Meet Dana Phipps, Artist, Caregiver and Chicagoland Area Influencer.

An avid artist from the age of three, Dana Phipps works with acrylics to produce beautiful and moving paintings. Though she discovered her passion in her art classes in high school, one of the most integral points in her development as an artist hit when Phipps lost her mother to breast cancer. Through her period of intense grieving, she produced a piece inspired by her mother, which paved her path towards taking part in the Brushes With Cancer program and has since gained incredible social media attention. The empowering and hope giving artwork features a topless woman who is covering her breasts with a pair of pink boxing gloves.

Posted on her personal Instagram, Phipps publicly shares the story of how she honors the memory of her mother.

PHOTO/ @dana_fineart

Due to the popularity of the piece, Phipps created her own event grounded in healing art therapy. Named Knockout, the event invites survivors of breast cancer to pose topless with a pair of boxing gloves covering their breasts, while photographers took their pictures. Participants were able to enjoy food and live entertainment as they supported and honored past, current, and future fighters. The powerful pictures are then combined into a collage to spread awareness and educate people about breast cancer. All proceeds are donated to local hospitals.

The pictures taken of the survivors with their boxing gloves during the photoshoot were

compiled into a larger collage featuring a larger image of a woman with pink boxing


PHOTO/ @dana_fineart

With her heavy involvement in art therapy, Phipps was immediately drawn to Brushes With Cancer after seeing a Facebook friend announce her participation in the event. In the announcement, her friend shared a video capturing her testimony and why she had chosen to be an inspiration for the program, which not only deeply moved Phipps, but also connected her with Twist Out Cancer. With the work she had already been doing with Knockout, she felt a personal calling towards Brushes With Cancer.

“That was my personal art healing therapy, and it got a lot of attention,” Phipps said. “I am such an artsy person, that when I first found Brushes With Cancer, my first thought was, ‘Where do I sign up?’ I instantly knew I needed to be involved. As a visual artist who lost her mom to breast cancer, I knew the significance of an event like this from both sides. I’ve always tried keeping my mom’s memory alive, and art has helped me. Twist Out Cancer was amazing to me in both aspects, and I think it can also be healing for ppl on the opposite side who are artists.”

During the Brushes With Cancer event, Phipps was paired with Danielle Thomas, a survivor of cervical cancer. In her personal testimony, her twin sister Michelle was always present, providing a constant source of support, love, and encouragement. The two were interdependent, working the same job and commuting to and from work together. After forming a relationship with the two women, Phipps was able to see how strong the twins’ bond is, and thus decided to use that bond as the inspiration for her artwork.

“Danielle and Michelle’s connection was so powerful and heartfelt,” Phipps said. “These two have shared the womb, shared one roof, and shared the happiest and darkest times in each other’s lives. Dani’s physical battle with cervical cancer was Michelle’s mental fight too. ‘You fight, I fight…you hurt, I hurt…you cry, I cry’ is the spiritual and emotional bond these twins share. Danielle had a rough road to recovery, but with prayer, strength, courage, and her sister support system…cancer had no chance! Born together, friends forever. This is true twinship.”

Titled “Twinship,” the piece features a silhouette of two women standing back to back. The silhouettes merged together to form the image of one larger woman and the impression of a cervix.

“I was trying to express how this one woman, who had cervical cancer, couldnt have

fought it without her sister’s support,” Phipps said. It showed [Danielle’s] internal fight

couldn’t have been won without her twin.”

PHOTO/ Brushes With Cancer

Phipps is planning on returning to the Brushes With Cancer program, and is brimming with enthusiasm for this year’s program.

“I would tell any artist that it’s definitely an amazing experience to hear someones truth and hear them put it all out on the table,” Phipps said. “It’s very therapeutic for both parties, especially if you’ve been affected by cancer. To hear someone’s story really puts it on a whole new level for you. Hearing Danielle’s story and the authenticity really opened my heart and my mind. I would encourage an artist to at least try it once and meet someone and hear their story. Let it be a healing process. Create art based on the truth, and just watch for a reaction! There’s really no way to describe how it feels, I guarantee you!”

