A Collaboration All Their Own

Lauren Smoke felt a lump in her breast six weeks after she became pregnant with her first child.  Eight weeks into the pregnancy she received a call – the lump was malignant. Lauren, a healthy yoga and music teacher for children, vividly recalls the moment that she realized she had breast cancer. She feared the worst. Losing her baby.

Pregnancy is a period of physical and emotional challenges. For Lauren, pregnancy included surgery and chemotherapy. Lauren received support from a community of women who received breast cancer treatment while pregnant.

Lauren had a son, Nico. He was born at 35 weeks healthy.

After one year and a half of remission, October 2016, Lauren was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer that has spread to the Mediastinal lymph nodes.
Dr. David Turok has been an artist for Brushes with Cancer, a program of Twist Out Cancer that provides psycho-social support to those touched by Cancer to improve the quality of life for Cancer patients, their family and loved ones, through a unique art experience. He more recently joined the board this past July because of his strong belief in Twist Out Cancer’s mission and programs.

Dr. David Turok is dentist and an artist based in Chicago. A few years ago, David was inspired by a piece of art that his niece painted. He decided to use the work as the canvas and backdrop for a meaningful art experience that would involve the whole family. The experiment became the foundation for his highly successful venture called KidCollab, which provides a unique and impactful experience for parents and family members, where the children’s art serves as the canvas for David’s painting. His instincts have proven to be accurate, as he has received numerous requests for artwork is booked out months in advance.

David believes that Brushes has been one of the most rewarding and engaging experiences of his life.

Lauren and David both participated in Brushes with Cancer last year, and connected at an event where David advertised KidCollab. Lauren contacted him to commission a piece after her first battle with cancer; they reconnected after her second diagnosis.

Finishing Lauren’s painting is a priority. Recently, Nico painted the background, moving around the canvas creatively and freely. David and Lauren have a developed a connection throughout the process. He recalls Lauren, “sang the most beautiful version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star you have ever heard.” The painting will be an image of Lauren when she was pregnant with an elephant that has particular meaning to her and her family.

One of David’s favorite projects was created for Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer as a surprise. Jenna was diagnosed with Grey Zone Lymphoma at the age of 29. Therefore, there was an uncertainty regarding her ability to conceive a child. Her daughter is for all intensive purposes a miracle- and a blessing. For the piece, Jenna’s daughter, Noa Pearl, painted the canvas. The painting has an image of Jenna hula hooping, and  holding Noa, which represents the miracle of her birth.

According to Jenna, the piece serves as a constant reminder of how art can not only tell a story but serve as a tremendous catalyst for healing. David’s work hangs proudly in Noa’s room and is a constant reminder of the power of hope.

The connection that David and Lauren made after the Brushes with Cancer event showcases the power of the program and the importance of building community. Brushes with Cancer is not only about providing participants with a unique art experience, it is about building a supportive community that is there for them throughout their journey. Lauren, now facing her second bout with Cancer, has a community behind her that is ready to support her through every step.

To learn more about Brushes with Cancer and supporting our program please check our website for updated program details.

 

Is there a fringe benefit of cancer?

On Friday, September 9th, I had the opportunity to share my story with over 200 cancer survivors, artists and their loved ones at the 5th annual Voices and Visions Art Exhibition at the Art Center Highland Park. Curated by Caren Helene Rudman, this exhibit features art that expresses how cancer can be a metaphor for so many areas of our lives- from facing one’s mortality to survival and strength. The Artwork for those that participated, not only showcased the struggle, but it revealed how art has the ability to empower and heal.

This exhibition was particularly moving as Caren has recently lost her mother after a long battle with breast cancer. Her beautiful family was with us that evening to show support and honor her memory.

Caren reached out to me to ask if I could share what I consider to be “the fringe benefits of cancer.”

Here are the words I shared with those that attended.

In 2010, at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with Grey Zone Lymphoma, a rare blood cancer that affects less than 200 people around the world. During months of treatment and immunosuppression, I was grounded. Grounded by a disease that forced me to face my own mortality. Grounded by a disease that stole so many moments. Grounded by a disease that forced me to live in the shadows, excluded from the world I was so desperate to be a part of.

