Dave chats with Tiffany Johnson author of the book Brave Enough Now.
Tiffany was one of six survivors of the 1999 Swiss Canyoning disaster in which 21 people lost their lives, 14 of which were Australian. It’s important to note that before the Bali bombings, before the Tsunami and before 9/11 the Swiss Canyoning disaster was the the single largest peacetime tragedy offshore in Australian history.
An Interlaken Canyoning Memorial Service will be held on Saturday 27th July 2019 in Switzerland to mark the 20th anniversary of the tragic canyoning accident and Tiffany and her family will travel to the location to attend and remember.
Tiffany Johnson has released her book “Brave Enough Now” coinciding with the anniversary of the tragedy. The book is a memoir about her experience and subsequent survival which has included living with insulin resistance diabetes as a result of the disaster.
Author and Swiss Canyoning Disaster Survivor Tiffany Johnson Launches Her Debut Book “Brave Enough Now”as Interlaken Prepares for the Twenty-Year Anniversary of the Tragedy“Thunderous water gushed all around me. I surrendered my body as I was swept away by the ravaging floodwaters. I saw my life playing out like a series of snapshots. I knew I couldn’t get to safety and so I let go…” Tiffany Johnson,Author, “Brave Enough Now” (excerpt).
“It is still winter at home. But the golden wattles are coming into bloom. Just as these young men and women were in the flower of their youth. And when we are back in Australia, we will remember how the flowers and the perfume and the pollen of their and our homeland were carried down the river where they died to Lake Brienz in this beautiful country on the far side of the world.” Sir William Deane, Former Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, (excerpt of speech ‘It Is Still Winter At Home’).
Before the Bali Bombings, the Tsunami and 9/11 there was the Swiss Canyoning Disaster – the single largest peacetime tragedy offshore in Australian history. Twenty-one people lost their lives at Saxetenbach Gorge in Interlaken, Switzerland on July 27, 1999 when a sudden, pronounced downpour swelled the mountain stream into a torrent. The raging muddy waters swept three guides and eighteen participants to their death including fourteen young Australians. Tiffany Johnson, was one of six survivors who were in the water when the flood hit who somehow managed to survive that day. Wedged between a boulder and a log, gasping for air, having sustained life changing injuries, she watched as her dead friends floated by.
“After twenty-years, it is time to go back to Switzerland, to the place where my life changed, making me the woman I am today” said Tiffany Johnson, Author and survivor. “I have to be strong and brave. I am strong and brave.Remembering what happened, my friends, the magnitude the disaster had on the world – the day Switzerland held its breath”.
On that fateful day in July canyoneers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Switzerland and Australia were involved in the tragedy. Most of them were young and like Tiffany thrill seekers looking for adventure and fun.Canyoning involves sliding down a rope through Alpine waterfalls, swimming through rapids, and hopping from rock to rock. On this day, as the weather took a turn for the worse, what resulted was a deluge and flood that left Switzerland with the single biggest tragedy in its history. An Interlaken Canyoning Memorial Service will be held on Saturday 27th July 2019 to mark the twentieth anniversary of the tragic canyoning accident and Tiffany and her family will travel to the location to attend and remember.
“I know that it will be incredibly challenging at times but also a significant part of my own healing.” Said Tiffany, ”to share this next step in my journey with my husband and children is overwhelming, but ultimately something I think we need to do.”
“Brave Enough Now” deals with the tragedy, how Tiffany came to find herself there on that day and how it changed her life. As a result of her injuries (including the loss of her pancreas), Tiffany lives with insulin dependent diabetes and is now on a pump that regulates insulin into her blood stream – essentially keeping her alive. The book also includes the moving speech from the then Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir William Deane which is now a part of the NSW HSC curriculum. Titled “It Is Still Winter At Home” the speech details the significant loss to Australia at the time and is a poignant end to a beautiful book.
Published by Independent Ink the book will be released on July 15 and will retail for $29.95 with a book launch eventto be held in September. The book is available online at TiffanyJohnson.com.au and Amazon and is distributed throughIngram Sparks online.The prologue is available to media to publish on the anniversary of the disaster. This is a moving piece outlining the moment Tiffany found herself a part of the Swiss Canyoning Disaster and her life changed forever.
Tiffany Johnson – Author
Tiffany is a survivor of the 1999 Swiss Canyoning Disaster. On July 27th1999, she was swept away in an avalanche of water in the Swiss Canyoning Disaster.The 1999 Swiss Canyoning Disaster stole the lives of 21 young people, including 14 Australians and others from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Africa and
Switzerland. Only six people who were in the water survived. Tiffany is one of them. She was swept away down the Saxetenbach Gorge, watching friends perish before her eyes. The Swiss Canyoning Disaster captured the attention of the media around the globe including the New York Times, the Guardian in the UK, and the BBC.
Tiffany’s journey began in a search for self. She sought her truth unsuccessfully asshe journeyed out of rural Australia to University and tropical resorts, through messy relationships and ultimately overseas to Europe. She came to see that her life was as big as a mountain, only for the world which she was creating to come crashing
down in the 1999 Swiss Canyoning Disaster. Returning home to Australia, back to where her journey began, she is finally brave enough now to share her story.These events have shaped her writing and her perspective on life. She has found her voice and wants to help others find their voice too. Tiffany’s writing has been published in Circle – Diabetes Australia national magazine. She has worked as Artist Director for the cookbook – ‘Tastes that make a difference’ and was the illustrator for the poetry book, ‘Journeys of the Heart’ by D.S. Elliott.
Tiffany is a featured speaker inspiring her audience with her story of resilience, survival and strength, captivating
audiences through humour and honesty, sharing tools she has used to help her overcome trauma. When not writing, you can find Tiffany cooking up a storm in the kitchen with her family all singing to Frank Sinatra or sitting in her garden drinking tea while pondering what inspiration the world will bring for her next creative adventure. Tiffany has settled down with her two children, her ever-so-patient husband and two dogs – who are not as patient.