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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

TWIST OUT CANCER’S FIFTH ANNUAL BRUSHES WITH CANCER EVENT TO TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY 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:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brushes-with-cancer-chicago-2017-tickets-32820620359

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 jenna@twistoutcancer.org.

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.

 

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For media inquiries, please contact Joshua Taustein at josh@twistoutcancer.org.

 

Meet Rika Cargill, 36 – “The Fighter”

            Rika was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August 2012. Unfortunately, Rika wasn’t a stranger to this horrible disease. She lost both her mother and grandmother to breast cancer and her father to prostate cancer. Rika decided to fight because she didn’t have an option to give up for three very special reasons.

“Motherhood made it worth the fight,” says Rika.

She is a mother of three and not only on a mission for them, but for those who can no longer contend. Rika connected to Brushes With Cancer through artist, Jessica Bond Montalbano, and her work at previous events. Her “twist” on cancer is to be present and enjoy time with your family and friends. Losing her loved ones didn’t generate a resentful outlook; rather it made Rika even more grateful. Cancer shaped the trajectory of her life in positive ways she never deemed possible.

Her cancer journey fostered a more patient, concerned, and loving mother. She relishes every single moment with her children. Having this disease, also called for open lines of communication with her children. It’s created a platform for dialogue and those tough conversations, which need to take place. She’s learned to embrace change and encourage her family to as well.

If there is one takeaway we can all learn from Rika, it’s through her message.

            “It’s good to live in the moment than not to live at all.”

-Rika Cargill

Mother, Fighter, Survivor, Inspiration

*Blog entry submitted by Courtney Anixter

 

Meet Nichole Olson, 31-”Close Watch”

In May of 2013, Nichole found a lump in her breast during a routine shower exam. She immediately called her doctor and had it biopsied that day. She learned her fate and headed straight into a mastectomy with reconstruction followed by six months of chemo. Then in August of 2015, she had a full hysterectomy for BRCA2 gene and, sadly, in October 2016 discovered a new lump in almost the same spot as the original. Nichole had surgery again to remove and test the lump. After twenty-eight radiation treatments, she is still watching closely today.

Given the extent of her ordeal Nichole suffered from PTSD, which led her friend Heather to suggest becoming involved in our organization. Nichole thought the process of joining the Brushes With Cancer community would not only help her heal, but also provide comfort to other young women in her shoes.

Nichole’s son was only one and a half when she was first diagnosed. She worried her capabilities and limitations due to her illness would fail her as a mother. She relied on others guidance and support in raising her child. She credits her family for taking care of her son when she needed to take care of herself. Nichole treasures every major milestone with her son, especially seeing him sign up for kindergarten.

Final words from Nichole as we remember and learn from her story.

“Everybody is entitled to feel how they want to feel! If you want to feel overly optimistic and happy all of the time then do it! If you want to sit in a corner and cry the whole afternoon then do it! But the one thing you can do to help yourself is live.”

-Nichole Olson

Mother, Survivor, Inspiration

*Blog entry submitted by Courtney Anixter

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.

 

Tiny Twister Spotlight: Josh Katt, Founder of KitchFix

During the month of November, KitchFix, a Chicago-based kitchen that provides healthy meals delivered to the home or for pick up, is donating proceeds to Twist Out Cancer in honor of #GivingTuesday. They are generously providing a $1000 match for all donations made throughout the month!

Since 2012, KitchFix has cooked for cancer survivors and their loved ones, busy parents, CEOs, active people, Crossfit champions, TV personalities, young professionals, lawyers, professional athletes, and rock star musicians. Kitchfix is the solution for when you’re too busy to make a meal, in need of a healthy option, craving something scrumptious, or all of the above. Their meals are chef-crafted, made from scratch, sourced as locally as possible, approved by their in-house registered dietitian, and hand delivered.

 

This week, Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer sat down with Chef Josh, Founder and CEO of KitchFix to learn about what motivates them and why their partnership with TOC is so important.

Jenna:Why did you start KitchFix? What needs do you believe your company addresses?

I (Chef Josh) was a personal chef to a number of clients, and one of them requested that I cook according to an anti-inflammatory diet. She was recovering from breast cancer, and knew that eating this way can help tremendously in the healing process. I realized I could lean into all of the techniques I learned in culinary school to get inventive in creating delicious food that didn’t rely on dairy and gluten. This kind of food eliminates stressors on the body and focuses on whole, clean ingredients that all help the body function optimally, and this appeals to all kinds of people today who want to live healthier lives.

Jenna: Why are you interested in working with cancer survivors and their families? How did your work with this demographic begin?I truly believe that food can have a healing impact on your life. We have so many stories from our clients who have used Kitchfix to either lose weight, hit a personal health goal, or who are battling different auto-immune diseases and love having us as their go-to option. We don’t want people to ever feel like they are ‘losing out’ by having to eat this way — we want all of our clients to feel excited for each order, to try different menu items, and we want create craveable dishes that are even better than some of the classics you are used to!