During the hundreds of hours of  ground-breaking chemotherapy, I was given the privilege of time. This borrowed time became a sacred time. It was an opportunity to take stock of what was really important and examine what it really means to be grounded. What keeps me rooted, centered, and focused, as the world around me unexpectedly shifts and changes? Cancer may have caused irreversible changes, and temporarily shackled me from my former self, but it also provided me with an opportunity to be set free, to reinvent myself, and to find a path full of meaning.

When I was diagnosed with cancer in my late 20’s, I was admittedly searching for meaning and fulfillment. I had dreamed about moving to Israel, a place I felt a deep spiritual, emotional and cultural connection to. I had wondered if I would one day fall in love and find employment in a role that nurtured all parts of me.

In the midst of filling out the application to make aliyah- and to fulfill that dream of living in Israel, I was diagnosed with cancer.

While Cancer may have physically grounded me, preventing me from world travel and exploration, I sought refuge by looking within. I was determined to learn more about  my inner world, my emotional world, and my spiritual world. As my physicality became more severely compromised, I was determined to find meaning in my suffering. My heart and mind were like a sponge waiting to be filled up. Within a few months, I had never felt more plugged in and in tune with my inner compass.

By the time I finished treatment, I had a much clearer sense of my hopes and dreams. I had a acquired a sense of fearlessness, perseverance and determination. By finding and listening to my inner compass, I changed course, seeking out a new path that I was excited to explore and take on.

In May of 2011 I finished 720 hours of chemotherapy. In October of 2011, I founded the nonprofit Twist Out Cancer which focuses on the emotional side of a cancer diagnosis through creative arts programming. We believe wholeheartedly in the fringe benefits of a cancer diagnosis. We call the fringe benefits- our “twist on cancer.” There are plenty of lessons and blessings that can accompany a cancer diagnosis- you just have to be open to experiencing them.

In November of 2011, I met my husband, my soul mate, my everything, who saw beyond the scars, beyond the baggage, beyond the diagnosis, and saw the spirit that lives within me. We were married in Israel, in May of 2013 and we gave birth to our daughter Noa in May of 2015.

My life has evolved, changed and grown exponentially since cancer.

Cancer at the time may have grounded me physically, but it has since rooted me and guided me towards decisions and choices that are fulfilling. Cancer has provided me with meaning, with direction, with purpose. It has shown me that hope, love and light can come from even the darkest of places.

Tonight we celebrate the voices and visions of so many of you here this evening. Thank you for being brave, thank you for being bold, thank you for sharing your experiences with all of us. I believe that when you share- the world opens up. And from sharing comes healing. Tonight is a testament and celebration of just that. Caren- thank you for vision, your voice and your leadership. It is because of you that we continue to share our story- and we continue to remember.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: TWIST OUT CANCER LAUNCHES FOURTH ANNUAL BRUSHES WITH CANCER EVENT, CONNECTING THOSE TOUCHED BY CANCER WITH ARTISTS TO CREATE FOR A CAUSE ON MAY 13, 2016

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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO: ASSIGNMENT EDITORS, COMMUNITY    CALENDARS

Contact: Jenna Benn Shersher , Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer

 jenna@twistoutcancer.org

 TWIST OUT CANCER LAUNCHES FOURTH ANNUAL BRUSHES WITH CANCER EVENT, CONNECTING THOSE TOUCHED BY CANCER WITH ARTISTS TO CREATE FOR A CAUSE ON MAY 13, 2016

February 15, 2016, Chicago, Illinois….On Friday, May 13th, 2016, Twist Out Cancer will host the Fourth Annual Brushes with Cancer Exhibition and Gala at Revel Fulton Market, located at 1215 W. Fulton Market.  Twist Out Cancer is a non-profit charitable organization that offers a platform for survivors, pre-vivers and caregivers of cancer to connect, support each other and heal. The signature event, Brushes with Cancer is a four month program that matches those touched by cancer with artists to create a unique piece of artwork reflected of their journey with cancer.  The artwork will be exhibited and put up for auction at the event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Twist Out Cancer’s mission.