To learn more about Brushes with Cancer, purchase tickets and learn about sponsorship opportunities check out our website.


Written by Joy Hsu, Northwestern University.

Meet Jacqueline Carmody, Brushes with Cancer Artist & Twist Out Cancer Board Member

About Jacqueline Carmody

Jacqueline Carmody is an Art Therapist based at the  Art Therapy Studio Chicago, LTD in Wicker Park. She also works as a freelance artist with the Fulton Street Collective and is currently working from home studio in Roscoe Village.Jacqueline uses art as a platform for communication and self-expression. She was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago and attended Western Michigan University for undergrad. She began studying painting in the Gwen Frostic School of Fine Arts, but quickly realized that the competitive art environment did not feel natural.  Jacqueline knew there was another path to share her artistic skills and sought out an art therapist as a mentor. Jacqueline graduated undergrad with a bachelors in Psychology and BFA in painting. She went directly into graduate school at Adler University to obtain her Master’s in Counseling and Art Therapy.

Jacqueline is currently a registered art therapist and licensed clinical professional counselor. She is working in private practice in the Chicago area where she provides expressive therapy services to individuals, families, and groups. Jacqueline provides a safe space to unleash your creative potential and encourages art making as an effective way to discover solutions to life’s struggles.

Outside of her clinical work, Jacqueline continues to use art making as a form of self-care. She is a member of the Fulton Street Collective, and is creating original oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings from her home studio in Roscoe Village. Jacqueline engages with her work in a relaxed and curious way. Her work reflects her values of being present in the current moment and explores mindfulness based techniques.

Her Involvement with Twist Out Cancer

Jackie first became involved with Twist Out Cancer in 2013. Fresh out of graduate school, she had just moved into the city and was beginning her career as a therapist.  While browsing the internet for different art therapy opportunities and different areas to share her artistic skills, she stumbled upon Twist Out Cancer in a blog post!  She was intrigued by the combination of using art as a form of healing, communicating, and storytelling. Jackie, along with many others, have lost family members and friends to Cancer, and felt a special connection to Twist. She followed her intuition and reached out to the Founder, Jenna Benn Shersher. Jenna was so welcoming and excited to have her jump on board as an artist in the Spring event. She has since participated as in artist in 3 events, and 2017 will be her 4th.

The highlight of being involved with Twist Out Cancer has definitely been the personal connections. She describes having have formed unique relationships with people that she would never have met otherwise. As an artist, she is honored to be paired with such brave and amazing individuals each year. She is excited to meet other members in the community and see all of the beautiful creations at the event on Saturday, September 9th.

Jackie recently held a night of art therapy with current Brushes with Cancer participants at Therapy Studio Chicago in Wicker Park. Be sure to check out her blog on the experience and her artwork on her website.

You can also learn more about Jackie’s involvement with Brushes with Cancer through the Brushes with Cancer impact video.

Press Release: Twist Out Cancer’s Fifth Annual Brushes With Cancer Event To Take Place On September 9






Connecting Those Touched by Cancer with Artists to Create for a Cause on September 9, 2017


July 17, 2017, Chicago – Twist Out Cancer, an international non-profit charitable organization that provides psychosocial support to individuals touched by cancer through creative arts programming, announced today that tickets are now on sale for its fifth annual Brushes with Cancer Exhibition and Gala.  It will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at Revel Fulton Market, located at 1215 W. Fulton Market.  Brushes with Cancer is a six month program that matches those touched by cancer with artists to create a unique piece of artwork that reflects on their journey with cancer.  Over 100 artists and inspirations will showcase their stories and works of art at this year’s art exhibition and gala.  Attendees will have a chance to view and bid on over 50 unique works of art that were created by an artist as a tribute to their inspiration’s journey with cancer.  Each piece of art will be exhibited and auctioned at the event with proceeds helping to further Twist Out Cancer’s mission to support cancer survivors and their loved ones.  Over 700 attendees are expected to attend.