Jenna: Why have you chosen to partner with Twist Out Cancer during the month of November?

Because this is the way our company got started, it holds a special place in our heart! We want to help people be healthier, but also to add joy into their life. That’s what Twist Out is all about. We all eat 3+ times a day, every day. Food is so much a part of what we do, and we want people going through a difficult time, especially with something as awful as cancer, to not have to sacrifice their food or flavor. We want to help bring awareness to Twist Out’s mission and give generously along with our clients to this cause!

Jenna: What are you most looking forward to with Cook Out Cancer- an Event that will be launched in partnership with TOC on January 19th?

We are so excited to see people discover what you can do when given a challenge. Sometimes challenges seem hard, but the best results can come out of them! By eliminating some of the ingredients many people are used to, we are looking forward to see what they come up with and watch people become proud of the skills they didn’t even know they had! We are most excited to have Shawn and his family here and have some fun with them in the kitchen.

Jenna: Do you have any words of advise for young adults who are starting to build their own venture?

Our journey has had a lot of ups and downs. Failure is inevitable. I have come up with some things that haven’t been hits, and some things that have taken us to the next level. Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and accept the full package. Life can be really challenging when you’re pouring yourself into one thing, but make sure to celebrate all of the tiny wins because they all add up to huge successes!

To participate in KitchFix’s campaign for Giving Tuesday check out their page.

To register for Cook Out Cancer

Twist Out Cancer and PiperWai- A Natural Partnership

Sarah Ribner and Jess Edelstein, the dynamic and tenacious duo behind Piperwai natural deodorant, are driven by their desire to give back and make an impact. As recent winners of ABC’s highly acclaimed show, Shark Tank, they have chosen to use their platform to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits that are making a difference in the community.  Their recent partnership with Twist Out Cancer is a natural fit as the two groups are making waves in their respective communities.

Jess and Sarah have known each other since childhood. They had a thriving lemonade stand when they were little girls, and they always dreamed of one day working together as adults. Their friendship withstood the test of time, as the two went off to college in different cities.

After graduation, Sarah took a high stress job on Wall Street.  She found herself feeling sluggish and made a conscious decision to prioritize her health. Back when she was 15, she saw how her body and mind transformed by cutting out soda and heavy sugar. Now in her twenties, she decided to change her diet, and make the conscious decision to seek out natural products for her skin and makeup. Sarah not only started to feel better, but she found that she was able to manage her stress by prioritizing self care.

Jess on the other hand, had a problem that she needed to fix. As a heavy sweater with sensitive skin, she found herself struggling to find a natural deodorant that actually worked. She started to read about all natural recipes online and decided to try it herself. She noticed fairly quickly that there was a real void in the marketplace for products that actually work. Jess created a recipe that she believed in and convinced her best friend Sarah to bring it on a relief trip  to Central and South America. Sarah was so impressed by the product’s effectiveness that she shared it with the volunteers. When Sarah returned home she decided to partner with Jess to bring this recipe to the masses.

In 2012, PiperWai was born. Sarah and Jess worked out of Jess’s kitchen to perfect the recipe. Eventually they moved to a commercial kitchen and started to sell their product locally. On a whim the ladies auditioned and eventually won Shark Tank which has transformed the company overnight.

Sarah and Jess’s passion is contagious. Not only are their customers loyal but they have taken to social media using the hashtag #piperwai,  Customers are sharing their testimonials and how their product is changing their lives. The PiperWai social media accounts promote motivating and inspiring photos that align with the mission.

Sarah and Jess firmly believe that while you can’t live in a bubble, there are healthy choices that can be made to lower your risk of illnesses and promote better well being.

 Since Shark Tank, PiperWai is committed to partnering with a charity partner every quarter. They do not just randomly offer discounts on their product, instead they choose to discount goods for the benefit of non-profits. As their charitable giving started to grow, cancer survivors and their loved ones started to notice, and have since become repeat customers.

Cancer survivors are often concerned about what they should or shouldn’t put into and on their bodies before, during and after treatment. The armpit contains many lymph nodes, and there is often a concern about putting toxic chemicals close to areas that may or may not impacted by disease. One of Piperwai’s customers found a tumor in his armpit because he was using the product which currently does not have an applicator. By design the product encourages you to touch yourself and get in touch with your body. The male customer was thankful that he found the tumor when he did.

Twist Out Cancer is honored to be the chosen charity partner throughout the month of October. Jess and Sarah were inspired by Jenna’s story and the concept of how Twist is impacting the cancer community.

During the month of October, PiperWai is donating 10% of all proceeds to Twist Out Cancer. To participate, use the code TOC10 at the checkout.

On November 29th, in honor of Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving, Twist Out Cancer and PiperWai will host the first annual Sock Hop at  WeWork with proceeds going to TOC. For more information on the event please check the website.