This year the gala will feature speakers Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer and Jonny Imerman, Founder of Imerman Angels. Music will be provided by grammy nominated composer, producer and pianist Sam Barsh, jazz vocalist Jesse Palter, and electric violinist Dr. Draw. DJ John Simmons will be spinning throughout the night.

Starting at 6:00 pm, VIP guests will attend a private reception with the program’s participating artists and subjects. Dinner will be provided by Limelight Catering and Entertaining Company.

Due to the success of Brushes with Cancer over the last four years, the program was able to successfully launch in Ann Arbor and Toronto.  If you are interested in participating in the program in one of our sister cities please contact Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer.

Established in 2011 as a non-profit 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 63,000 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

Date: Friday, May 13, 2016.

Time:  6:00 -12:00 PM

Location:Revel Fulton Market, 1215 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, Illinois.

Tickets:  Tickets are $150 for VIP and $100 for General Admission.  Tickets will be available for purchase online until May 12th at 5:00 pm.

Tickets include open bar, dinner, and the program. To purchase tickets online visit our website.

To learn more about supporting the program, exhibition and gala  please take a look at our sponsorship packages.

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

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Twist Out Cancer- A Retaliation to Shame

On November 19th, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer Jenna Benn Shersher spoke to 150 attendees at the inaugural Brushes with Cancer event in Toronto, Canada.

Below is Jenna’s speech from the event.

It is an honor and a privilege to be here.

Coming back to Canada- in many ways feels like I am coming home. There are many of you in the room tonight that I have known since I was 17 years old, when I made the brave and bold decision to cross that border- and immerse myself in Quebecois culture.

It feel as if I am amongst family tonight- so thank you for the warm welcome.

Nearly 5 years ago, at the age of 29, I was diagnosed with Grey Zone Lymphoma, a blood cancer that affects less than 200 people in world.

In the months that followed my diagnosis, I was given the unique opportunity to bear witness to my own funeral.

I watched those closest to me mourn what seemed like an imminent passing

I saw them try to come to terms with how someone so young, could be taken so soon.

And I started to hear about how my life had in some way made an impact.

Before cancer, I was a 29 year old searching for fulfillment. I had hoped to fall in love, imagined what it would be like to lay roots, and dreamed about one day building a family.

Fighting a rare type of cancer, as a young adult- throws your hopes and dreams into a state of delirium.  As my experiences became distilled into a series of cherished moments- I became keenly aware that I was on borrowed time.

My life as I knew it was on hold.

As I learned to exist in this holding pattern, I also started to notice how young adults with cancer had a unique set of needs that simply were not being met.

As I fought a cancer that was so rare, I had limited options of where I could turn to get the support and assurance that I needed. I wanted to be able to connect with others that had experienced what it was like to face their own mortality. I wanted to be told that I would not only survive, but that I would thrive.

As a young adult, there was no one I could talk to about the catastrophic impact chemotherapy could have on my eggs and ovaries. Not only was cancer killing me, but it was killing my ability to one day have children.

Why was no one talking about this?

As my treatment progressed, and my immune system became further compromised, I found myself increasingly lonely and isolated. I no longer related to the family and friends that had known me for years, but rather sought refuge online amongst a community that I had unknowingly built. It was this community where I found love, support and understanding. It was this community that allowed me to process the gravity of my situation. It was this community that allowed me to eventually heal.

When we refuse to speak about what’s hard- we aren’t being honest. And it is the silence that eventually turns into shame.

I was 29 years old, unsure if I was going to live or die, and I was riddled with shame.

It was a shame that tried to paralyze me, but instead inspired me.

Twist Out Cancer in many ways a battle cry- it is retaliation to that shame.

As I wrote in my blog throughout the many months of treatment, I found that when I shared the world opened up.

I wrote about the hard.

