BRUSHES WITH CANCER September 9, 2017 Revel Fulton Market 1215 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, Illinois
Brushes with Cancer provides psychosocial 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. 1
Brushes with Cancer Leadership Jenna Benn Shersher - Founder & Executive Director Alana Dugandzic - Board Chair USA, Executive Board Member Dan Hadad Aviad - Board Chair Canada, Executive Board Member Andrew Edelston, Treasurer, Executive Board Member Tom McNamara- Executive Board Member Emma Peck Block - Executive Board Member, Brushes with Cancer Mentor Noreen Karadsheh Vlamakis - Executive Board Member Dr. David Turok- Advisory Board Member Jennifer Katz Margolis - Advisory Board Member Deb Fox - Advisory Board Member Eryn Bizar - Advisory Board Member Erin Green -Advisory Board Member August Spree-Advisory Board Member Alyssa Judlo- Advisory Board Member
Joelle Bilow- Host Committee Member, Auction Chair, Mentor Sarah Mulder- Host Committee Member, Sponsorship Chair Nicole Dicks- Host Committee Member, PR and Marketing Chair Kristen Otterson- Host Committee Member, Sponsorship Chair Stephanie Plein- Host Committee Member, Mentorship Chair Janel Gould- Host Committee Member, Mentor Iris Monsour- Host Committee Member, Mentor Joshua Taustein- Host Committee Member, Press Sean Bourke- Host Committee Member, Event Production
Canadian Chapter Leadership Dan Hadad Aviad- Board Chair Canada Dan Fricker- Board Member, Director of Social Media Sarina Rehal- Board Member- Canada Ryla Braemer- Board Member Canada Sharon Marcushamer, Board Member Canada April Gibson, Board Member Canada Paul W. Tye, Board Member Canada Jamie Ellerton, Board Member Canada Jessica Sharafi, Brushes with Cancer Montreal Chair Suzanne Cronin, Brushes with Cancer Montreal Chair
TABLE OF CONTENTS Brushes with Cancer Leadership............................................................................ 2 What is Twist Out Cancer?....................................................................................... 2 What is Brushes with Cancer?................................................................................. 3 Program...................................................................................................................... 7 Silent Auction Rules.................................................................................................. 6 Participating Speakers.............................................................................................. 8 Participating Inspirations and Artists.................................................................... 12 Sponsors.................................................................................................................. 66 Message from the Founder................................................................................... 68
WHAT IS TWIST OUT CANCER? Twist Out Cancer provides psychosocial support for individuals touched by cancer through creative arts programming.
The Story When 29-year-old Jenna Benn Shersher was undergoing cancer treatment in 2010 for a rare form of lymphoma, she felt disconnected from the world. Isolated at home because of a compromised immune system, she longed to do something she hadn’t done since she was well...dance. And so she did. With Chubby Checker’s,“The Twist,” blasting in the background, she recorded herself twisting her heart out. When she posted the video on Facebook, she had one simple request, “Please join me on the dance floor!” The response was astounding. Within days, Jenna was flooded with hundreds of videos of thousands of people from across the globe, all twisting. These videos came from people she knew and perfect strangers. There were people twisting at work, at home, and even from the hospital. “As they twisted, I was able to tiptoe out of my room and join the world,” recalled Jenna. “I no longer felt alone, but instead connected to and supported by a community of twisters.” It was then that Jenna made a vow that once she had completed treatment she would give back in a meaningful way. And so, Twist Out Cancer was born.
Twist Out Cancer “My mom had breast cancer and throughout the process, I was the primary person helping her,” said a young woman named Emma. “Most of my friends would ask about my mom, but they didn’t think to ask about me. It was difficult because I was struggling to care for her, and I also needed support”. Twist Out Cancer creates exactly that - a place of support for everyone who needs it. 3
What began as a light-hearted way for anyone touched by cancer to connect has turned into a global community of support and inspiration. 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. TOC does this through ouronline platforms, Brushes with Cancer, Twist-Shops and Health and AwarenessThird Party Events.
The App The Twist Out Cancer App launched this past June with the intention to connect thousands of individuals touched by cancer. The platform allows anyone to create a profile page and a personal call to action. Through videos, photos or essays, those touched by cancer are able to share their unique “twist on cancer.” Sample posts have included everything from “I’m in the midst of chemotherapy and have lost all of my taste buds...host a dinner party, and tell me what it tastes like” to “Help me Kiss Away Cancer. Kiss a friend, a family member or a stranger on the street, and snap a quick selfie and share it on social media.” So far, TOC’s online presence has touched nearly 300,000 people across the world – and the numbers keep growing.
Brushes with Cancer This unique celebration of survivorship and hope pairs those touched by cancer (previvors, survivors and caregivers) with talented artists working in a variety of mediums. Those touched by cancer share their ‘twist on cancer’ – their stories, feelings and experiences – with the artist, which serves as the inspiration for the art. The program culminates with a celebratory annual event and fundraiser in which the pairs connect in person and the artwork is revealed for the first time and then auctioned to support TOC. Since its inception in 2012, hundreds of pairs have been matched, over 15,000 people have participated in the celebratory events in the Chicagoland area. In 2018, Brushes with Cancer will debut in Tel Aviv, Philadelphia and Montreal. “Telling my story in this context and through this creative process was better than any kind of therapy,” said Amy, who lost her mother to breast cancer and who is herself both a survivor of kidney cancer and a ‘previvor’ who was diagnosed with the BRCA2 gene.
Twist-Shops TOC workshops or, “Twist-Shops”, are educational workshops that provide individuals touched by cancer with an opportunity to share their ‘twist on cancer,’ – their unique experiences – with everyone from teens to community members. Trained TOC facilitators lead groups in meaningful discussions related to the critical importance of psychosocial support and guide exercises that foster creativity and encourage team building. To date, over 10,000 people have engaged in Twist-Shops. TOC workshop community partners include Camp Chi, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Federation CJA in Montreal. 4
Health and Wellness Third Party Events TOC understands the importance of health and wellness – particularly mindfulness, strength and resilience – both during and after cancer treatment. Since 2011, over 30,000 people have participated in health and wellness programs run by TOC in partnership with a variety of organizations, including Yoga for a Cause, Kick Out Cancer, an annual charity soccer match hosted by the head trainer of the Raiders FC, and participation in the Lurie Cancer Walk and 5k. This summer marked an exciting partnership between TOC and Equinox gyms with the launch of a new series of Fit for a Cause events focused on exercise during and after treatment. Twist has partnered with Whole Foods and Kitchfix to provide nourishing and healthy cooking classes help inform and competitions that informed participants of how to make healthy choices throughout survivorship.
The Need “This organization empowers you,” said a cancer survivor. “It gives you a way out and helps you make your situation the best it can be. It allows you to focus on the positive as opposed to being victimized.” What makes TOC unique is its multi-tiered approach that gives anyone touched by cancer the support and community they need to no longer feel alone and the tools they crave to take action. TOC provides anyone, anywhere in the world, with the platform to create, support and inspire. As such, TOC’s reach is limitless, targeting everyone from the person who finds out that a dear friend has just been diagnosed with cancer and doesn’t know what to do, to those like Jenna, who feel that because of cancer, they have to sit out the dance. A labor of love, TOC is volunteer-led, boasting a network of over 200 active volunteers serving as ambassadors in Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Montreal. Committed Executive and Advisory Boards further serve to support through their volunteerism.
GET INVOLVED Twist Out Cancer is a community that celebrates creativity, encourages engagement, and believes in the importance of giving back. TOC volunteers, aka, “Tiny Twisters,” donate their time, expertise, and passion to help create a network of support and hope. It is thanks to their commitment and hard work that the TOC community continues to grow and thrive. For more information on volunteering, please visit the volunteer section of our website. We hope you will join us.
BRUSHES WITH CANCER Brushes with Cancer is celebration of survivorship and hope through art, music and storytelling. This event is brought to you by Twist Out Cancer with the generous support of the sponsors featured throughout this program..
TONIGHT ART: TOC paired 48 volunteer artists with 53 TOC survivors, previvors, and caregivers, and challenged the artists to create original works of art inspired by their inspirations unique “twists” on cancer. The artist-subject pairs began their relationships through the TOC website and various social media outlets. Working closely together over a period of several months, these relationships developed into systems of support both on and off the Internet. The resulting artwork, which comes in a variety of media, is the centerpiece of Brushes with Cancer. The artwork will be on display and up for auction at Revel Fulton Market. Proceeds will go towards furthering the mission and vision of Twist Out Cancer. MUSIC: DJ John Simmons STORYTELLING: Jenna Benn Shersher and select inspirations and artists will share their twists on cancer and the importance of giving back.
RULES OF THE SILENT AUCTION •
To sign up to bid in the silent auction, please complete the bid sheet in its entirety.
A bid is construed as a legal agreement to purchase the listed item(s) at the amount indicated.
All bidders must be 18 years of age or above.
All winning bids must be settled before the end of the event by cash, check or credit card.
The auction will close at 10:00 PM, at which time the highest bid on each bid sheet will be declared the winner
Twist Out Cancer is acting as a consignee of the art for the purposes of this auction. All sales are final, as is, and are between the artist and the buyer.
If conflict arises over identifying the last valid bid for an item(s) or in the event there is any confusion over any of the rules or procedures of this auction, Twist Out Cancer reserves the right to determine the winner or to impose an alternate method of closing the item for interested parties, including, but not limited to, cancelling the sale or requiring a sealed final bid. All Twist Out Cancer decisions are final and binding on all participants.
