Check out Jacqueline Kromash’s Beautiful Twist on Cancer

 

We Keep Twisting E-mail
We love hearing from campers how their Camp Chi experiences impact their lives at home. In this piece, Jacqueline shares just one way this happened for her.

Jacqueline Kromash

ImageI remember meeting Jenna Benn for the first time.  She came to camp last summer on that day that it was crazy cold outside, and all of the SITs were bundled up in blankets and onesie pajamas.  No one, especially me, knew what to expect from a program called “Twist Out Cancer,” but it ended up having an effect on me that was greater than I ever thought possible. Jenna began by telling us her story of combating a rare form of cancer called grey zone lymphoma at the young age of 29, and in a time of sadness and isolation, she turned to dance. Passionate about dance myself, I was intrigued. I learned that Jenna had made a video of herself dancing to the twist and asked the world to join her on the dance floor. Within days she had hundreds of responses coming from all over the world of people dancing to support her.

ImageJenna found that this support helped boost her morale in beating her cancer and ended up leading to the creation of her support organization,Twist Out Cancer. Through TOC, survivors dealing with loneliness have a chance to tell the world what they are passionate about, and then we, the supporters, can respond with our love and support.

So the SITs spent the rest of the day making support videos for other members of the organization.  We did a variety of activities around camp including many art projects, and engaging everyone in the dining hall in a rendition of the Twist. On that day, I learned how much fun supporting others can be.

It was inspiring to say the least. But I decided to take it to the next level and bring the joys of TOC home with me. When school began that fall, I worked to start a club in my high school that would act as a branch of the organization. I met with a wide variety of students after school where I once again relayed Jenna’s story. We watched many survivors’ videos together and also had some days where we worked on our own. Currently, we are in the midst of video editing, and hope to publish our support videos soon.

I never would have guessed that on that cold summer morning, I would find a new way to help people that was so much fun. I think it’s really important to get teens involved in these activities,  because people don’t always realize the positive effects they can have on other people. What I learned from Jenna I will carry with me always.

Jacqueline Kromash spent 7 summers as a camper at Camp Chi. This summer she will be a junior counselor.  Jacqueline attends Whitney Young High School.

Jenna Benn Shersher and Twist Out Cancer will return to Camp Chi this summer as a program for the SITs.

 

Original Source: Camp Chi 

Interested in Becoming a Tiny Twister?

A few weeks ago JCC PresenTense Chicago, in partnership with Sidney N. Shure Kehilla and Birthright Israel Next asked if I would speak at their social innovation night that celebrates social entrepreneurship in Jewish Chicago.

On January 24th from 7-9pm I will be sharing my journey with cancer and discuss how this experience led to my emerging venture Twist Out Cancer. During this discussion I will open up about the mission and objectives of the organization and discuss ways for the community to get involved.

This event is open to JCC PresenTense Chicago fellows and the general public.

What: Social innovation nights showcase young Jewish social innovators who are inspired to fight a societal ill or meet a community need by launching a social enterprise.
When: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012 from 7 to 9pm.
Where: Birthright Israel Next Loft @ 1440 N. Dayton
Cost: $2.48, which will be donated to a different charity each month. There is no need to register in advance.

For Chicago based readers- I look forward to seeing you on January 24th!