I wrote about the truth.

I wrote about the shame.

And in doing so- I connected with many of you. Old friends and new friends. Friends that have become like family.

 When I finished treatment, I was determined to shed light on the unique set of psychosocial issues and circumstances that face the young adult population fighting cancer. And I was determined to give voice to the voiceless who had been stifled by a cancer diagnosis. It was the quiet, the tendency to retreat, and the shame that really rattled me.  Imagine if more people came forward with their story, if more people came forward with their needs, and if there was a space to harness and celebrate creativity.  We all need an outlet, a safe space to share our twist on cancer. This was the community that I was determined to create and is currently being built right here in Canada.

The launch of the Twist Out Cancer Canadian Chapter is a major milestone. My ability to tiptoe out of the shadows, out of the grey zone- and into the light would never have happened without Dan Hadad. Dan’s passion and drive to share Twist with Canada is why we are all here tonight. It is his vision, his hopes- and his dreams that have brought us here tonight.

I am incredibly indebted to you my friend- you provided me with incredible support and love during a very dark period of time. The  cancer community in Canada is so lucky to have you at the helm, leading us and encouraging us to share our twists on cancer.

The program Brushes with Cancer was born 4 years ago in Chicago, when Anna Swarthout, a fellow grey zone lymphoma survivor that I had mentored put out a challenge asking the community to create a unique piece of artwork not using the shade of grey because that was all that she was seeing. In the midst of chemotherapy, Anna bravely made the call- and the community answered. Within days we had murals painted in Switzerland, sculptures created in Toronto, dances choreographed in harlem. The community was coming together to support Anna.

When Anna shared- the world opened up- and it was up to us to listen.

Brushes with cancer matches those touched by cancer with an artist that is charged with creating a unique piece of artwork reflective of their journey with cancer.

To honor my 5 year cancerversary, I chose to participate for the first time in Brushes with Cancer- as a subject. My artist, Aviad Herman, is an Israeli dancer and designer living in Sweden. As I embarked on this process, I found myself opening up about aspects of my life that I had never spoken about. Aviad and I connected over skype- by email, and on facebook messenger. The thousands of miles and experiences that separated us, became irrelevant. Technology had enabled us to connect in a meaningful way. Unsure of where our conversations would lead, I was admittedly nervous. What did I want to share with him, that others may not know. When you are so public about your experiences with cancer, its hard to figure out what is new or unique. 61/2 months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter named Noa Pearl. Noa is for all intensive purposes a miracle. My husband and I still look at her in awe of how she made it into this world. As I have transitioned into my role of parent- I have found myself much more protective of my online profile, and what I choose to share with the public. Aviad made me feel safe. He found a way to ask me questions that no one else had asked. He showed a genuine interest in understanding my pain, my struggles, my triumphs and my strengths.

It was only when Aviad presented his artwork that I was fully able to understand the time, effort and love he put into this project. He approached Brushes with Cancer not as another artistic venture, but as an opportunity to connect, learn, support and inspire.

Brushes with Cancer creates unexpected intersections, and connections, creating a system of support no matter where you are at in your journey.

I cannot think of a better way to honor where where I have been, and where I currently am. Aviad-  you will always hold a special place in my heart.

I want to thank the incredible host committee, subjects and artists that shared their passion, time, experiences and talents with us- we are so grateful for your participation and we hope this is only the beginning.

Thank you for being here tonight.

Thank you for making yourselves vulnerable.

And thank you for allowing the world to open up.

 

 

 

 

Twist Out Cancer Launches Canadian Chapter with Inaugural Event Brushes with Cancer

On Thursday, November 19th, 150 attendees attended Brushes with Cancer, which served as the official launch ofTwist Out Cancer’s  Canadian Chapter. 22 artists were matched with 22 individuals touched by cancer. This unique program celebrates survivorship and hope. Over a four month period,  individuals touched by cancer (previvors, survivors and caregivers) are paired with talented artists working in a variety of mediums. The subjects share their unique twists on cancer- their stories, feelings and experiences with the artists, which serves as the inspiration for the art. This collaborative process culminates with a celebratory fundraiser showcasing the power of storytelling.