PROGRAM 6:00- 7:00 PM
Performance by Tovah Goodman VIP Program Honoring Participants Shawn Strong Award Presentation 7:00-8:30 PM Cocktail Hour & Music Provided by DJ John Simmons 8:30-8:45 PM Opening Remarks by Jaymee Sire, Emcee Why Twist? Remarks by Twist Out Cancer Founder and Executive Director, Jenna Benn Shersher
A Brushes with Cancer Reflection by Roey Kruvi and Danny Cohen
“Brushstrokes” performed by Kobi Swissa
9:00-9:05 Why Support Twist Out Cancer Let’s Dance 9:00-10:00
DJ John Simmons Spins
10:00 - Midnight Silent Auction Closes 50/50 Winners are Announced Paint by Numbers Live Auction
PARTICIPATING SPEAKERS Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder of Twist Out Cancer Jenna Benn Shersher is a 35 year old cancer survivor, civil rights advocate, world traveler and tiny twister who dreams big. In December 2010, Jenna was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called Grey Zone Lymphoma that at the time affected fewer than 200 people in the United States. Instead of surrendering to cancer, she was determined to find meaning in her suffering. In the course of her fight, Jenna figured out creative ways to leverage social media to process her experience, and in turn create a community of tiny twisters that became invested in her fight. In the course of a year, Jenna battled cancer and founded the nonprofit Twist Out Cancer. Jennaâ€™s story was selected as a top ten best read by Mashable. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has made television appearances on CNN, NBC5, CBS, ABC7 and Fox News. She has also been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. Jenna is a mentor angel with Imerman Angels, and was an Honored Hero and advocate for Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is an ROI fellow with the Schusterman Foundation and serves on the board of the Anti-Defamation League. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband Dr. David Shersher and their daughter Noa Pearl. Danny M. Cohen Danny M. Cohen is a human rights artist, fiction writer, and learning scientist. His published works include the short stories THE 19TH WINDOW and DEAD ENDS, and his debut novel, TRAIN, was selected as the inaugural national Museum Teacher Fellows book club text of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. An associate professor of instruction at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Danny specializes in Holocaust memory, human rights learning, and education design. He is the founder of UNSILENCE, a national educational nonprofit that creates and implements innovative learning experiences to unsilence hidden stories of human rights. He was appointed by governors Quinn and Rauner as a commissioner of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission, he was a faculty fellow of the Auschwitz Jewish Center, and he serves on the editorial advisory board of the journal The Holocaust in History and Memory. Danny is also a singer-songwriter and one half of the band THEY WONâ€™T WIN. Originally from London, Danny lives in Chicago with his husband and their daughter. 8
Roey Kruvi Roey was born in Haifa and lived in different parts of Israel before moving to California at the age of ten. Now he does not want to leave. Since moving to Encinitas four years ago, he has taken on several new hobbies, using his free time to surf, horseback ride, practice yoga, and spend time with his family. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in geography and interdisciplinary studies. Roey appreciates opportunities to live communally, skill share, laugh at himself, laugh with others, go to potlucks, breathe (thanks, lungs!), read books, negotiate bus fares, and eat lunch by gorging on farmers markets’ samples. Roey’s passion and dedication are in informal education of youth, especially in wilderness and/or outdoor settings, and he has several years’ experience designing and implementing experiential education curriculum. Also, he’s a big fan of being alive and not taking himself too seriously. Roey is a cancer survivor and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. At work, Roey is the Director of Leadership Initiatives at Moishe House, facilitating leadership development retreats for Jewish young adults. Roey is the winner of the National JPRO Young Professional Award and a member of the ROI Community. Roey is also the founder of Beacons Tech Consulting, a business that provides affordable tech solutions to small and medium-sized nonprofits.
Terry Gillespie Terry Gillespie is a 14 year lung cancer survivor! She grew up on the north side of Chicago and currently lives in Westmont Illinois. She joined Twist Out Cancer because she believes in the positivity the organization embodies. She was attracted to Twist Out Cancer because it provides individuals touched by cancer with an opportunity to express their journey and articulate how cancer has changed their lives. She believe the organization helps with the articulation of different emotions that cancer patients and their families experience.
Event Emcee Jaymee Sire Jaymee Sire is an Emmy Award winning television host. Originally from Montana, she started her TV career there 15 years ago. Since then, she has lived in San Diego, San Francisco and Connecticut covering sports all over the country and world. She most recently worked at ESPN, where she anchored the morning installment of Sports Center, the network’s flagship show. Her other passions include food and travel, and she has started exploring that side of the television world. She recently appeared on Beat Bobby Flay and Food Network Star as a guest cohost and judge, and this fall, will be the Floor Reporter for the new Iron Chef Showdown, which will also air on Food Network. In her spare time, she also writes a food blog, called “E is for Eat.” She has an insatiable thirst for world travel, fancy cheeses and bubbles.
Entertainment John Simmons, Style Matters DJs/ Vocalo DJ Collective John Simmons is a dynamic people mover with twenty years of experience on the decks. The son of a DJ, he was influenced early in life by the soulful and eclectic sounds played at home. Having a solid foundation in Soul/R&B, Disco, ‘80s music and early Hip-Hop/Rap, John became immersed in the early 1990s by the dance/electronic music produced by Chicago, New York, Detroit, and international artists. In the mid-1990s he began to make a name for himself as DJ John “Break it Down” Simmons in Chicago. Among many others, John credits the DJs of Chicago’s Soul Foundation house music collective as an important early career source of musical inspiration. He has played in New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Paris, Berlin, Ibiza, Cairo, and beyond. John has shared the stage with a countless number of dance music greats and spins regularly at venues such as Simone’s, Rodan, Subterranean, and Untitled.
Tovah Goodman Tovah started writing music at age 13 as a method of therapy. Born and raised in Pasadena, CA, music has always been a way for her to connect to the world and others. Tovah released her first EP, “Cause You Said Hi” in 2015 and is releasing a new demo of Jewish soul music this year. Tovah has used music to open up new experiences like singing on the beach in Hawaii, performing in an Israeli singing competition, and playing with extremely talented people. It is such an honor for her to use her talent and creative arts for a great cause and organization. Kobi Swissa Kobi Swissa is an Israeli born musician living in Highland Park, Illinois. Kobi founded the company Swissa Creative a multi-media company that focuses on storytelling. Kobi has been a dear friend of Twist Out Cancer’s for the last five years and has served as a critical mouthpiece for survivors, caregivers and supporters.
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS AND INDIVIDUALS TOUCHED BY CANCER The Matches Artists
Tom Reynen Olivia Ezinga Jackie Carmody Amanda Shell Deanna Neil Lisa Kral Kyle Rise Irving Danny Cohen Brad Young Myron Laban Ariel Cordero Paula Zammitt Rebecca Hill Jessica Montalbano Debbie Goldstein Grace Turcich Alyson Doyle Alex Wang John Stumbaugh Alexis Radeke Beth Peck Alyssa Judlo Hayley Serruya Ashley Koss Andrea Milner Rebekah Abehsera Arianna Quan Cameron Wood Teresa Moor Katie Hosier Lindi Turok Gold Caren Helene Rudman Bowen Kline Valerie Smith Michele Kellner Catherine Chinnock Jody Bauman Rachel Todd Tovah Goodman Caitlin Cartwright Helen Gebregiorgis Vikram Krishnamurthy Amy Ginn Elizabeth Wirick Dr. David Turok Dr. David Turok Dr. David Turok Joelle Bilow Douglas Jones Rena Grosser Lindsay Toman Chelesea Jenkins
Dan Riordan Michelle Di Fiore Jacqueline Caputo Chiara Dâ€™Agostino Noelle Gray Heather Trieu Karen Hoss Roey Kruvi Jacob Shorr Kevin Green Brianna Wellen Andrea Farquhar Shane Green Tessie Dembs Cynthia DeLira Nicole Munoz Christine Adley Nancy Kleine Kekst Elena Tochev Dana Koman Kireina Bell Sancho Marcus Fitzgerald Rika Cargill Nichole Olson Annie Gilmartin & Michael Gilmartin Melissa Tang Ashley Taff Stephanie Barrett Nicole Dunn Katie Kennealy-Pierczynski Allie Brudner Sarah Falk Grace Fauls Lombardo Merrily Seranian Monica Shea Bidwill Roberta Moran Ryan Terry Gillespie Trusha Bhatt Kari Smith Lindsay Goldstein Teresa Nehra Lisa Blankenship Olivia Silver Gudrun Wu Snyder Matt Lampson Lauren Hubert Smoke Eshall Malik Erin Brown Suzanne Gauvreau Danielle Peress August Spree Julie Marder
MEET THE MATCHES Dan Riordan and Tom Reynen Dan Riordan May his memory be a blessing Survivor Twist on Cancer: Despite Dan’s long struggle with cancer, he continue to teach, to learn and to mentor. His strength gave to others strength, and his courage gave to others courage. We have enjoyed his presence and we grieve at his loss. His favorite poet was Walt Whitman and at the end of every semester he read from Leaves of Grass: After the supper and talk—after the day is done, As a friend from friends his final withdrawal prolonging, Good-bye and Good-bye with emotional lips repeating, (So hard for his hand to release those hands—no more will they meet, No more for communion of sorrow and joy, of old and young, A far-stretching journey awaits him, to return no more,) Shunning, postponing severance—seeking to ward off the last word ever so little, E’en at the exit-door turning—charges superfluous calling back—e’en as he descends the steps, Something to eke out a minute additional—shadows of nightfall deepening, Farewells, messages lessening—dimmer the forthgoer’s visage and form, Soon to be lost for aye in the darkness—loth, O so loth to depart! Garrulous to the very last. Dan was so loathe to depart, but remained garrulous to the very last! Tom Reynen 1. Shoreview, Minnesota https://pixels.com/profiles/ tom-reynen/shop “Unsettled Waters” Photography 20 x 16 frame $200 Artist Statement: I was matched with Dan because we both shared a love of photography. In looking for a way to honor his memory, I decided to take one of the photographs he had shared with me before he died and reinterpret it. Although I only knew him for a short time, Dan was a very calm and peaceful man so I chose a very peaceful, reflective photo he had taken of a group of reeds silhouetted in the water on a lake. I created over 20 variations but the one I chose to submit was one where I added images of waves crashing in to this peaceful scene. Dan’s cancer was a vicious attack on a wonderful man. Yet through it all, his reeds stand proud and resolute against the forces of nature. I hope my work can be inspiring to those facing a similar struggle. 13
Michelle Di Fiore & Olivia Ezinga Michelle Di Fiore Toronto, Ontario Survivor Twist on Cancer: Cancer does not discriminate. The effects of cancer go far beyond the physical body. Healing is a process. Healing takes time. Learning to adapt to “life” after going through a cancer diagnosis, especially as a young adult, is difficult yet beautiful. Just like the creation of art. Olivia Ezinga Detroit, Michigan Oliviaezinga.com “Forever Changed” Digital Art 36 x 24 $150.00 Artist Statement: “Forever Changed” is my take on Michelle’s description of going through cancer. Michelle emphasized the ebb and flow of emotions that accompanied her journey, as conveyed by waves. It only felt right to incorporate an excerpt Michelle provided from a journal entry that eloquently summarizes her outlook on undergoing and overcoming cancer--she’s stronger than ever, and certainly forever changed.
