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From Coma to Comedy:  Inspirational Survivor Brings One-Woman Musical and Keynote Presentation to Diversity and Disability Conference in Honolulu

See PDF press release here.

HuffPost Columnist/Award-Winning Actress & Inspirational Survivor brings one-woman autobiographical musical comedy to the International Pacific Rim Conference on Diversity and Disability on April 26th, 2016.

Amy Oestreicher B&W 2006

Following sold-out runs at theatres nationwide and headlining international conferences, TEDx Speaker and award-winning actress Amy Oestreicher will bring her hit one-woman musical Gutless & Grateful to Honolulu as the keynote presentation at this year’s Pacific Rim Conference on Diversity and Disability on April 25th, 2016. In this inspirational keynote, performer Amy Oestreicher shares a a powerful message that it’s possible to overcome physical and mental health obstacles through interwoven song and dialogue in a primal piece of live storytelling.

After an unexpected blood clot caused her stomach to literally explode at 18 years old, Oestreicher is a survivor of 27 surgeries, a coma, organ failure, six years being unable to eat or drink, and the PTSD that comes from ten years of trauma. She is also a survivor of sexual abuse.

Now a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, speaker for RAINN, writer for The Huffington Post, health advocate, actress, and playwright, Amy eagerly shares the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, performance, art and speaking.

In 2012, she wrote, directed, and starred in a one-woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, touring theatres across the country for four years, and earning rave reviews and accolades since its BroadwayWorld Award-nominated NYC debut. Finding the gifts of a traumatic experience, Amy calls the past ten years a “beautiful detour.”  Determined to help give a voice to survivors, Amy devised a program that combines Broadway theatre with and mental health advocacy and sexual assault awareness, providing hope, help and saving lives.

Amy’s “beautiful detour” inspired her to create the #LoveMyDetour movement, inspiring people to flourish because of, rather than in spite of challenges.  As recipient of the Great Comebacks Award, Amy has spoken to hundreds of WOCN nurses on behalf of ostomates nationwide.  Her story has appeared on the TODAY Show, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, among others.

Now, Gutless & Grateful will be taking a “beautiful detour” to Honolulu on April 25th  at the Pacific Rim Conference on Diversity and Disability. Pac Rim 2016 addresses the question: How do we innovate to bring more people from the margins of society into the center where they can live to their full potential?  In this inspirational, empowering performance, Oestreicher weaves her near death experience and unique personal story with an eclectic set of songs, highlighting the struggles, triumphs, and humor in her life on a musical journey of hope, determination, and perseverance.  A celebration of life through passion and gratitude, “Gutless” can touch everyone from trauma survivors to anyone needing inspirational words of courage, humor, and healing. Amy will perform her autobiographical one-woman musical, talk about the healing process of telling her story, and provide hope, help, resources, and insights.

Nobody expects a detour to happen in life. Its what happens when we think we have things planned and all figured out, and then we’re thrown a curveball. For a long time, my detour felt like a dead-end.  After 27 surgeries and six years unable to eat or drink, I didn’t know where my life was going, anymore. The detour I traveled was a very rough path.”


Amy strived to give others hope.  “When you don’t know where you’re going, its stressful and anxiety-provoking.” We realize we have the power to make choices, which can be equal parts empowering and frightening.  When I was going through my traumas, the biggest thing I needed to know was that I wasn’t alone. I wanted to reach out to a friend, a mentor, or a community of people, just to listen, to show understanding and compassion.”

Sharing means everything to Amy.  “I share to give courage and a sense of belonging to people who are struggling with all kinds of mental health or physical challenges, but also to help build a campus that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place. If we all share our “detours”, we see that our detours do leas somewhere – we just need to hang in long enough to catch the flowers along the way.”

Gutless & Grateful will be presented at the International Pacific Rim Conference on Diversity and Disability at the Hawaii Convention Center on Monday April 25th from 2:30 to 4:30pm.  Register for the conference at and learn more about Amy’s story  




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Amy Oestreicher

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