Spearheaded by Dan Hadad, Twist Out Cancer Board Chair, over 60 people directly involved in the program.

A special thank you to April Gibson, Chad Rogers, Chrstina Gelinas, Dan Hadad, Daniel Fricker, Erin Cohen, Jamie Ellerton, Jenna Benn Shersher, Ji. Djennas, Noah Kochman, Paul Tyre, Ryla Braemer, Samantha Banks, Sarina Rehal, Sharon Marcushamer and Shirelle Segal for your passion and commitment to bringing this program to life.

You can view the artwork at the Richmond Gallery  on November 20,21 and 22nd.

To learn more,  checkout the Brushes with Cancer TO program book that features stories the participants stories of strength and creativity.

 

Spotlight on David Turok, Brushes with Cancer Featured Artist

 

I have always felt that my art needs to tell a collaborative story. My typical paintings include collaborations with children in a collection called “#kidcollab”.  Babies and toddlers will finger-paint on a canvas, and with their parents, I will create a painting on top of their an abstract background that tells a story- a deceased grandparent, the artist of the couple’s first dance, etc.  The result is a timeless art piece.

When Jonny Imerman of Imerman’s angels introduced me to Jenna and the Brushes with Cancer event, I knew it would be right up my alley.    I did not however, foresee just how powerful the connection with someone affected by cancer could be.  I was paired with Ashley, and she told me all about her dad, Doug, and what she learned from him before he passed away.  With both my sister and my wife, I have seen how close a father-daughter bond can be.  It seemed so unfair that Ashley’s relationship was cut short.  When Ashley told me that “Piano Man” was the song they had together, it became obvious that this would be the focus of our piece.  I sort of pictured the song as being their first dance at Ashley’s wedding.  The bright colors and energy in the piece represent the way that Ashley told me her father lived his life.  I only hope I did him justice.

The entire experience with the Brushes with Cancer so far has been amazing.   Jenna is extremely organized and helpful.  I am looking forward to attending my first Brushes with Cancer event and look forward to participating for years to come.

-David Turok

Instagram: @drt_art

www.instagram.com/drt_art 

To bid on David’s artwork check out the Brushes with Cancer online auction.

 

PRESS RELEASE:TWIST OUT CANCER LAUNCHES THIRD ANNUAL BRUSHES WITH CANCER EVENT, CONNECTING THOSE TOUCHED BY CANCER WITH ARTISTS TO CREATE FOR A CAUSE ON FEBRUARY 21, 2015.

TWIST LOGO.jpg

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 TO: ASSIGNMENT EDITORS & COMMUNITY CALENDARS

Contact: Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer

 jenna@twistoutcancer.org

TWIST OUT CANCER LAUNCHES THIRD ANNUAL BRUSHES WITH CANCER EVENT, CONNECTING THOSE TOUCHED BY CANCER WITH ARTISTS TO CREATE FOR A CAUSE ON FEBRUARY 21, 2015.

January 12, 2015, Chicago, Illinois….On Saturday, February 21st, 2015, Twist Out Cancer will host the Third Annual Brushes with Cancer Exhibition and Gala at Chez, located at 247 E. Ontario.  Twist Out Cancer is a non-profit charitable organization that offers a platform for survivors, pre-vivers and caregivers of cancer to connect, support each other and heal. The signature event, Brushes with Cancer is a four month program that matches those touched by cancer with artists to create a unique piece of artwork reflected of their journey with cancer.  The artwork will be exhibited and put up for auction at the event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Twist Out Cancer’s mission.

This year the gala will feature Anthony Ponce, NBC5 anchor as the emcee; Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer; Sivan Schondorf, previvor and current Brushes with Cancer participant; Tom McNamara, Brushes with Cancer Host Committee Member;Sumit Mehta, Founder of Empirical Brewery, and Maya-Camille Broussard, Founder of The MCB Project and The MCB Shop.