Jacqueline Caputo & Jacqueline Carmody Jacqueline Caputo Wheaton, Illinois Caregiver and Supporter Twist on Cancer: Cancer has touched too many friends and family members to count. When it happens to those around you, it rocks your world. When it happens to immediate family, it feels surreal and unfair. Twist out Cancer has given me hope that people do not need to struggle in silence as we navigate the waters of uncertainty. I have learned that your support system can run far and wide, and is sometimes made up of people you would never expect; strangers even. Honesty is key - being honest with yourself about how you are feeling. Being honest with those around you so they can understand where your head is at and better provide support. And lastly, be honest with the universe so it can shower you with its bountiful amount of love, energy and light, to carry you through your journey. Jacqueline Carmody Chicago, Illinois Instagram: @jcarmody_art “Peeking In” Acrylic on canvas & mixed media 30 x 40 $3,000.00
Artist Statement: “Peeking In” is a painted scene of Mola Di Bari, Italy, which is the hometown of the inspiration’s father. I chose to portray this scene because within moments of meeting Jacki it was evident that Italian culture and family values are a significant ingredient to her bond with her father. The window that covers the painting creates an experience for the viewer to observe something intimate. The piece as a whole portrays Jacki’s courage to share her family’s story and receive support.
Chiara D’Agostino & Amanda Shell Chiara D’Agostino Montclair, New Jersey Survivor-Lifer Twist On Cancer: Through my cancer experience, I’ve become more true to myself and my nature; I speak my mind and don’t sugarcoat. My time and energy is valuable, so I create boundaries and communicate them clearly. I’ve experienced repetitive disappointments during this metastatic, triple negative breast cancer experience, so I’ve turned my attention to people and places that can give me the support I desire. Identifying my needs is a skill I’ve had to hone, as well as being transparent with my expectations. I chronicle my day-to-day life on a blog I’ve created, Beauty Through the Beast. The idea that someone out there is listening to what I say drives me forward- focusing my energy into a project, other than saving my life, gives me a purpose. Through my blog, I’ve developed an extensive online community of cancer Thrivers and medical personnel, some of which have become close friends. Cancer can be a very isolating disease, it’s important for me to stay involved – advocating has become my new passion. Meditation, energy healing, Reiki, and my shaman carry me through. I learned to never underestimate the healing and soul-nurturing qualities of crafting and drawing, taking walks in nature, laughing with girlfriends, and spending time with children and animals. Every day I incorporate something into my day that brings me joy. I’ve identified what brings me joy (children, sunshine, beautiful moments, animals) and I incorporate these elements into my daily life. I choose love and joy every day!
Amanda Shell Chicago, Illinois www.HelloAmandaShell.com “Waves” Multi Media-Acrylics, clay, gold & silver foil 24 x 24 $250 Artist Statement: “Waves” was inspired by my conversations with Chiara. Hearing her story, the constant ups and down of her diagnosis, treatment, recurrence, search for clinical trials, etc filled me with waves of emotion - and I can only imagine the constant wave of emotion she continually feels as well. Through all she has shared, there is such a strong underlying emotion of beauty, strength, and fight - a beautiful shining silver vibrancy that she continues to put into the world. Her advocacy via her website BeautyThroughTheBeast.com is a gift to us all. Since she is the inspiration for this piece, I felt her fingerprints should be on the art as well - all the clay pieces are made by her (yay for snail mail!). They truly complete the piece. 16
Noelle Gray & Deanna Neil Noelle Gray Manchester, CT Survivor Twist on Cancer: I’m still trying to figure that out, but I guess just being honest and open about it.
Deanna Neil Los Angeles, California Deedeebird.com “Complex Rebel Complex” Acrylics, Gel Medium, Collage, Mixed Media 20 x 10 x 1.5 $300 Artist Statement: It is clear upon meeting Noelle that she is a complex rebel. A badass. A no nonsense, feminist, comedian who has dealt with her pain through art and sharing. Collage allows the building of layers, and every aspect of this piece was inspired by Noelle: The colors – bold but integrated and moody, purple for the hair she donned when we met. The Lindy Hop dancers (a Noelle pastime) – filled with so much movement and joy they are about to tip over. I mixed and matched partners, integrating race and time periods in a hat tip to this rebellious American art form and Noelle’s political streak; James Dean (Noelle named one of her tumors after him) – twisted in emotional pain in Rebel Without a Cause, he says, “You’re tearing me apart!” I intentionally kept him faded to the background, still there haunting her and us, but never dominating; The music – a poem of Emily Dickenson’s. Noelle talked about her love of Dickenson’s poetry and one in particular about birds being like notes flying off the page; The black birds – ominous, but also spiritual, 5. free and hopeful. The centerpiece evokes floating stillness, and is filled with feminist allusions. The 1940s kitchen is from an article Noelle posted on Facebook, which felt appropriate since our relationship was online, me in LA and her in Connecticut. The torn text is from a book called “Big Coal,” another subtle political nod. Then my favorite: The floating, rotated image of a young Debbie Reynolds from a 1957 article, “How I’m Regaining My Figure,” in which she posed for exercises following the birth of her daughter, Carrie Fisher. This was a nod to both the powerhouse of Carrie Fisher, the multi-talented Reynolds, and also the pressure of being a woman in a body, something that Noelle has managed with curiosity, humor, and fierce rawness. 17
Heather Trieu & Lisa Gail Levy Kral Heather Trieu Andover, MN Survivor Twist on Cancer: Cancer has given me a renewed perspective on life. With cancer, so many things about my life have changed. At first it was difficult, but I have come to a point of acceptance. I accept my life situation and it is still pretty wonderful. I accept my new body because it has taken me through so much. I accept that I have limitations, but I am not limited. I accept help from others and understand how important helping others is. I accept that I am loved and how much I need to love those around me. I accept that God is always in control and He looks out for me too. I accept that life is sometimes very difficult, but always worth it! Lisa Gail Levy Kral Palisade, Colorado “Acceptance” Aluminum 36 x 24 $350 Artist Statement: Acceptance. I was lucky enough to have my inspiration, Heather Trieu, join me in Colorado so I could really capture her. As a photographer, I really loved every minute we spent together and every photo that I had the chance to take. Heather’s word was “acceptance”. She is a strong person. She is full of love, joy, hope, and belief. She has accepted the challenges that life has brought her. I am in awe of her positive outlook on life. I relate to this word as well. Acceptance. Accept the challenges life throws at you. Acceptance. Accept the beauty that life has to offer. Acceptance. Believe in yourself. Acceptance. I have made a wonderful friend in Heather and I definitely accept that!
Karen Hoss & Kyle Rise Irving Karen Hoss Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer on January 11th, 2016. It was a devastating blow to me as well as my family. We all struggled to deal with this and as they say...cancer affects the whole family. I had a great support team from my husband to my children and family and friends. But as fate would have it, 2 weeks later my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And through further testing was also diagnosed with MDS. It was so difficult trying to deal with my own health issues and then my husband’s. He was supposed to be my “rock”. I guess my journey took a different direction than most. I wasn’t so worried about myself, as I was more worried about my family and husband. Maybe in an ironic twist, God was going to give me this extra cross to bear so I would get better. I found my strength through family, friends and my work. Some days were worse than others, but I just felt I can do this and everything would be better. Now, I am cancer free and feeling great! I cherish each and every day as if it might be my last. My journey still continues with my husband and I pray we can get through his diagnosis as well. I did a lot of reading during my journey. A book I highly recommend is called, “Option B”. It helped me through some of my darkest days. A quote I now live by is, “You either get bitter or better - the choice belongs to you”. Kyle Rise Irving Detroit, MI www.kyleRISEirving.com Pillar in the Storm Ink and paint on canvas 18 x 24 $300.00
Artist Statement: Pillar of Strength” tells a story that needed to be told, and not understated. The story being told is that of 2 lovers who were each other through it all. When one was weaker, the other stood up to support, and back and forth. We can’t always be strong, but that’s when we must lean on others to help us up. “Pillar” depicts this love exactly, holding each other. shielding each other from the onslaught of an inevitable storm. Using a variety of styles to build the layers and depth, and naturally contrasting colors, the figures are illuminated in the darkness despite the winds whipping around. My goal was to capture the love and connection between two souls in the turbulence that life throws at, and to weather it for there will be a brighter day. 19
Roey Kruvi & Danny Cohen Roey Kruv Encinitas, CA Survivor Twist On Cancer: Danny helped me shatter some of the illusions I had attached myself to; stories about who I am - or am now destined to be. We began this not knowing what would happen and found a deep and sincere friendship. Our conversations and silences moved me to find courage, to discover voice, and breathe easy once again. I am eternally grateful for the people that made this relationship possible. Danny M. Cohen Chicago, Illinois “IN HIDING” Acrylic on wood 48 x 48 8. $1,800 Artist Statement: It’s easy to believe we can see cancer. A shaved head. An out-of-place baseball cap. Dreadlocks turned to ash. Pieces and piles of hair, out of reach. Like Auschwitz. Sometimes, cancer is a word that provokes a simplified sympathy or an assumed innocence, taken. But the truths of cancer, like the drips of chemotherapy chemicals, are invisible. Tumors removed. A part of the body, cut away. And with them pieces ofidentity and future experiences,love, sex, intimacy. These are stories that tremble, like ghosts, hidden from view.On the surface, the joyand hope are real, but the pain and darkness beneath are difficult or even impossible to see. We connected over video. Through hesitation, genuine excitement, and a shared cynical amusement about what we were doing, we discovered that we were both grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and, in our first minutes of conversation, this is what he told me: When Roey Kruvi, barely an adult, shared his diagnosis with his immediate family, they asked him to keep the news from his grandparents. And so his cancer became a secret. His grandfather was a survivor of the Holocaust who had hidden in the forests of Europe to escape Nazi genocide. The old man had been through enough, his family argued. Roey’s grandfather died not knowing that his grandson, like him, had stared death in the face and survived.
Jacob Shorr & Brad Young Jacob Shorr Chicago, Illinois Survivor and Caregiver Twist On Cancer: I was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer when I was 18. I am now 36, and am inspired every day by my daughters (five and two and full on energy), and by my wonderful, marvelous, strong, stunning, and supportive wife. My father lived with Parkinson’s for 15 years before succumbing to Leukemia in 2012. He, my mother, and my aunts are additionally inspirations for how to handle the adversity of illness. I used to believe in “fake it until you make it.” If you force yourself to smile, eventually the smile becomes real. It was effective for my post-cancer depression, a first step towards building sustainable coping mechanisms. Now, I believe it is more that we, as humans, are perpetual motion machines. Our bodies want to be in motion. Bodies in motion, like objects in motion, tend to stay in motion. Smiling, loving, caring, fighting, twisting. If we use our bodies to put these actions into motion, with support and determination our bodies can stay in motion. Of course, nothing can stay in motion forever. Our bodies move through space and time, but eventually will stop moving. Our memories, however, freeze space and 9. time. Each moment, a picture stretching forward in time with us. So that even when a body stops moving, sharing our memories allows that person to keep moving and their legacy to live forever. Brad Young Almont, MI https://www.facebook.com/ BYoungWoodworks/ “Time Machine” Salvaged and Reclaimed Materials 24 x 33 $450 Artist Statement: I was inspired by Jacob to create a time machine for various reasons. We spoke a lot about time, and it’s inescapable impact on all of us. The design of the piece has a duality to it. One side representing the chaos of time, due to busy schedules, deadlines, and cramming as much into the day as possible. While the other side, as seen by opening the clock in the center of the Time Machine, shows us the gifts that are forever held in time. The moments that define and shape us into who we will become. The current destination set into the Time Machine is Chicago, in the summer of ‘17. The Shorr residence, with Jacob and his daughters, Gwen and Naomi.
