Twist Out Cancer
Twist Out Cancer provides psychosocial support to cancer survivors and their loved ones through creative arts programming. We are a global community that enables anyone touched by cancer to connect, create, support and inspire.
Twist Out Cancer (TOC) was built on the belief that when you share, the world opens up. At the age of 29, Jenna Benn Shersher was diagnosed with grey zone lymphoma—a rare form of cancer which affects less than 300 people in the United States. Midway through treatment, Jenna, a dancer at heart, was isolated due to her compromised immune system. Alone and longing for the days when she could dance freely, she created an online video of herself doing the twist. She asked her friends to join her on her virtual dance floor, and within days, Jenna’s challenge was met by hundreds of videos of thousands of people dancing around the world. She no longer felt alone but instead connected to and supported by a community of twisters. When Jenna completed treatment she knew that she wanted to give back in a meaningful way. She recognized the power of sharing and the importance of creating a support community that caters to the psychosocial needs of those affected by cancer. Thus: Twist Out Cancer was born.
How Do We Twist Out Cancer?
Those touched by cancer are invited to visit twistoutcancer.org and create a profile page describing their “twist on cancer” (lessons learned, fighting strategies and/or a new perspective). Each survivor or caregiver is encouraged to issue a personal challenge to the community that is meaningful to his or her cancer journey. This task must be easily accomplished and documented by supporters using written word, photography or video. As supporters submit their responses, the profile becomes a collection of personalized tributes meant to provide comfort, inspiration, and hope.
Twist in Action
Some examples of challenges include:
“I’m in the midst of chemotherapy and I have lost all my taste buds. I really miss my grandmother’s lasagna. Here is the recipe— gather some friends, host a dinner party, and tell me what it tastes like.”
“I had cancer from the ages of 10–13, and I felt like I was robbed of my childhood. I would like you to spend an afternoon doing something carefree and childlike.”