Starting at 6:30 pm, VIP guests will attend a private reception with the program’s participating artists and subjects. The Plotkin Project will provide live jazz. Dinner will be provided by Limelight Catering, Entertaining Company, Whole Foods, Wishbone Catering and Stan’s Donuts. Dj John Simmons will be spinning throughout the evening.

The event will feature an open bar sponsored by Limelight Catering, Country Road Distributors and Empirical Brewery. At the event Empirical Brewery will be launching the official “Twist Off Cancer Beer” with portions of the proceeds benefiting Twist Out Cancer.

Chicago based Arts Integrator, Culturist and Designer Maya-Camille Broussard, who is known for her one of a kind turbans, will launch the official #TurbanTwist, a line benefiting Twist Out Cancer. Participants will have a chance to purchase from the #TurbanTwist line and donate Turbans to cancer survivors who are currently in treatment. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will go towards furthering Twist Out Cancer’s mission.

Due to the success of Brushes with Cancer over the last three years, the program is growing and and launching in Ann Arbor, Toronto and Tel Aviv. If you are interested in participating in the program in one of our sister cities please contact Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer.

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 63,000 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

Date: Saturday,February 21, 2015.

Time:  6:30 -12:00 PM

Location: Chez  247 E. Ontario, Chicago.

Tickets:  Tickets are $150 for VIP and $100 for General Admission.  Tickets will be available for purchase online until February 20th at 5:00 pm. A limited amount of walk ins will be accommodated. Please note that tickets purchased at the door are $150.

Tickets include open bar, dinner, 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.

Share this announcement via Twitter or Facebook.

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Emma Peck-Block Reflects On Her “Twist-Shop” Experience with Camp Tov


For the past two summers Twist Out Cancer has run “Twist-Shops” (educational workshops) for young adults. This past week I had the privilege of running two of these Twist-Shops with Jenna. The workshops are intended to educate and inform the public about Twist Out Cancer through storytelling.  The first story we ask the young people to tell is  about the word cancer.  We begin with a word association where participants are asked to walk around and write the words that first come to their mind when they hear the word ‘cancer.’ Historically, there are always more negative words than positive words. The words chosen represent stories that reflect pain and suffering. However, there is more to a cancer story than pain and suffering. Throughout the course of our workshop, participants are asked to explore with us a new and different narrative of cancer. They are asked to inspire and support life in the face of or in the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis.

Both Jenna and I shared our experiences with cancer- Jenna as a first hand survivor and myself as the caregiver of a survivor, my mother. Our stories reflected hardship but they also contained the hope that comes from a supportive community. Jenna’s support came from people unknown to her and I think my mother could have benefited from that network especially in the beginning. When we finished telling our stories we shared stories from the website of a woman who was about to lose her hair for the third time during chemo, and another who expressed a need for a renewed spark to create art. On the Twist website the cancer survivors had posed challenges to inspire hope: the Teen Tov campers began to document hair changes, to take a selfie, to do something contradictory and to create colorful art. These students did so with a care, creativity and sensibility that was profound to witness. They responded with pictures of cancer fighting monsters, selfies, hair whipping dances, braids and even a song.  These students were by the impact they could have on a stranger who was or had struggled with or been affected by who had cancer. The young people expressed appreciation for being a part of the survivors’ narratives of hope and strength. To witness these young adults transform before our very eyes was nothing short of remarkable.

If you are interested in bringing a “Twist-Shop” to your community please do not hesitate to be in touch.

 

Brushes with Cancer Continues to Inspire!

We are proud to officially launch the Brushes with Cancer 2014 video!

Thank you Jackson Media for putting this together!

 

Since Brushes with Cancer debuted at Chez over a month ago, we have been overwhelmingly touched by the generosity of the Twist Out Cancer community.  Without solicitation, some of the artists have taken the initiative to launch their own fundraisers to spread further awareness and raise money to further the mission of Twist Out Cancer.