Kevin Green & Myron Laban Kevin Green Chicago, Illinois Supporter Twist on Cancer: Shawn had a motto, “EveryDay Is A Good Day”. Live each day to the fullest and be a better person than you were the day before.
Myron Laban Des Plaines, Illinois www.myronlaban.wordpress.com “Every Day Is a Good Day” Acrylic 36 x 36 $400 Artist Statement: This is a piece to show the connection between brothers. They always watch over each other, no matter what. This piece shows Kevin and Shane, looking at the skyline at Montrose beach, just like they did with Shawn. Shawn is represented in the sky by the words, “Every Day is a Good Day”. He watches over his family no matter what.
Brianna Wellen & Ariel Cordero Brianna Wellen Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: While going through my cancer diagnosis and treatments, I learned to embrace the fun. I thought, if bad things are going to happen to me and my body, I might as well seek out things that I truly love when given the chance. That took the form of wearing crazy outfits whenever I wanted, traveling across the country to places I had never been, finding the humor in everything possible, and lots and lots of glitter. Even though there were plenty of moments of depression and pain, it was deciding in my freeing moments what truly made me happy that helped me discover things about myself and what I want out of life that I never would have uncovered without being faced with my own mortality. Now I live life with a completely different attitude and have taken risks that I never would have taken before and I know that every day I’m truly being myself. Ariel Cordero Chicago, Illinois “Shining Through” Photography/Composite 27” x 30” $650
Brushes with Cancer This image was not available at the time we went to press. Look for it at the exhibition.
Andrea Farquhar & Paula Zammitt Andrea Farquhar Ypsilanti, MI Survivor Twist on Cancer: In July of 2015, I was 6 months pregnant with my first child, a girl, Cora. I was beyond ecstatic to be having a girl. My world was soon shattered when I was diagnosed with cancer at the same time. I went through a world of emotions from, am I going to lose my baby, to am I going to live long enough to give birth, or see her grow up? After my first misdiagnosis of metastatic gynecological cancer, I was able to give birth to a healthy baby girl in October 2015. This was such a blessing given that she was 5 weeks early and had made it through my 4 collapsed lungs, 2 lung surgeries and 2 rounds of very potent chemos while in utero. Now, 2 years later, I have a very happy, energetic, smart, and healthy 21 month old! Unfortunately, after seeking opinions at 5 prestigious hospitals, there has not been a clear diagnosis as to what type of cancer is still growing on my lungs, which is devastating. However, everyday I look at my daughter and she gives me the strength I need to keep fighting. She deserves to have her mother with her while she grows up, just as I’ve had the most amazing mother there for me. I wanted to share my story in hopes that I can give someone else that same strength I get from my daughter. It’s important to know you’re not alone and there are others going through the same thing. Never give up! Paula Zammit Detroit, MI Paulazammit.com “Lovely Cora” Oil 30 x 30 $1,700.00
Artist Statement: Although we were not able to connect as much as we had hoped (Andrea is in full-blown treatment), I saw her daughter, Cora, as the basis of all hope for beating this. Andrea was diagnosed while pregnant and I could not get past the issue of being “robbed” of the complete joy of first time pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood because of this ridiculous disease. Her little Cora is now 16 months old and to me, symbolizes all hope, solidarity and strength between Andrea and Cora. My painting of the little baby fist laid in the adult hand, at first, seems to represent nothing but sweetness and helplessness, but it actually encompasses great strength and power. 24
Shane Green & Rebecca Hill Shane Green Homer Glen, IL Caregiver Twist on Cancer: My twist on cancer is best defined by the motto my twin brother, Shawn, lived by “Everyday is a Good Day!” No one lived that more truly than he did. Throughout his fight to survive, Shawn never lost that perspective while inspiring so many. Although I have lost my best friend and brother, the lessons he taught me during our 41 years together will never be forgotten. Rebecca Hill 13. Evanston, Illinois Industrialgracerestoration.com “From Strength to Strength” Collage, Mixed Media, Acrylic 28.5” x 28.5” $900 Artist Statement: This piece is about the relationship of Shane and Shawn, as conveyed through twinned sets of ideas collected from their story: Sickness did not sunder what was already inseparable collision with cancer did not discourage, but continued care and courage pain did not pierce the perseverance of this pair of protectors Shane and Shawn, from strength to strength The shield is a symbol the two brothers used to represent their relationship. As identical twin brothers they grew up virtually inseparable. The words on the left side of the shield represent the profundity of their closeness. When Shawn was diagnosed with cancer, Shane was by his side, for illness would not keep them apart. Shane explained that strength and courage were key elements in his experience. These ideas have been tucked inside the two “S”s within the shield, showing how the brothers themselves are what make them strong. Something else I noticed in Shane’s story was the way Shane and Shawn had shared almost every life event imaginable, from their birth, through school, marriage, and raising children, to caring for each other through illness. Finally, Shane had the difficult privilege of ushering his brother across death’s doorstep. In this way Shane walked with his brother through his whole life cycle. This parallels to the Greek legends of the psychopomp, who guided souls to the next life. The right side of the piece represents these ideas, and what it means to walk through life as a lone twin, having lost some who was so close. 25
Tessie Dembs & Jessica Montalbano Tessie Dembs Fayetteville, North Carolina Survivor Twist On Cancer: Reflecting back on my brush with cancer, I’ve come to some life changing realizations. I love the gift of life. I love to laugh. I love to hear people’s stories. I love to savor every moment- because every moment is a gift. I love to feel beautiful. I love to stand up for what’s right. I’m grateful for cancer touching my life. It has helped me to understand what really matters most in this life. Cancer has helped me to not fear saying no if I need to. Cancer has taught me to love myself enough to take a time out. Cancer has helped me realize that I don’t have to choose between “just” being the most loving mother, or “just” being a genuine yoga instructor. I don’t have to be “just” an outstanding student, or a committed friend. I don’t have to choose to be committed to valuing myself as a strong woman, because I’ve learned that if I can chose life and survive cancer. Why on earth should I have to chose just one of these things when I can have it ALL. Jessica Montalbano Thornton, CO “Spirit of the Ocean” Driftwood, dreamcatcher, sculpture 48 x 32 x 4 $1,000
Artist Statement: I created a dreamcatcher for Tessie because she loves them. I chose to use elements from the ocean (repurposed driftwood, sea shells, and sand from where she is from) in this piece because the main thing she focused on during her recovery was yoga and time near the ocean which helped her to feel balanced and inspired. I also included semi-precious gemstones in the Tree of Life that I incorporated as well, these represent the colors of the seven chakras. Each dream catcher is hand stitched, and the necklace for her is handmade as well.
Cynthia DeLira & Debbie Goldstein Cynthia DeLira Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: In 2015, at 22 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Multiple Myeloma that was localized to my tonsils. As a single mother, the first person I worried for was my daughter, Alice, and the impact this would have on her life. Next, I thought about everything I still needed to achieve. My life has taken many turns with cancer being the most challenging but most rewarding. I learned to fight harder and love stronger. When it seemed like cancer had stripped me of everything I ever thought was important, like my job, some friends, the ability to taste, and even my freedom, I realized: it was only until I lost everything that I was free to do anything. I was surrounded with unconditional love and support that I never acknowledged. I learned to relish the simple things I took for granted before cancer, like the ability to laugh, talk, and even smile. At 4 years old, Alice’s love and understanding of the situation at such a young age was absolutely inspiring. She woke up every day with innocent anticipation of my recovery and reminded me of the strength that I never knew I possessed. This journey was and always will be victorious largely because of her. Many thanks is also owed to my parents, my family, my greatest friends, my love, and my angel Maria Dolores Diaz-DeLira for the blessing of their presence in what I consider, an everlasting journey in the story of my life.
Debbie Goldstein Chicago, Illinois “Cynthia and Alice” Acrylic 16 x 20 $250
Brushes with Cancer
Artist Statement: I was inspired by Cynthia’s struggle with an unusual form of cancer at a very young age. She is a very strong, determined young woman who repeatedly emphasized her dedication to her young This image was not available daughter. After meeting with Cynthia at the time we went to press. and her daughter Alice, I wanted to create a painting that shows their Look for it at the exhibition. beautiful bond as mother and daughter. However, it was also important to depict her struggle through illness and then on to healing and recovery. By starting with a portrait of this beautiful mother and daughter as my base layer, I continued to layer imagery to depict pain and then through determination and love to finish with healing. 27
Nicole Munoz & Grace Turcich Nicole Munoz Crestwood, Illinois Two-time Survivor Twist On Cancer: My life has changed for the better after my two journeys with cancer. I see life through a more beautiful and appreciative perspective. I had to endure negative experiences, pain, sadness, loss, and anger, but I also gained so many positive experiences, new friends, courage, strength, and hope. I want people to know that my experience with cancer helped me discover my purpose in life and reassured me that I am meant to be here helping spread awareness for others who will unfortunately face this disease. I hope telling my story will help someone else, whether that is tomorrow or years from now. Cancer will always be a part of my life, and I am okay with that. My motto is, “I have (had) cancer, cancer does not (did not) have me!”.
Grace Turcich Chicago, Illinois Graceturcich.wordpress.com “I could never leave, I will never leave. So hold onto me.” Watercolor, Acrylic, Oil 24 x 24 $600 Artist Statement: “She never seemed shattered; to me, she was a breathtaking mosaic of the battles she’s won.” -Matt Baker My inspiration, Nicole Muñoz, embraces and exudes resilience, courage and strength. She has not let her cancer consume her, but has learned to let it mold her into a strong woman. Her laugh beams with vitality and her eyes are colored with her story she calls Cancer. She has become my aspiration, a living influence who taught me to enjoy the little things in life like puppies, the sun and moon, and extra chocolate frappuccinos. Through this journey together, we have not only become friends, but we’ve become each other’s support. The piece I created for Nicole shows her persistence, will to survive and hope. Despite losing several angelic friends, Nicole has fought forward to create hope and make a difference in the lives of others. To me, Nicole is not only a mosaic of successful battles, she is a priceless masterpiece held together by her overwhelming compassion and love. The reference I used to paint Nicole’s portrait is a photograph by Melissa Tang. Melissa, a talented artist herself, is an important figure in Nicole’s life. I wanted to show the bond between these strong women. The angel wings represent those whom have passed on in their fight against Cancer. The crown of the sun and moon, purple lotuses, and sunflowers are beautiful symbols of hope and survival. Thank you, friend. You are my inspiration. 28
Christine Adley & Alyson Doyle Christine Adley Chicago, Illinois Two-time Survivor Twist On Cancer: Each experience is different, no two battles are the same. I’ve lost my leg and my breast to two different types of cancer all before the age of 24! Every day I get up and continue to fight. Sometimes, I wish I could just run away and not be who I am, and deal with the hand that has been dealt to me. Then I realize that I am a fighter and fighting is what I do best. Regardless of what life throws my way, I will CONTINUE to fight! I always say cancer can take whatever body parts it likes, but as long as I still have breath in me, I WIN!
