By Erron S Brady in All, Oral Cancer, Oral Cancer Screening Posted January 4, 2022 Tags Eva Grayzel,Survivor
Eva Grayzel is an oral cancer survivor that is about increasing awareness and the need for oral cancer screening.
Eva Grayzel, a nationally recognized Master Storyteller and performance artist, was diagnosed at age 33 with stage IV oral cancer and given a 15% chance of survival. After regaining her deep vibrant voice, Eva applied her stage skills to communicate the depth of her experience in a unique and powerful way. For over a decade, Eva’s programs have captivated dental professionals worldwide. A champion for early detection, Eva founded the Six-Step Screening™ oral cancer awareness campaign for which she was recognized by the American Academy of Oral Medicine. Eva is the author of two children’s books, ‘Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek’ and ‘Mr. C the Globetrotter,’ in the Talk4Hope Family Book Series.
Part I: Becoming a Storyteller
My life changed at the sound of a bell. I was pursuing a career as an actress in New York City while intercepting boredom with interactive stories for 8-12 year olds at an after-school program. One day, the principal came into the room furious, “Didn’t you hear the bell ring?” she demanded. “This delay has caused quite a traffic jam outside!” Students protested, “Wait! Tell us the rest of the story.” Her mouth dropped. This was unprecedented – students begging to stay after the bell. Within 5 years, ‘Story Theater’ carved out a career for me as a motivational storyteller providing value-rich assembly programs, educational keynotes at Professional Day conferences and Teacher-In-Service programs on interactive storytelling techniques.
Part 2: Transition to Motivational Speaking
A non-healing sore on my tongue was eventually diagnosed as stage IV oral cancer. Tragically ironic for a storyteller! The radical surgery and treatment was devastating but my outcome was extraordinary.
A couple of years later, the ADA (American Dental Association) launched an awareness campaign with the message, ‘There is a painless way to know if this is serious.’ The voicemail I left on their 800 line was succinct, “You need to know my story and I want to help you.” They called back.
In 2003, for the first time, I told my very personal story in a public way, with 9K dentists in the audience at the Annual ADA Conference. My call to action motivated doctors from across the country to request a presentation for their regional dental meetings. My speaking career took off. Patient stories matter.
Part 3: A Calling to Patient Advocacy
As I contemplated my own extraordinary recovery, silence was not an option. I couldn’t stand by and allow what happened to me, happen to others. Dental offices seemed to lack the material to educate patients about oral cancer. Committed to raising awareness, Six-Step Screening was born. More than a personal choice, I feel an obligation to be a part of the revolution, awakening healthcare providers to the urgency of detecting oral cancer in the early stages and educating the general public.
Part 4: Using Storytelling to Build Business
After a keynote presentation at a dental conference, a Henry Schein sales manager confessed, ‘If my team could tell a story like you do, we would be golden.’
I was all in, “Let me give a workshop for your team on finding and crafting the story to build rapport with clients and inspire trust.” Three weeks later, a rookie to the team claimed it was her story that scored the sale of their highest ticket item. Since then, I’m hired to do what I love, what comes naturally to me: craft stories to have a meaningful impact and create a lasting impression.