Heather Keller Brings CHEMO BARBIE to United Solo
In 2016, Heather Keller's world was rocked by a breast cancer diagnosis. Overnight, she went from being a healthy, vegan runner to a cancer patient and since then her life has been and continues to be an inspiring journey of growth filled with love, friendships, disappointments, betrayals and yes, even some humor.
Keller shares this experience in her solo show Chemo Barbie: My Lady Bits' Journey Through Breast Cancer, which made its world premiere June 2017, 3 months after her last infusion, as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Since then it's toured Internationally for two years, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is currently touring as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Chemo Barbie is an inspiring story told with painful honesty, comedic charm and tear-jerking dignity that takes you into the mind of a cancer patient from diagnosis to treatment. Keller shows what a patient goes through from doctor meetings, testing, treatments and people's reactions around them. It shows the strength and support that develops with some friends and family while others shy away or leave altogether. Crafted from Heather's hand written journals, videos, texts, emails, storytelling and an online chronicling of her experience, Chemo Barbie is a show spoken and performed from the heart that tells the gritty, funny, heartbreaking and uplifting journey of a young woman conquering cancer while living life as normal as possible.
"When I was diagnosed, I had insane decisions to make, difficult things to choose," Keller said. "I survived and I'm trying to do something positive from a negative."
Since its debut, which earned a Fringe Encore Award, Keller has added some new material, including a section on her most recent scare with possible metastatic breast cancer and serving as foster parents with her husband. Offering perspective and inspiring others is ultimately Keller's goal with the show. The idea for a solo show came from the journals she kept during her treatment and a private online journal she shared with family and friends. Keller also recorded video of certain key moments in the process and posted it on the YouTube channel "Keep Abreast with Heather."
Trained as a sketch writer at Upright Citizens Brigade and the Groundlings as well as an accomplished actress, Keller later performed a couple monologue's from her experience at WeSpark Cancer Support Centre, as well as other places. Soon, others were asking to hear more of her experience. Working with her director Jessica Lynn Johnson, Keller started to experience a catharsis in putting a show together based on her experience and a joy in the knowledge that it could help others.
"I'm so proud and excited to have been invited to United Solo's 10th Anniversary year. It's an incredibly prestigious festival with so much talent. In Edinburgh, Chemo Barbie, was selected by The List, as ONE OF THE TOP 10 BODY POSITIVE SHOWS TO SEE. The show covers issues that young female cancer patients face such as body image, mortality, fertility, relationships, mental health, and living with, beyond, through breast cancer. Keller said, "It's through years of research, and other women who have gone before me, that I'm alive today and able to tell this story. It's very humbling."