When Jenny Indig decided to honor the anniversary of her mother’s passing, it opened up new opportunities to heal—even a decade after she was initially touched by cancer.
Jenny’s latest opportunity is through serving as the 2023 Brushes with Cancer Honoree. The appointment comes more than a year after Jenny dove headfirst into the Twist Out Cancer community.
“I was a little shocked, to be honest, and wasn’t quite sure what I could bring to the organization and event,” Jenny said. “But having lost my mom to kidney cancer over 10 years ago, not a day goes by that I don’t think about how my life has been impacted by the disease.”
The road toward this honor began at an appointment more than a decade ago. Jenny’s mother, Shelley, was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer. Jenny was accompanying her mother to her first day of treatment when she ran into Twist Out Cancer founder Jenna Benn Shersher. Like Shelley, Jenna was going through her own cancer journey.
A childhood friend of Jenna’s, the two connected in a deeper way through their respective experiences with cancer. And as Jenny watched Twist Out Cancer form and grow, there became more reasons to get involved in the organization.
“I feel so deeply connected to Twist and its work through Brushes because of my history with Jenna but also because of who my mom was and how much I know she would have loved and benefited from the organization,” Jenny said.
Honoring a decade
Shelley was diagnosed in December 2010. At 59 years old, she lived a healthy and vibrant life, making her diagnosis that much more difficult.
Instead of ruminating on the diagnosis, Shelley did the best she could to just keep living. With a “Not today, cancer” attitude, Shelley spent the 14 months between her diagnosis and passing making the most of each day.
During that time, Jenny became pregnant with her first daughter, Sylvie Rose. For Shelley, the prospect of meeting her first granddaughter gave her strength and excitement. While Jenny was pregnant, Shelley worked on a piece of art to give to Sylvie.
“While she was a therapist professionally, art became her outlet,” Jenny said. “She loved to paint and draw, and found comfort in the act during her own suffering. She wanted more than anything to leave something behind for her granddaughter.”
What Jenny didn’t know was there was an opportunity on the horizon to heal in a meaningful way that involves a lifelong friend.
Continuing the healing journey, more than a decade on
As the anniversary of Shelley’s passing approached, Jenny began brainstorming a way to honor her mother. She knew she wanted to do more than donate money, so she reached out to Jenna.
With Twist Out Cancer also honoring a decade, Jenna thought Jenny would be a perfect fit for the organization’s 10 Year Anniversary committee. Jenny immediately agreed.
“Helping others connect to and benefit from the organization is the most wonderful way I can think of to honor my mom,” she said.
During planning, Jenny stepped up to become an incredibly valuable member of the Twist Out Cancer community, helping to launch a successful 10 Year Anniversary celebration at the end of 2022. In 2023, she was appointed as an Executive Board Member.
“I have been so inspired by the dedication and passion of the people I have met working with Twist Out Cancer,” Jenny said. “Each individual – fellow board members, volunteers, art therapists, artists or inspirations bring such a unique story to the organization. Their willingness to share experiences, connections and relationships are what drive the organization, allowing it to touch and help the lives of so many thousands of people.”
Being the 2023 Brushes with Cancer Honoree is a natural evolution for Jenny’s involvement and a meaningful way to ensure the memory of Shelley lives on. What’s even more special is that Jenny will honor her mother in a place she calls home.
“I grew up outside Chicago but don’t travel back often enough, so am really looking forward to seeing so many friends and family together in one room at the event and introducing them to Twist and the Brushes program.”
Join Jenny and our Artists and Inspirations on December 2! Click here to get your 2023 Brushes with Cancer tickets!