In 2012, during a routine doctor’s visit, at the height of a thriving 20-year Hollywood career and without warning - Kat was diagnosed with a rare, often-fatal form of cancer that would require a dangerous, unprecedented 10-hour surgery and several follow-up procedures. Most surgeons and specialists she met with refused to operate or (just as traumatic) misdiagnosed her illness, sending her in several wrong directions – while the clock wound down on her surviving a surgery with her face, hearing, and VOICE intact. This incredibly rare form of cancer – Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans – is notoriously associated with a high death rate, and was in an unprecedented location: lodged hidden behind her jaw, beneath the brain skull cavity… where several crucial bodily functions and receptors intersect. Kat’s life – and career– came to a terrifying HALT.
In the 11th hour, a top brain surgeon agreed to operate; with no guarantee she would survive the risky surgery – or awaken with the ability to move her face, speak, or look like herself … AGAIN.
KAT would TRULY be left... SPEECHLESS.
Thus began an incredible journey – and through countless battles and hardships that included taking on the healthcare system, medical negligence, and extensive reconstructive surgery and years of healing - Kat has emerged not only as a top artist in The Industry – but as an advocate working to address many of the challenges she had to overcome. Kat has chosen to use her hard-won experience and landmark victories to champion proper treatment and benefits within the health care system, address medical negligence and bullying, and leverage her awe-inspiring journey back to wellness to help educate, enlighten, and inspire. She believes NO ONE should suffer the indignities and traumas of being misled or under-served... with a particular passion for helping further support for juvenile and geriatric patients.
Kat’s unique journey sheds a new, life-alerting light on the intricacies of returning to one’s life – and work – after hardship, loss, pain; living with hidden disabilities and residual traumas; and successfully navigating the medical and healthcare systems.
Recounting her extraordinary journey - through the dark-side of a fatal diagnosis and back - Kat Cressida has not only re-claimed her VOICE -- she is using it to INSPIRE, STRENGTHEN, and ENLIGHTEN audiences from all sectors worldwide. Kat is no longer SPEECHLESS; the passion she brings in sharing her journey and the life-altering tools she acquired thru survival – combined with her unparalleled gift for storytelling - are invaluable, unique assets for anyone, at any point in their own journey forward – be it individuals, organizations or corporations.
KAT believes NO ONE should ever have to face a frightening diagnosis alone… or be mis-diagnosed or fraudulently misled about their prognosis; NO ONE should have to fight for the right to be whole, feel whole, in the wake of an illness or trauma; and everyone deserves – regardless of their particular disability – to earn their livelihood… and thrive. Above all: NO ONE SHOULD BE LEFT FEELING DISEMPOWERED… or SPEECHLESS. Sample topics include:
•IN PLAIN SIGHT - Understanding Hidden Disabilities: Understanding (& Working with) Hidden Disabilities (in all of us)
•Dealing with Life-Changing Trauma and Illness
•Resilience in Face of Set-backs
•Life after loss
•Return to Work Issues
•Health Insurance Reform