Meet Brushes with Cancer Artist Alumni – Doug Jones


MEET Doug Jones, a professional artist with a background in non-profit work. He is a veteran Brushes with Cancer participant who has been involved since its inception. Doug says he met Jenna (the founder) through a mutual college friend and “she was so lovely to be around that we connected immediately”. Specializing in Wonder Woman art, Doug’s first Brushes piece was for Noreen who had received a Wonder Woman figurine in the mail the day before she was diagnosed. Since then, Doug became a strong believer in the benefits of the program and he has not only participated in all of the Brushes events, but he also assisted with planning the first Michigan Brushes event, and is hoping to get a Detroit event on the calendar soon.

“My background is in psychology.” Jones says. “Mainly trauma and resilience-oriented therapy. I have used art therapy a lot and I have seen the benefits of art in therapeutic efforts.” The biggest benefit of the program, in his eyes, is that “people can see they are not alone.” An important aspect of healing therapy after any trauma is to find individuals who have had similar experiences. “This is a great reminder that people live through and with this all the time. A diagnosis is not a death sentence,” he emphasizes. “I think those are the two biggest benefits [of the Brushes program]: the sense of belonging and understanding that this is not a death sentence.”

Doug goes on to say that “

“My involvement with Twist has been such a journey. I wasn’t sure if Jenna was going to survive that first year, and it was such an emotional experience. I have a unique sense of joy just watching [Twist Out Cancer] grow. From participating, to being on the host committee, it has been just such an incredible journey.” Doug speaks fondly about the organization as if he is a proud father, watching his baby grow and expand and do good in the world.

To someone who is considering participating, Jones offers his own takeaway from being part of the Brushes with Cancer family: “I have seen insights – each of my people have shared things with me that they feel they can’t share with anyone. There is something about the idea that I am a stranger, and because of the purpose of the project they feel they have been able to share things with me. Those true insights into their personal experiences are the things I cherish the most. I would not have known these people, many of whom have become friends, without this program.”

 

 

Meet Brad Young, Brushes with Cancer Featured Artist

 


MEET Brad Young, father, artist, and carpenter. His background in art is varied and spans multiple expressions including pastel, music, drawing, painting, and sculpting. “I consider myself more of an artistic soul than a master of a certain art form.” Brad says. “I have found interest in all mediums and I appreciate all forms of art. I was in a band when I was young, and I took some art classes, but I am mostly self-taught, I guess.” he explains. Brad has done two Brushes with Cancer events; one in Chicago and one in Ann Arbor.

“I was introduced to the program by Bowen Kline, who is one of my closest friends.” After attending the launch party in November of 2014 for the Chicago 2015 event, Brad found Brushes to be “inspiring”, and a great use of art. “Art is often used to express only the artist’s point of view on things, and in that way, art can be very selfish. I liked the idea that this program was focused on beautiful things: survivors and strength and resilience and that it requires the artist to be selfless and tell someone else’s story.”

Young says the biggest benefit of the program is the opportunity for people to come together in a beautiful way and find strength, hope, and love in one another through something that is very difficult. “Strength because you see the amount of people that have been affected, and there is comfort and community in that. Hope and love because we pour ourselves out to each other and support each other.” he emphasizes. Both times Brad participated, he used his woodworking skills to create very unique pieces for the art exhibition. Though he is not creating a piece for the upcoming Chicago gala in May, his piece “Healing Harp” from the Ann Arbor installment will be featured and auctioned off there.

“The biggest lesson I learned from all of this is that the Universe makes sure that we are in the right place at the right time. That sometimes things don’t make sense in the moment, but there’s a reason for everything that happens, even when it’s hard or sad. These are the things that shape our character into who we need to be.” He then speaks about his first subject and survivor, August Spree, who became very dear to him throughout the process of being paired in the Brushes program, “I just think about the big picture: if August had never been affected by cancer, we would never have met. If I had decided not to check out this program with Bowen, we would never have met. The amount of things that I have learned about myself and about life and love is priceless, all because I participated in [the] Brushes [program].” He goes on to say, “It might seem like a small thing, like it did to me at the very beginning, but it has already had a big affect on my life. I think that’s a big deal.”

Brad says to anyone who is looking into the Brushes program, “It’s a great opportunity to participate in something bigger than yourself. It can potentially help you and help someone else greatly – this program has a positive impact on a lot of people. To an artist, I would say it is one of the most beautiful ways to gift somebody with one of your talents.”

Share your LOVE with Shawn #Righthandhellos

Our dear friend Shawn is fighting brain cancer – for the second time – and has lost some functionality on the right side of his body. As such, he’s not able to wave hello at this point with his right hand… so our twisters came together to send him their #righthandhellos.

Follow the links to our FacebookTwitter and Instagram channels to watch Shawn & Erin’s video, and learn how to share your love with Shawn online. 

Within 24 hours, Shawn’s call for support has already reached hundreds of thousands of people, and twisters everywhere are sharing their #righthandhellos online. Let’s join together to continue to show our solidarity for Shawn – post your photo today!