Although we may never see it, people are going through battles every day. Most of us fight through an internal war as we try to make it against physical, emotional, mental or spiritual conflicts. For military veteran Brandi L. Benson, she went through a different kind of battle.
A native of Novato, California, Brandi Benson joined the military with hopes of being able to play soccer for her country. For as long as she could remember, Brandi was a sports enthusiast and began playing in varsity basketball and soccer teams at thirteen. Brandi participated in the Olympic Development Program and Amateur Athletic Union sports. She joined the army at the age of 24 and when Brandi completed her basic training, she was stationed in Iraq for three months before she found out she had an unexpected battle to face. Brandi was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing Sarcoma at the vibrant young age of twenty-four.
Ewing Sarcoma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects only 12,000 people. Brandi was taken on a flight to a hospital in Germany, which would propel her toward an internal battle that left her reeling. Upon hearing the diagnosis, Brandi was told that her leg would have to be amputated. The news was heavy and crushing as it took away her dreams of becoming a world-class athlete for the U.S. Army. Brandi was taken to a ward with twelve other people who had different forms of cancer and would be the only one to survive.
During her time in the ward, Brandi battled against hopelessness as outdated treatment methods were used to treat the rare disease. Spirals of negative thinking, self-blame and denial were her companions as she pushed her way through by writing in a journal. There she described her experience for her then-two-year-old nephew to have memories to hold onto.
Brandi Benson endured, determined not to become just another statistic. Through resilience, she was able to walk away with one less muscle in her left leg instead of having her leg amputated. Embracing her new identity as a disfigured, disabled veteran and cancer survivor, Brandi took her journal and published it as a book. Titled “The Enemy Inside Me,” Brandi shares her story as a cancer survivor to become an inspiration and hope to others.
When the book was published, it was well-received, and Brandi found opportunities as a writer. She has shared her stories by writing magazine blogs for Conquer Magazine, Cancer Wellness Magazine, American Cancer Society and many others. Brandi has also become a spokesperson for Bristol Myers Squibb alongside Sterling K. Brown of ABC’s “This is Us.” She has also signed a modeling contract with HOP Models & Talent Agency.
Brandi Benson’s story has inspired thousands of people and she has been actively working to continue inspiring as many people as she can. Her current goal is to become a brand ambassador for The American Society and the Sarcoma Foundation of America. Brandi also hopes to work with brands like Nike and designers like Tommy Hilfiger as a disabled athlete-model.
To learn more about Brandi Benson, you may visit her website.
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