Over the last few months we have been digging deep.
Since October 2011, we have grown exponentially and have reached over 40,000 twisters! We have taken stock and reflected on our humble beginnings and are now looking towards the future-and dreaming big. When first conceptualized twist- our goal was to provide psycho-social support to cancer survivors. What we didn’t anticipate was that we would also be addressing the critical and often unspoken needs of caregivers and supporters. We often hear from our community members that when a family member or friend is diagnosed, they struggle with what to do, and what to say. Twist Out Cancer not only provides support for cancer survivors, but it provides a necessary platform for supporters to give back in a meaningful way.
Over the last 23 months we have been listening.
While you shared- the world opened up.
We have watched your twists on cancer, witnessed your creative responses, and have made the conscious decision to grow with you.
Our mission is now more targeted, more inclusive, and more representative of the movement you helped us create.
Below TOC’s updated mission statement, history and organizational overview.
There’s a place for you here.
Twist Out Cancer (TOC) is a support community…with a twist!
Twist Out Cancer aims to harness the power of personal connection and community to support those touched by cancer.
Twist Out Cancer was built on the belief that when you share- the world opens up. At the age of 29, Jenna Benn Shersher was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called grey zone lymphoma which affects less than 300 people in the United States. As a young adult facing a rare cancer, Jenna found herself increasingly isolated and alone. Instead of being victimized by the disease, Jenna made the conscious decision to find meaning in her suffering. Midway through treatment, Jenna, a dancer at heart, was isolated due to her compromised immune system. Longing for the days when she could dance freely, she posted a video of herself twisting alone in her room to Chubby Checker. She asked her friends to join her on her virtual dance floor, and within days, Jenna’s challenge was met by hundreds of videos from thousands of people around the world. Jenna 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.
What We Do
TOC helps individuals touched by cancer to address the unique emotional needs that accompany a cancer diagnosis. TOC provides a forum through which anyone affected by cancer can share thoughts, experiences, stories, and insights, allowing for the exchange of encouragement and wisdom from one community member to another.
Those touched by cancer are invited to create pages that distinguish their “twist” on cancer. This “twist” becomes a collection of videos, posts, songs, pictures, or other media gifted by loved ones and friends. For example, a survivor who loves to cook might ask his community to share recipes, or pictures of special dinners his loved ones have created in his honor. This “twist” becomes a collection of videos, posts, songs, pictures, or other media gifted by loved ones and friends. This is a personalized digital legacy that encourages individuals to share, and the community to give.
TOC, in conjunction with Northwestern University, has created a curriculum for workshops which provide those affected by cancer an opportunity to share their experiences. Survivors engage the community in meaningful discussions and exercises that foster creativity and support.
All of TOC’s community-based programs are directly inspired by content shared on our website. We believe that it takes enormous courage and strength to share your twist on cancer and our programs aim to raise awareness, garner support, and connect those affected with an activated and empathic community.
Twist Out Cancer is a community that celebrates creativity, encourages engagement, and believes in the importance of giving back.