Alyson Doyle Niagara Falls, Ontario The Buoyant C Acrylic on Wood 26 x 46 $125 Artist Statement :Christine is funny, open and wise beyond her years. I tried to capture all of these qualities in an animated painting featuring her as a mermaid. I chose an animated style because Christine was first diagnosed with cancer as a small child. Her leg was amputated. Hospital visits were abundant due to multiple surgeries. When speaking of her early experiences, she recalled the playroom at the hospital, specifically the bright, “almost blue” quality of the light.
Every time we spoke, I noticed the playful way she included her partner, Marcus, in conversations. I found their connection incredibly touching and I included an homage to Marcus, depicting him as a cartoon shark. The painting could alternatively be called, Sharkus and the Mermaid. I opted for, “The Buoyant C”, however, because when cancer came back a second time, Christine came back even harder to beat it again. Make no mistake, the “C” stands for Christine. Christine said she feels most free while swimming, which cemented the idea of making her into mermaid. More legendary than mermaids, however, her accomplishments should serve as a wide reaching inspiration. 29
Nancy Kleine Kekst & Alex Wang Nancy Kleine Kekst Lincolnshire, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: Cancer sucks. I don’t ever let my children use that word because I think it’s so dirty. But, I can still feel the (metaphorical) hard, stinging slap on my face when the doctor told me I had breast cancer; it was large, and it was aggressive. I went from celebrating my 50th birthday with a hat party (because I was bald) to a year of treatment hell—hospitalizations, constant nausea, unemployment and falling, like Alice [in Wonderland], into a deep, dark hole. But there were no cute cartoon characters in my hell-hole. After a hard year, I began to recover. We moved, and I started a fresh life. It was hard letting go of the anger. But, I flipped the experience around and began to look at all the good things cancer brought me: my wonderful husband and three caring children, a community of family and friends who supported me, and most importantly, an examination of our family genetic history. Because I had cancer, our family underwent genetic testing. My sister and her daughter both discovered they had the BRCA2 gene. I did not. God gave me the cancer to save their lives. There is a Yiddish saying, “Man plans and God laughs”. So, now in my life, I try and go with flow, counsel other breast cancer patients, and be the best me I can. So, if that one little cancer cell left in my body decides to grow again, I’ll be ready.
Alex Wang Pacifica, California http://www.alexwangphotography.com/ The Journey Photography Four 8 x 12 photos $500 Artist Statement: Nancy is a vibrant, healthy, inspiring woman full of hope and energy. Seeing her today, it is difficult to understand what she went through almost 10 years ago, the impact it had, and how she carries it with her. Slowly, through our conversations, I began to understand the journey. Each stage was full of tension and so instead of creating one image, I decided to focus on each part of the journey. The diagnosis came as a shock, like a slap in the face. It was a harsh and raw. But, her family created a cocoon of support around her, held her. This first image is a composite of a piece of wood struck by lightning and the hands of family. Nancy spoke of the treatment in such opposing ways - a huge network of support from family and friends, always expressing their concern, creating community around her, while feeling completely alone. In this image, the trees are her community, bending to support her, but the lines lead to darkness and the unknown. As she began to see the light and moved on to the recovery phase, she felt drawn to water as a metaphor - as the waves continue to lap on the shore, life continues to move forward. She began to see herself as a symbol of hope and resource for others going through cancer. And that leaves the last image...one of expansiveness and and a future that is yet to be written. Listening to Nancyâ€™s story and developing a friendship with her pushed me to be present as I observed the world around me. With that presence came more gratitude and awareness. For that, I am incredibly grateful.
Elena Tochev & John Stumbaugh Elena Tochev Guelph, Ontario Canada Cancer Survivor Fibre Artist ::: Mystical Woman Twist On Cancer: “The only true wisdom lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness and can be reached only through suffering...privation and suffering alone open the mind to all that is hidden to others” - Shaman, Caribou Inuit Tribe, Northern Canada. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2016. The 12 months that followed were deeply intense. I’m now 10 months on the other side, extremely grateful to say the words cancer free. I collaborated with artist and architect, John Stumbaugh, on Four Vignettes through my story and my fibre art, which is greatly influenced by my cancer journey. The fabrics within John’s architectural poplar structure are my first conceptual works of art. My art is a celebration of life, present in a moment of creative consciousness with that which unites us all, nature. When I go deep into a forest, I’m drawn to a greater presence. Through observation, I place my finger on nature’s pulse and forge a connection within a moment of time; the trees, plants, animals and insects, the wind and sun, the patterns, colours and textures, the smells and the vibrations of life. I invite nature to move through me and influence my creative expression with plants and fibres. Interwoven with the fibres of the fabric are the routines and rituals I use on a daily basis to connect with nature. Each is an expression of my inner journey to align with my truest self. Through periods of complete darkness, the struggle of uncertainty and the fear of the unknown, I’ve discovered a place where all that matters is love, light and the experience of being alive.
John Stumbaugh Chicago, Illinois http://www.stumpics.com/brushes-with-cancer.html “Four Vignettes” Wood, metal, natural dyed fabric 42 x 80 x 4 $2,000 Artist Statement: Upon first conversation with my Brushes Inspiration, Elena Tochev, and listening to her describe her own artistic endeavors, I was immediately convinced this was going to be a collaborative art piece. But, how would this work? We didn’t live in the same city. We didn’t even live in the same country! After Elena graciously accepted my offer to partner on this project, it was clear that we both wanted to make art that asked questions. Although we were telling a specific story, an individual’s interpretation was paramount. Starting with a deconstructed map of Elena’s hometown of Guelph, ON, geometries began to appear to represent family, friends, community and the world. Ideas such as facing one’s fears, using your voice, fragility of relationships, transparency, and sharing your story with the world emerged in our process and became articulated through the layering and joining of materials.
Dana Koman & Alexis Radeke Dana Koman Miami, Florida Survivor Twist On Cancer: Dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment is overwhelming, discouraging and unbelievably difficult. I found a support group, both in-person and online, that helped me cope. I also told myself every day, “the cancer is gone and never coming back. Alexis Radeke Boca Raton, Florida “Dana” Charcoal on paper 40 x 56 $800
Artist Statement: When I met Dana, we discussed how she wanted to be depicted in her portrait. I asked her if she wanted to appear vulnerable, sad, angry, strong, sweet, etc. Without hesitation, Dana asserted that she wanted to be portrayed as strong. Dana is strong, and she deserved to be represented in that way. Not only has she, herself, fought cancer, but her mother had stage 1 breast cancer, and her aunt and other friends were also taken too soon by the horrific disease. She describes her cancer as, “horrible,” but is, “truly thankful for the experience,” because without it, she never would have met such wonderful people. Despite her immeasurable loss, Dana thinks positively about her future. This portrait is intended to show not only Dana’s strength, but her kindness. Dana exudes sweetness and warmth. She is so kindhearted that she even adopted the dog of a friend who passed away after a cancer battle. The direct gaze of Dana’s eyes is meant to show her fortitude, while the smile illustrates the joy that she radiates.
Kireina Bell Sancho & Beth Peck Kireina Bell Sancho Boston, MA Survivor Twist on Cancer: Cancer rang my bell and my responsibility was to open that door. I made a choice to welcome it. As it was both unknown and yet so intimate, I did experience a variety of feelings, thoughts and reactions. Again, I welcomed them all. My cancer became my guest, I became its hostess. My cancer became my teacher and gave me the gift of turning me into a blank canvas. I continue to draw in vivid colors, at times slim lines, other times bold strokes. I made a choice to keep my chin lifted and to not invest in worry, as worry was no tool for my healing. I made a choice to be gentle with my cancer. I made a choice to keep fear at a distance, so as to not make decisions based on fear. I made a choice for only positive vibes be a part of me. I MADE A CHOICE. Thus, I have been reborn within the kindness I created with my cancer. I am better for it. I hold nothing towards it but grace. For I am grace. Come what may. I am amazing grace. Beth Peck â€œKireinaâ€? Pastel on Wallis paper 24 x 36 $2,000
Artist Statement: Getting to know Kireina has been an honor and privilege. Kireina has a wonderful Instagram page, @wildgrace.grit.magic, where she takes you through her entire journey of breast cancer and oophorectomy as well as her struggle with being bipolar. I enjoyed everything from the beautiful photographs of the deliciously healthy food she eats, to the videos of her dancing and singing. I enjoyed hearing her speak Spanish and learning about her homeland of Quito, Ecuador. Our conversations were so connected and honest. Her outgoing approach to her cancer fascinates me. I admire the brave way she has shared her story. Frida Kahlo is Kireinaâ€™s favorite artist and this resonated with me. Kireina inspired me to think of lushness, beauty and bounty. I wanted a feeling of abundance, magic and strength. Kireina has several tattoos I wanted in the drawing. She has a heart tattoo on her chest and a goat tattoo with flowers on her left thigh. She thinks of the goat as her spirit animal during chemo. Her wrist tattoo is the equatorial line, Ecuador and Galapagos Islands. Finally, there is a tattoo on the fourth finger of her right hand. As a border design, I wanted to put the little fertility symbol she has on her site representing the loss of her ovaries. I enjoyed working on this project and getting to know Kireina. It has enriched my life. 35
Marcus Fitzgerald & Alyssa Judlo Marcus Fitzgerald Arizona Caregiver Twist On Cancer: My twist on cancer is how my perspective on life really changed for the better when seeing my mother battle breast cancer throughout her life. I would love for others to hear about how courageous my mom was throughout the cancer process as she went through with chemotherapy, losing her hair and also continuing to make life as normal as she could for my immediate family and friends. In dealing with this disease, I never once saw her complain, cry or give off any negative energy while she battled with cancer. This truly my changed perspective on how I would go about my life from then on. Knowing what she went through, I knew I had a mission to serve others by sharing the same love and light that she shared with those around her. I continue to live on by carrying her legacy of love and cancer/breast cancer awareness by being proactive, doing at-home self-exams to better understand risk factors. Thank you to Twist Out Cancer for allowing me to share this platform!
