Sinek, Michelle Obama, Brene Brown and any breast cancer survivor podcasts I can find.
What book are you currently reading? Unorthodox.
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far? My beautiful daughter Bella, a college sophomore, who I raised as a single, working mom.
Qualities you most admire in others? Compassion, empathy, honesty and humor, humor, humor!
Who are your heroes? My oncologist, Dr. John Wallmark, physician assistant Lisa Schnabel, radiologist Dr. Pouneh Razavi, my breast cancer surgeon Dr. Colette Magnant and my many nurses at the Aquilino Cancer Center. I am so grateful for the empathy and compassion they showed and continue showing me. I am also in awe of how they must stay strong while delivering sometimes tough messages to patients. They saved my life and save lives or extend lives every day. They are true heroes. My warrior BFF, Jane Pesci-Townsend, whom we lost at age 52 after a 6 ½ year battle with stage 4 kidney renal cancer. Thanks to the numerous clinical trials at NIH, we were able to have her for a few extra years. Also, my 93-year-old mom for always telling me that I could do and be anything I set my mind to.
You can invite five people to dinner - who is on your dream guest list? President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bette Midler, John Legend, and Dr. Cliff Hudis.
What will you be talking about? Cancer research, mentoring programs for patients, and mentoring programs for young women in business. And we will conclude the dinner by singing some great show tunes with John and Bette.
What is your signature song? “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten has inspired me since I beat breast cancer. “Cabaret” from the musical is a signature song and several Andrew Sisters tunes bring back great memories of my years as a musical theater performer.
What advice do you give to friends who have been diagnosed with cancer? Have hope. You will be okay. Focus on yourself. Allow yourself to feel all the emotional ups and downs…it is a normal part of the journey. Find a mentor who has gone through your type of cancer! Find a therapist. Get educated and informed about your disease. Trust your gut, your body, and your doctors. Journaling is great therapy. Blogging or emailing is a great way for your village to stay informed without you getting inundated with calls. Last, but not least, drink, drink, drink water during chemo. One must stay hydrated, and it is so hard when you don’t feel well.
How have you changed since surviving cancer? I am grateful for each day. More appreciative of all the love and laughter I can share with my daughter, family, and friends. I am driven to use my story and my voice to help others diagnosed with cancer, suffering from PTSD and those living with the worry of recurrence. Mentoring cancer patients and their families has been a wonderful gift for me. I am also passionate about raising money for cancer research and am grateful to have qualified and participated in a clinical trial. My heart aches to witness how many people I know and love who have died from or are conquering cancer, especially those fighting alone during this global pandemic.