Bowen Kline, a contributing artist from Romeo, Michigan is holding  two fundraisers with 10% of all proceeds going towards Twist Out Cancer. You can meet Bowen and check out his work on  Saturday May 17th from 10-6:00 pm at  Reology. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the artist and support Twist!

Drew Montemayor, a participating artists from Philadelphia, has created a limited edition of prints featuring the artwork he created that was inspired by Leukemia survivor Mike Fraser. Proceeds of the sales will be donated directly to Twist. To learn more about this initiative check out his site!

In addition to these fundraisers, Anna and Ina Deriy surprised Kristin McQueen, a Thyroid Cancer survivor with her own replica of the work they created in her honor!

And finally ,there is the unexpected generosity that comes from complete strangers. Meet Abby Bott. Abby was unable to attend Brushes with Cancer because she was recovering from surgery. An anonymous couple was so moved by her story and the artwork that she inspired, that they secretly purchased her painting and delivered it to her in person this week. Diana Mckee, Abby’s match, is a NY based artist. Diana was so moved by Abby’s strength and resilience, that she stayed up all night to complete her piece! Her efforts show!

 

At twist, we believe that when you share the world opens up.

Your stories-your gestures-your generosity- has the power to inspire and heal.  and your generosity has the power to inspire.

We are so grateful for you.

To learn more about the participating artists, survivors, previvors and caregivers that participated in Brushes with Cancer- please check out our program from the event.

Brushes Program 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Chi Learns the Importance of Providing Support for Cancer Survivors

On Saturday June 27th, I had the privilege of leading an all day TOC workshop for Camp Chi’s 50+ SIT’s ( Counselors in Training).

For the second year in a row, I had the opportunity to learn about the participants connection to cancer, and engage them in a number of meaningful activities and discussions about the critical importance of psych0social support. What became clear early on is that every participant in some way had been affected by the disease. Whether it was a parent, a sibling or a friend, no one was far removed from the severity of the disease.

The group not only was challenged to confront their own associations with cancer but they were encouraged to become invested in a few of our survivor’s stories. They listened to their twists on cancer, they heard their call to action, and they responded in beautiful and creative ways.

A special thank you to Gary Yates and Jamie Lake for believing in the power of our program, and to the incredible creative team spearheaded by Kobi, Camp Chi’s videographer.

To the survivors that courageously shared their stories-and to the Camp Chi SIT’s that responded with empathy and maturity.

We believe that when you share the world opens up. Watch- listen and be inspired.

 

Khitam Masoud- Survivor of Vulvar and Melanoma Cancers

Twist On Cancer- MY TWIST ON CANCER IS LIVE IN THE PRESENT! Living in the past made me DEPRESSED and LIVING in the FUTURE gave me A LOT of ANXIETY!!! We are never promised tomorrow, only today!!!

Call to Action- Figure out how you want to live your life from now on. How will you be colorful and bright?

Camp Chi’s Response:

Ann Feldman- Survivor of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

Twist On Cancer: It is a gift. Lymphoma has got me in touch with what I love most.

Call to Action:  Reclaim ONE action TODAY that you love!

Camp Chi’s Response

Lainie Mara Jones- 5x Cancer Survivor

Twist On Cancer: Let the world hear what you need to share” am a 5 time cancer survivor and I have shared my story with the world and the world has helped me fight the fight! -

Call to Action: Share a story that you have never shared with anyone. It will inspire at least one person and by doing that you have already made a difference.

Camp Chi’s Response

Anna Swarthout- Survivor of Grey Zone Lymphoma

Twist on Cancer: Celebrate the small wins and be grateful for the good days. You’ll be tested but in the end, you’re always stronger than you think. 

Call to Action: Since being diagnosed with Grey Zone Lymphoma, I’ve lost the energy to draw and paint. Create a colorful piece of art of something you love. And please don’t use the color grey!

Camp Chi’s Response

And then there was the twist…..

To learn more about this program please see our recent write up in the JUF News.

Click on the image below to see more images from the big day!

If you are interested in bringing a Twist Out Cancer workshop to your community please email Jenna@twistoutcancer.org