“After surviving Grey Zone Lymphoma in 2011, I saw firsthand how young adults with cancer have a unique set of needs that are not being addressed or talked about.  I found that one way of fulfilling this need is through creative arts, which could be used as a mechanism for coping and healing,” said Jenna Benn Shersher, the founder and executive director of Twist Out Cancer.  “Twist Out Cancer was founded on the principle that when you share, the world opens up.  Since our inception we have impacted more than 100,000 people through our online platforms and community wide programs including Brushes with Cancer.”

This year’s gala will feature remarks from Jenna Benn Shersher and Jaymee Sire, a former anchor at ESPN and current food blogger who has personally been touched by cancer.  The event will also feature a live performance by composer and filmmaker Kobi Swissa who will be playing music from the Brushes with Cancer soundtrack and DJ John Simmons who will be spinning music throughout the evening.

“Twist Out Cancer uses art as a form of healing, communicating, and storytelling,” said artist Jacqueline Carmody who has been involved with Twist out Cancer since 2013.  “I have been so honored to be paired with such brave and amazing individuals each year.  Every experience has been unique and words will never be able to express the power of this event.”

VIP tickets are available for $175 and general admission tickets are available for $125.  VIP guests will attend a private reception one hour prior to the event with the program’s participating artists and inspirations.  Dinner will be provided for all guests by Limelight Catering, Entertaining Company, and The Fat Shallot.  All tickets also include access to an open bar.  Tickets will be available for purchase online until September 8 at 5 p.m. at:

Due to the success of Brushes with Cancer over the last five years, the program has successfully launched in Ann Arbor and Toronto.  In 2018, the program will be implemented in Tel Aviv, Montreal and Philadelphia.  If you are interested in participating in the program in one of the sister cities please contact Jenna Benn Shersher at

Established in 2011 as a non-profit organization, Twist Out Cancer offers the platform, tools and community – both online and offline – for anyone touched by cancer to feel connected to a community, and for many to take action.  Since its inception, Twist Out Cancer has touched over 100,000 people through its programs and events.  A labor of love, Twist Out Cancer is a volunteer-led organization boasting a network of over 200 active volunteers serving as ambassadors in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Montreal.

Sponsorships for the 2017 Brushes with Cancer event are available here.




For media inquiries, please contact Joshua Taustein at


Brushes with Cancer Chicago 2016 Spotlight: Bowen Kline, Artist and Twist Out Cancer Ambassador

Photo Credit JeffSusan Cancelosi

MEET Bowen Kline, an artist and husband who lives in Romeo, Michigan, and has been involved with Brushes with Cancer for 3 years. Bowen describes himself as a “self-taught, fine painter” who has been doing gallery work for over 15 years. Bowen attributes his artistic influences to his environment growing up on the border of Southfield and Detroit, and his constant exposure to a diverse group of people. “I grew up in the arts,” he explains. “My exposure came from my parents and my upbringing. My dad always encouraged us to be creative and he supported us in that. He’s also my biggest critic too, always pushing me to do better, which is good. I have been surrounded by art and culture my whole life.”

This will be Bowen’s fourth time creating art for a Brushes with Cancer event. He was first approached by Jenna to participate in an event with the Chicago branch of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), and soon after he was invited to participate in Brushes with Cancer Chicago as well. “Working with Jenna on the ADL artworks project sparked a conversation with them about doing Brushes with Cancer. As an artist, one of the things that I enjoy so much about the Brushes program is that it is such a wonderful opportunity to see someone on an emotional level, to be able to connect with them in a different way. As a figurative painter, that is very important to me in my art.” says Bowen of his involvement with the program. Bowen says that he paints something every day, but being an integral participant in the Brushes program holds a special place in his heart, and not just due to the good cause behind it. “The biggest benefit is the overall connection with the individual that I am matched with,” says Kline. “It makes me feel like my art has a purpose, a different type of purpose than I normally may focus on. Art is a very selfish thing, usually, you know. It is always about the artist’s viewpoint on anything, and this program forces me to create art that is about the subject and their viewpoint and what they have experienced. It’s all about the survivor, not me. My art then becomes more of an act of giving. It takes me outside of myself. Everyone seeks a purpose, I think, especially artists in their work. That is why this is such an important event to be involved with as an artist and I would encourage any artist to be a part of this.”