Alyssa Judlo Chicago, Illinois www.AlyssaJudlo.com Paint 48 x 36 $350
Artist Statement: The life lessons that Marcus Fitzgerald’s mother instilled within him continue to fuel his life today. As a social worker at the State Health Department, Carol Fitzgerald’s job was to inform patients when they tested positive for HIV. It was the way she made others feel, despite their diagnosis, that made her so unique. Carol was an extraordinarily compassionate person who could light up any room she walked into with her vivacious spirit and her love of life. She strove to always see the best in every situation. Her faith and her deep love of her family helped fuel her strength during her battle with breast cancer. Marcus was her cheerleader through it all, making her proud with his athletic achievements and good grades. It was his own passion for music, sports and reading that helped get him through the tough days. Marcus continues to honor his mother by living a life of meaning, always being grateful, living in the moment, cherishing family, continually learning and knowing in his heart that she would be honored by the man he came to be. Carol’s legacy lives on through her husband and two sons Larry and Marcus Fitzgerald. 36
Nichole Olson & Ashley Koss Nichole Olson Bloomington, Illinois Two-time breast cancer Survivor Twist On Cancer: Life comes with many challenges and unfortunately, this happens to be mine. I was just 27 with my first gut blow of “you have cancer” and 31 when the beast returned for a second round. Battling breast cancer not once, but twice, has made me the person I am today. I realize just how quickly things can change and how my voice was never really loud enough. I have gone from being a quiet, follow-the-leader type of person to someone who marches right up to the leader and says, “move out of my way”. Ashley Koss Billings, Montana “Breathe” Acrylic on canvas 8 x 10 (2) $300 Artist Statement: Nichole is an incredible inspiration. Talking about her journey, I was impressed by her ability to focus on trying to stay in the moment and focus on today, especially for her son. She spoke of the constant worry in the back of her mind, the never ending fear of what might happen at her next doctor’s visit. The inspiration for the artwork came from talking to Nichole about what means the most to her. Every day the sun comes up and it’s another chance for her to celebrate another day with her family.
Rika Cargill & Hayley Serruya Rika Cargill Nassau, Bahamas Survivor Twist on Cancer: I am a 4 year breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed on August 24, 2012 with stage 3 breast cancer. My twist on cancer is to live and love the life you live. Don’t think of the things you didn’t do. Think of all the wonderful things you’ve done, and the things you want to do. Think of the countless blessings that God has given you without even asking. See the good in everything and live. The purpose of life is what you do in life! Share your life with others, with families and friends. Share not to gain but to positively impact another person’s life. So, with every circumstance, think as you want it to be and live as you want. As you think, so shall it be. Fight boldly and never give up on God because he never gives up on you! Hayley Serruya Chicago, Illinois “I Am the Cure” Mixed Media 12 x 12 $175
Artist Statement: Rika is an explosion of positivity and beauty. She is a strong fighter that I was honored to get to know. Listening to Rika’s perseverance and unwavering positivity was a refreshing experience. She is a sage. The work expresses the idea of Rika’s organization, “I am the Cure”. Out of the void can come beauty and color and sparkles!
Annie Gilmartin and Michael Gilmartin & Andrea Milner Annie Gilmartin Chicago, Illinois Caregiver Twist on Cancer: I am so honored to once again be a part of Brushes with Cancer. The works of art that are created from the stories survivors and caregivers share are nothing short of brilliant. When my dad was diagnosed 6 years ago, it was the scariest time in my life. I am so happy he is now a survivor and we are both here to serve as inspiration for this artwork. Michael Gilmartin Villa Park, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: Never give up! A cliche, I know, but attitude is absolutely everything when it comes to dealing with cancer, no matter how you’re affected by it. Seeing how overwhelming the process can be, I just tried to get through one day at a time, and sometimes just one hour at a time, to help me make it through my treatments. Now, 6 years cancer free, helping others deal with their illness is a priority and something I feel I was put in this position to do. Andrea Milner Chicago, Illinois “Rock On: Like Father, Like Daughter” Athletic Tape, Graphite & Watercolor on Wood 11 x 14 (2) $350.00 Artist Statement: Mike, an athletic trainer of 40+ years spends everyday caring for the student-athletes, myself included, that have filtered through his training room. The base of the piece, athletic tape, is a reference to the millions of miles of athletic tape Mike has used throughout the years, but it is also symbolic of the bond that Mike has with his daughter Annie, his family, and his UIC family. Mike’s ability to connect with his student-athletes goes far beyond the athletic tape he uses to wrap ankles. His genuine, caring and kind qualities become apparent from the moment you meet him. 39
Melissa Tang and Rebekah Garfukel Melissa Tang Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: I have learned that every moment is a gift. That God can get you the darkest of storms. I have also learned that it’s important to have a good support system. I appreciate my family and husband more than words can say. Thank you. Rebekah Garfukel Philadelphia www.naughtydame.com Punch fear in the face 20 x 16 Shadow box $80
Artist Statement: This is an illustration that I’ve created inspired by an extremely strong, ambitious, kind and talented woman named Melissa Tang. Melissa, who is going through the ugly stages of cancer has stood by her motto throughout all the ugly phases which is “punch fear in the face.” Since she found out she had cancer, she decided to wear a necklace with a boxing glove charm on it, which helps give her strength as well as serves as a reminder that she is a fighter and that she will in fact “ punch fear in the face”. After getting to know her, I’ve noticed that she is not only beautiful and feminine but strong as well which is why I illustrated her in the time that she lost all her hair, wearing her necklace, boxing gloves and a crown. And although she is going through so much pain, she continues to inspire others going through cancer through her powerful women’s empowerment T-shirt line and through her social media. I surrounded her with beautiful, royal silk looking flowers because despite what she is going through she still sees the world around her as a beautiful place and continues to pray, to focus on what she does have and staying positive. Melissa Tang is a true queen fighter and because of her strength and dignity that she’s kept throughout, she will undoubtably fight this battle!
Ashley Taff & Arianna Quan Ashley Taff Chicago, Illinois Caregiver Twist on Cancer: Unfortunately, cancer has been in my life in many different forms with many different loved ones. I have seen many beautiful souls pass away from this terrible disease and all I want at this point is to kick cancerâ€™s ass! With all the sadness, I have to remember that there was always so much love. I will miss all the people in my life dearly that have lost their life to this disease and I will never give up trying to honor them by fighting to help find a cure. Among all the darkness that cancer brings, there has been one shining light for me. It has taught me to love deeply, to be passionate every day about life and to always let people know just how much I care about them. It also taught me that life can be unexpectedly short and to cherish every moment I have along with every moment I encounter with others; you just never know how much time that will be. I am no longer afraid to live life to the fullest, as this was a promise I made to my father before he passed and I remember it always. I want to thank all of you for being so passionate along with me and to all those that have survived this disease, you are the bravest people I know and I admire you. I am so glad to have Twist Out Cancer as a place to go to in order to surround myself with so many amazing people! Arianna Quan
Brushes with Cancer This image was not available at the time we went to press. Look for it at the exhibition.
Stephanie Barrett & Cameron Wood Stephanie Barrett Northwest Arkansas Survivor
Cameron Wood Detroit, Michigan “Beauty in Any Form” Oil painting 15.5 x 19.5 x .5 $300 Artist Statement: My inspiration, Stephanie, has had a pretty crazy journey. She’s had lots of ups and downs, and in the end, always comes out on top. I wanted to depict the biggest stride she’s had along the journey. When my inspiration didn’t get reconstructive surgery, she didn’t let it affect her; in fact, she felt more beautiful than before. So, I wanted to depict that women can look beautiful no matter what.
Nicole Dunn & Teresa Moore Nicole Dunn Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: I was diagnosed with stage 3B hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) in November 2016, when I was 32 years old. My doctors told me I had a zero percent chance of ever beating my cancer, but guess what? I’m still here AND as of February 1, 2017, I’m cancer free! Life lesson - doctors aren’t always right and never take no for an answer! On that horrible night I was diagnosed, I decided I wasn’t going to let cancer win. I wasn’t going to be a statistic. Since then, I started a blog to document my journey, met my brilliant, miracle-worker surgeon who took a chance on me when no one else would, had a liver resection and removed 75% of my liver along with a 15 pound tumor and haven’t looked back! The journey by no means was an easy one, and it’s still not over yet. I have to be closely monitored every three months because of the high likelihood of a recurrence, but I came out the other side a warrior and a survivor. All odds were stacked against me and for some reason, I beat them! Because of cancer, my relationships with friends and family are so much deeper and every milestone and celebration is much more meaningful. Through adversity, I developed a strength that I never knew I could possibly possess and I now look at life under a much different lens. The mind is a very powerful thing and cancer will never defeat me! Teresa Moore Atlanta, GA facebook.com/heartsongsart “Fight in the Chaos” Acrylic 24 X 36 $300.00
Artist Statement: Before I got off the phone with Nicole for the first time, I knew she was a fighter and God had already given me vision of what I wanted to paint for her. She fought against all the odds to beat hepatocellular carcinoma when all the medical professionals told her to accept it and make her final plans. My art style is very positive. I always aim to inspire people with what I paint. But, this time it was me who was inspired to step out of my comfort zone as I took on the challenge of painting a person. Nicole was a ballerina when she was young, so it seemed natural that I paint a ballerina wearing boxing gloves. The gray background represents the chaos that was surrounding her and the white represents her fighting spirit kicking and punching her way out of the chaos. To me, Nicole represents everything that is strong, brave and inspiring. 43
Katie Kennealy-Pierczynski & Katie Hosier Katie Kennealy-Pierczynski Champaign, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: Through my experience, I have learned that I’m stronger than I ever imagined. Unfortunately, as a side-effect of my cancer, I was paralyzed from the chest down and the doctors were unsure if I’d ever walk again. I knew that as a 36 year old wife and mother of an 18 month old, this was NOT an option for me. Due to the rareness of my cancer and the need to be treated at the world-renowned Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern, it also meant that I would need to physically be separated from my family, which was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Thankfully, my husband and I are both originally from Chicago, so I was able to rely heavily on my parents and his, along with our extended families, in order to get through this incredibly difficult time. I FaceTime’d with my husband and daughter every night and lived for the weekends in order to see them. It was through sheer perseverance and stubbornness that not only did I start a very strong chemo and radiation regimen for my Ewing’s Sarcoma, but I also learned to walk again unassisted. I attribute my tenacity to fight and survive both of these battles to knowing that I was NEVER going to leave my sweet little girl without her Mama. My life literally changed overnight and I now wake up each morning incredibly grateful for what I have and even more thankful for my family that made me survive.
Katie Hosier Chicago, Illinois “Supta Matsyendrasana (soop-TAH MOTS-yen-DRAHS-anah)” Recyclables and Mixed Media 18 x 60 $500 Artist Statement: If you were to look up Katie Keannely in a Webster’s Dictionary there would be a definition of strong, courageous, stubborn, positive, beautiful, adaptable, competitive and inspiring next to her name. She has gone beyond inspiring me on our journey together, she’s changed my life for the better with her moving and heartening battle, story, and twist not only on cancer, but on paralysis and more. The piece I created in her honor is called, “Supta Matsyendrasana,” (soop-TAH MOTS-yen-DRAHS-anah) – in Sanskirt, it means reclined spinal twist to help restore balance. I felt a two-dimensional piece of art would not suffice or do her and her story justice. I chose to build an abstract sculpture of the spine…with a twist – literally. I ended up being drawn to the spine not only because it is the central area of her body affected by the disease, but also because the spinal column provides form, function and support for the body. It is the perfect literal and figurative depiction and timeline of Katie’s story. Katie has an army of support, which is represented in the piece. Each of the vertebrate signify a source of support or a trial and tribulation she conquered. I incorporated the pattern of a giraffe into the piece – her spirit animal. Many of the giraffe spots host handwritten text depicting a piece of her recovery. Other giraffe spots are left blank, for her, her family and loved ones to fill in at their own discretion. The piece is personal and larger than life…because that is what Katie is.
Allie Brudner & Lindi Turok Gold Allie Brudner Jersey City, New Jersey Survivor Twist On Cancer: Cancer is a reminder. A reminder that life is precious. A reminder that nothing is more important than the ones you love. A reminder to surround yourself with positivity and to remain optimistic in the darkest of times. A reminder of your own strength and courage. It shines a light on the luck you still have in the unluckiest of situations. It somehow makes you feel the most alive in your unhealthiest moments. Cancer will not define me, but it will remind me that I am strong, I am lucky, and I am alive. Lindi Turok Gold New York City, New York www.lindidesigns.com “Fuel for the Journey” Acrylic and Mixed Media 36 x 48 $1,250
Artist Statement: Allie shared with me her journey with Cancer - her strength and positivity is so inspiring and moving. I was energized to paint “Fuel for the Journey” based on her story of how she was touched by cancer. When asked what came to mind when she thought of her cancer, she saw neon pink because of the medicine that was injected into her body during chemo and she saw metallics because of the metallic taste in her mouth during the treatment. When I asked Allie what her twist on cancer was she said, “Cancer is a reminder. A reminder that life is precious. A reminder that nothing is more important than the ones you love. A reminder to surround yourself with positivity and to remain optimistic in the darkest of times. A reminder of your own strength and courage. It shines a light on the luck you still have in the unluckiest of situations. It somehow makes you feel the most alive in your unhealthiest moments. Cancer will not define me, but it will remind me that I am strong, I am lucky, and I am alive.” 46
Sarah Falk & Caren Helene Rudman Sarah Falk Kankakee, Illinois Two-time Cancer Survivor Twist On Cancer: Through two cancer experiences, one as a child and one as a mother, I have learned that there is no meaningless suffering. There are miracles in the midst of suffering if we only look for them. I have learned to not only acknowledge my pain, but to acknowledge the blessings and the beauty as well. Caren Helene Rudman Chicago, Illinois www.carenhelenerudman.com “The Real Me” Mixed media on canvas 30 x 40” $2,800
Artist Statement: Working with Sarah has been an amazing experience, an extension of my own journey and work. Several years ago, I started an ongoing project called Redefining Beauty Project, a collaboration with women across the world who share images of themselves after enduring surgeries, biopsies, or radiation. The mixed media images are not shocking or disturbing, but rather they help all of us see the beauty of what lies beneath the surface. Breast and ovarian cancer are uniquely linked to external archetypes of femininity and when bodies are altered, identity is often affected. Like the clothes and bras that cover the scars to make us feel “normal”, and “like ourselves again”, the series reveals the layers that reflect the complexities of accepting our imperfect bodies. This piece is a continuation of the project, allowing Sarah to share her story of transformation both through her imagery and her writing. In spite of the theme about cancer, which one may perceive as dark or depressing, my work examines how art has the ability to heal both mentally and physically from the metaphoric and literal cancers in our lives.
Grace Fauls Lombardo & Bowen Kline Grace Fauls Lombardo Northbrook, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: I was diagnosed with stage 2a non-BRCA breast cancer as a very healthy, 35 year old mother of 3 small children. After my cancer diagnosis, everything happened so quickly. Within weeks I had a bilateral mastectomy and a subsequent second surgery to remove more nodes. Next came a nasty infection followed by 12 weeks of chemotherapy and reconstructive surgery. Through it all, there were a few constants that helped me traverse my ‘year of cancer’. First was the overwhelming love and support of my family and friends, most notably my sister, Jennie. She stopped her life to keep me alive. She cared for me so tenderly and meticulously. The closeness we cultivated is a lucky byproduct of the disease. In the very early days after diagnosis, my sister encouraged me to start a blog, a way to keep family and friends within the loop. What started as a way to disseminate information, turned into something much larger. Blogging about my experiences and feelings gave me an outlet I had no idea I needed. True to my nature, I was extremely open and honest in my writing and though I was walking through fire, I managed to infuse each entry with humor, which was part storytelling and part coping mechanism. Through the power of sharing and the internet, my blog grew exponentially. Since inception, my blog has had over 130,000 visitors. The impact I have been able to have on strangers who have been touched by a cancer odyssey is truly a gift.
Bowen Kline Romeo, Michigan www.bowenkline.com “Bombs Away” Oil/Collage 36 x 36 Custom frame provided by Brad Young at BYoungWoodWorks and Art. $2,600.00 Artist Statement: I would like to introduce everyone to Amazing Grace Fauls Lombardo. A year ago she was given unexpected and unwelcome news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This was shocking, because she believed herself to be healthy and energetically pursuing her life with her family. To help cope with this distressing news, Grace began to write. And write she did! She started her blog, Grancer, a playful mash-up of Grace and cancer, as a way to describe her feelings during this terrible time. She spoke of pain and anger as well as finding humor. It was her writing that broke her through her depression. 48
Merrily Seranian & Valerie Paige Smith Merrily Seranian Royal Oak, Michigan Survivor Twist On Cancer: Being diagnosed with breast cancer took my life and turned it upside down. I was not only fighting for my life but for the life of my unborn child. We were both strong and unstoppable going through treatment and that still holds true to this day. A cancer diagnosis is devastating to say the least. I’m still processing everything that has happened to me emotionally and physically. Fortunately, I’m not alone. I have the support of my loving family and friends. The new friendships that I’ve made since being diagnosed have been such a comfort during difficult times. Cancer has made me appreciate every day that I am here. Each and every day is a blessing that should be cherished and lived to its fullest. Cancer has also taught me that I’m one strong bad-ass woman and for that, I am beyond thankful. Valerie Paige Smith Novi, Michigan “Joy and Honesty” Mixed Media 30 x 24 $100
Artist Statement: When speaking with Merrily for the first time, I was struck by her optimism and her honesty about her story. This first conversation only lasted for a few minutes over the phone, but I felt uplifted and inspired and immediately began planning my art piece. I wanted to capture Merrily’s joyful spirit, her honesty, and her ability to persevere and remain true to herself. I began by making several abstract watercolor paintings using Merrily’s favorite colors, blue and green. I then cut these paintings into flowers and strung them onto a branch to incorporate her love for nature. The process of making and assembling many pieces into a unit, of working and reworking the materials, was both frustrating and rewarding. From my background in art therapy, I believe the process of art-making is just as important as the finished product. When creating this art piece, I wanted to have an honest experience of taking different pieces and materials and unifying them into a cohesive whole. I hoped this method would reflect Merrily’s story and the way she has taken her experiences, both good and bad, and created a beautiful life for herself and her son. 49
Monica Shea Bidwill & Michele Kellner Monica Shea Bidwill Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: I was diagnosed with Leukemia after I had a seizure in my house. I was very lucky to have an amazing support network of family and friends who found me before the seizure caused permanent damage. Throughout my journey, it became crystal clear that my support system made a massive difference for me. Organizations like Twist Out Cancer are working to create network and community that are there to help not only individuals touched by cancer, but their friends and family, too. I am so happy to have found Twist Out Cancer! Michele Kellner Chicago, Illinois “A Rooted Flight” Photography 42 x 36 $2500 Artist Statement: Monica’s life, deeply rooted by family and friendship, and highly colored by her own gorgeous bright spiritual energy, inspired this piece titled, “A Rooted Flight”.
Roberta Moran Ryan & Catherine Chinnock Roberta Moran Ryan Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: This is a journey beyond what I ever could have comprehended. One minute my life was going along at a comfortable pace and in an instant it came crashing down. Cancer is a dreadful, dreadful diagnosis, but the odds were in my favor for a full recovery. Chemotherapy is not something I wish on anybody. It wrecks havoc on your mind, body and soul and is not for the kindhearted. Chemo is a process that robs you of yourself at times, and at other times makes you realize that what you have is the most incredible support system that keeps you afloat. My utmost thanks to my family, who never in their dreams expected to deal with a situation like this. Their support and love and sadness have touched me in a way that I cannot express. A job well done. It was difficult on them, it is difficult for me...but as a family we continue to show our strength. Catherine Chinnock Chicago, Illinois Instagram: 7CreativeLLC “Defying Darkness” Mixed Media 24 x 48 $150
Artist Statement: I met Roberta shortly after she completed her last round of Chemo and she was finishing healing from a rotator cuff injury that was connected to her having a mastectomy. I learned about her struggle of moving through the darkness that is cancer and I admired her strength and the support that she received from her family. She shared with me a painting that she started which she intended to use to document her journey, but she found herself stuck. We agreed to create our piece together and came up with a plan to document her journey of defying the darkness that she found herself struggling through. Roberta and I worked together in conceptualizing and problem-solving the piece and created different components in tandem. The molds of her hands allowed us space to connect and required her to be still while I worked. The piece was not assembled together, but in stitching the ladder and the hands to one another and to the canvas, I couldn’t help but to think of the hope that was brought from Roberta’s friends and family, holding her as she moved through what can be a very lonely and arduous journey. 51
Terry Gillespie & Bowen Kline Terry Gillespie Westmont, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: When diagnosed with lung cancer, I thought my life was over. I told the doctors that I didn’t want them to give me an expiration date, that I was going to die like I was supposed to, in my sleep, in my 80s. Since then, I have been trying to live my life to the fullest. I have been more positive and have not dwelled on the small stuff, because life’s way too short. I limit my stress and enjoy the second chance I have been given at life. I feel there is no such thing as false hope. If you believe, it can happen!! Bowen Kline Romeo, Michigan www.bowenkline.com “TerrAFORM” Oil 24”x24” $2,000 Artist Statement: I would like to introduce you to Terry Gillespie. She is a Lung Cancer survivor going on 14yrs. She lives strong everyday with one lung and vocal cord. Terry is the living embodiment of the famous quote “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” The hardships in her life have brought out her inner voice. She lives her life with the understanding that “Everyday is a Good Day”. I chose to paint a straight up portrait of Terry. I want the viewer to experience an emotional connection. To almost hear her tell her story. The title “TerrAFORM” is based on the idea of reshaping an environment to better suit ones needs. Terry was brought into her current world, not by her choice, so she decided that in order for her to live she will reshape the world around her.