Brushes with Cancer has been pairing artists with those touched by cancer for three years now in three cities with plans to expand even more. Each participant has a unique experience and many have built long-term friendships from the pairing. But the most important result of the program is the experience from the connection that occurs. As the subject tells their story, and the artist reflects it, both are able to have a positive growing experience. Bowen adds, “What I would tell people is that it is an outstanding opportunity to further your creative side as an artist and push yourself in a way where you can really learn something different. Brushes has taught me to actually love every moment of your life. Listening to the stories of how people have beat cancer or are living with it… [he pauses]… it is incredibly inspiring. Being a part of this community has really helped me come out of my shell and shown me that there are some good things in the world. Some really amazing things in this world.”

Twist Out Cancer Presents: Brushes with Cancer Kick Off- Pairing Artists with Survivors to Create for a Cause



CONTACT:  Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director


TO: Assignment Editors, Planning Editors,   

Community Calendars                                             


Twist Out Cancer Presents: Brushes with Cancer Kick Off- Pairing Artists with Survivors to Create for a Cause

Chicago, IL, October 29, 2013…. On Thursday, November 6, 2014, Twist Out Cancer will launch the first ever Brushes with Cancer Kick Off- Pairing Artists with Survivors to Create for a Cause.”  The fundraiser and info-session will feature Brushes with Cancer alumni, notable artists, cancer survivors, pre-vivors and caregivers.

The Brushes with Cancer Kick Off will take place at the Matthew Rachman Gallery, located in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village.  The evening will include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres generously provided by Whole Foods and Puzzle Israel, World Jazz provided by the Plotkin Project, and a keynote address from Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer.  Additional speeches will be made by Hector Nunez, cancer survivor and COO of Imerman Angels, Melissa Garvey, thyroid cancer survivor and Brushes with Cancer alumni, and Bowen Kline and Douglas Jones, Michigan based artists and supporters of Twist Out Cancer.

Brushes with Cancer, is a four-month program that pairs artists with those touched by cancer to create a unique piece of artwork that is reflective of their journey. Each artists’ piece is officially revealed and auctioned online and in person at the Brushes with Cancer Benefit. On February 21st, the Brushes with Cancer Gala and Exhibition will take place at Chez  located at 247 E. Ontario, Chicago. Last year, the event sold out three weeks in advance and attracted over 500 attendees.

Due to the success of Brushes with Cancer, in 2015 and 2016, the program is growing and launching in Ann Arbor, Toronto and Tel Aviv. Survivors, pre-vivors, caregivers and artists are strongly encouraged to apply to participate in one of our programs. Applications are due November 10, 2014.

Established in 2011 as a nonprofit organization, Twist Out Cancer (TOC) offers the platform, tools and community – both online and offline – for anyone touched by cancer to feel connected to a community, and for many to take action. Since its inception, TOC has touched over 53,000 through its programs and events. A labor of love, TOC is completely volunteer-led, boasting a network of over 200 active volunteers serving as ambassadors in Chicago, Detroit, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Montreal.

What: Brushes with Cancer Kick-Off

Date: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Time:  6:00 -10:00 PM

Location: Matthew Rachman Gallery, 1659 W. Chicago, Ave, Chicago, IL, 60622.

Tickets:  Tickets are $30.00 in advance and $40.00 at the door.  Student tickets are available for $20.00 with a valid student ID. You must be 21 to enter.

All tickets include appetizers, drinks and the program.   To purchase tickets online visit our website.

For media inquiries please contact Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director  of Twist Out Cancer.