Trusha Bhatt & Rachel Todd Trusha Bhatt Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: They call it the ‘Big C’ for a reason. Because it is probably the biggest thing that’ll ever happen to you. Bigger than graduating. Bigger than getting your dream job. Bigger than getting married or having children. They call it the ‘Big C’ because if you can fight it, you can fight anything the universe throws at you. It makes all the other big events in your life even more precious, special, and amazing. As a two-time cancer survivor, my Twist on Cancer is to dream as big as you can. Love as big as you can. Adventure as big as you can. And live as big as you can. Rachel Todd Chicago, Illinois http://rachelrosetodd. wixsite.com/racheltodd “Beyond Four Walls” Acrylic 32 x 27 $550
Artist Statement: Getting to know Trusha has been such a privilege. She is one of the most resilient and powerful women I have ever met. Her spirit exudes light. After our first meeting, I realized nothing would ever stop her from chasing after her passions. She is always traveling, always trying new things, always learning and always expanding her horizons. When I went to sit down to brainstorm how to capture Trusha’s expansive story, I could not get past my amazement at how broad and rich her life is. It is incredible to imagine her as a young, immunosuppressed girl, trapped in her purple bedroom with her Harry Potter books and her Dave Matthew’s Band music helping her escape those four walls. Today, nothing and no one can contain her adventurous spirit. No longer does she simply read about adventure - she lives it! 53
Kari Smith & Tovah Goodman Kari Smith Survivor Twist on Cancer: I was diagnosed in 2012. My statement comes from a song “this is my fight song, take back my life song, I’m alright song , and I don’t really care what anyone else believes, cause I still know I have got a lot of life left in me. Tovah Goodman Chicago, Illinois “I Will Be Here” Song Artist Statement: The mixture of emotions felt when living with cancer day to day can seem overwhelming, but when those feelings are embraced, there is a new light that is shown. This song addresses the complexities of thoughts surrounding fighting cancer. In the end, the most important thing is to still be alive. Working with Kari, we dove into the struggles and strengths in each day and the importance of embracing a larger purpose. “I Will Be Here” I’m blessed I’m thankful I’m strong and free I’m tired I’m frustrated I’m wrong and weak I’m light I’m dark I’m sunrise, sunset Day in Day out I will take one step at a time I will be here, be here still I will be here now I trust the process Trust my path The journey’s halfway there Miles to go
The moments pass True faith makes it so So I will be here, be here still I will be here now I say these words Until I believe they are true In my head Guiding me what to do I say these words I have a feeling the light will shine through What do I deserve I’m here so I must have things to do And I will be here, be here still I will be here now
Lindsay Goldstein & Caitlin Cartwright Lindsay Goldstein Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: Cancer was a dark cloud over my life, but it came with silver linings. I was only 19 years old when I was diagnosed and going through surgery, chemo, etc. helped me get to know myself better than ever before. My cancer blog for family and friends provided the gateway to a journalism career and a career in public relations and writing. Losing my hair helped me to understand what beauty truly is. I’m a happier and more fulfilled person today because I’ve fought through one of the toughest things any human can experience. Caitlin Cartwright Dayton, Ohio Caitlincartwright.com “What’s Left” Latex, Acrylic, Collage on Paper 11 x 14 (2) $750 Artist Statement: This piece, inspired by Lindsay’s experience, is about the transformation that takes place within a person after trauma; about accepting the past and how it’s shaped the person you are now.
Teresa Nehra & Helen Gebregiorgis Teresa Nehra Detroit, Michigan Caregiver Twist on Cancer: Cancer is a terrible ordeal, regardless of who you are or where you’re from. This project was more difficult than I thought it would be. It reopened some emotional wounds that I don’t like to think about. But, it also reminded me of the capacity that people have for kindness, and of the strength that I was able to tap into during the worst time of my life. Helen Gebregiorgis “Seeds of Rebirth” Photograph 14 x 11 $125 Artist Statement: “Seeds of Rebirth” was inspired through my connection with Terese Nehra. In this piece I chose to layer images, to create a sense of visual memories. The piece represents the gift of new life, the importance of being present, and honouring the simple moments.
Lisa Blankenship & Vikram Krishnamurthy Lisa Blankenship Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: As I studied my way through medical school, I looked forward to the day when I could listen to patients and offer support and counseling. Less than half way through my schooling, I found myself, instead, the patient looking for hope and advice. While I hope that I would have been a caring physician without ever having cancer, I found out just how vulnerable it is to be a patient and this has changed me. My twist on cancer is that I hope to turn everything I’ve experienced into better care for my future patients. Being able to use my experience to help others, gives me some purpose while going through the grind of cancer treatment and life in its aftermath. I hope that my future patients will benefit from the understanding and renewed determination I have gained along the way. Vikram Krishnamurthy Cleveland, Ohio “It’s a Beast” Cotton canvas, graphic pencil, colored pencil, commercial marker, acrylic paint, spray paint 36 x 48 $1,200 Artist Statement: This work represents insurmountable odds - facing them, challenging them, overcoming them and ultimately, existing with them. “The Beast” represents a symbiosis with these odds. Lisa, a former wildlife biologist and current medical student, is acutely aware of the balance between humans and nature and between life and death. Her experience with cancer taught her the extent of her resilience and exactly how “bad-ass” she could be. She now says, “yes” to more experiences and adventures, despite how daunting they may seem. Fundamentally, it is after we are confronted with life’s greatest obstacles that our true character and grit reveals herself.
Olivia Silver & Amy Ginn Olivia Silver Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: Having breast cancer taught me the importance of inner strength, faith, laughter and hope. It also showed me the importance of making my life meaningful and giving back to my community and those in need. We only get one life and we can’t take it for granted. We must celebrate life by paying it forward. Having cancer sucks and it was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. But I was very lucky to have friends and family in my corner during and post-cancer. When going through treatment, I learned the importance of finding little ways to experience joy, whether it’s seeing a concert, going shopping or eating chocolate. Post-cancer I’m learning that I don’t have to have life figured out. I just need to get up each morning and try to be the best version of myself. I continue to look for little pieces of joy each day. Amy Ginn Chicago, Illinois “In Her Words” Acrylic 33 x 17 $500 Artist Statement: Olivia is beautiful and so is her writing. Meeting her and getting the opportunity to hear her story has blessed me in so many ways. I’m a graphic designer by trade and felt it only natural to blend my love for type with her talent for words. In this piece, I pulled lines from three stages of her experience. Beginning - “I don’t understand why this is happening to me.” Middle - “I’m tired.” End - “Cancer can’t take away my inner strength.” May her experienced words help the current struggles we all have.
Gudrun Wu Snyder & Elizabeth Wirick Gudrun Wu Snyder Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: My Twist on Cancer is to trust your gut. The first sign of my cancer was a dime-sized dimple in my right breast. Though my OB/Gyn did not feel a lump or see a significant change in my breasts, she trusted that I saw it. From that point on, I learned that I am my most powerful health advocate. I also learned that your family is everything. My husband was my rock and my daughter was my sunshine. Elizabeth Wirick Hazel Park, Michigan https://www.instagram.com/bethwirick_art/ â€œPrecious Tea Timeâ€? Acrylic on canvas 24 x 18 $350 Artist Statement: Going into this project, I never expected to be painting something so bright and whimsical. Upon talking with Gudrun, all of that changed. Her bright and cheerful personality alone was enough to steer me in the direction I wound up taking with this painting. She told me that one of her biggest distractions while having cancer was her daughter and one of her favorite activities was to take her daughter out for fancy tea dates. After seeing a few pictures, I understood why and immediately knew I wanted to incorporate that into this piece. The colors are bright and sweet like their relationship. All of the objects floating through space are a reminder of what a lonely battle cancer can be, even with an immense amount of support. One of the tea cups is cracked, but even that is shining, to show that in times of darkness and pain we can still heal and use it as an opportunity to be advocates for our own health.
Matt Lampson & Dr. David Turok Matt Lampson Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist on Cancer: I was diagnosed with stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2007. I was treated with BEACOPP and 24 rounds of radiation therapy and finished treatment in March of 2008. Cancer was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Cancer is the reason I am where I am today. It forced me to recognize what is truly important to me in life and what my priorities, values, and passion was. Cancer created a drive in me that propels me to be better to this day. Dr. David Turok Chicago, Illinois www.davidturokart.com “Lampstrong” Acrylic on Canvas with Art Resin overcoat 30 x 40 (2) $4,000
Artist Statement: Matt Lampson is the starting Goalkeeper of the Chicago Fire, but that is not what defines him. Everyone wants to make soccer and goalkeeping out to be the guiding light that got him through his fight with Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 17. But, all Matt really wanted at the time was to go back to a life that was normal. He spoke of friends that didn’t know how to treat him when he had cancer so they just moved on with their normal lives. All Matt wanted was to get back to normal himself, but Cancer didn’t allow that to be so easy. Matt’s fight hit home as my dad had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was 21. My dad still has residual medical issues from the heavy radiation they treated patients with at the time. Matt also talked about how terrible the cancer treatments were. But, it wasn’t soccer that got him through the treatments. It was his family, his two cavalier king charles spaniels, and it was his drive to get back to normal. For Matt, playing soccer happened to be his normal. He now sees soccer as a platform to spread his message to other kids who are going through cancer through his Lampstrong foundation. Pictured in the painting are his two custom Lampstrong foundation goalie gloves, violet and lime green, the colors of Hodgkins and Lymphoma, and a background of “Suck it Cancer”, his foundation’s tagline. After every Chicago Fire soccer game, Matt invites young kids with Cancer onto the field with him. His primary objective is to show them a good time and not to treat them like cancer patients, to treat them like the normal kids that they are. 60
Lauren Hubert Smoke & Dr. David Turok Lauren Hubert Smoke Chicago, Illinois May her memory always be for a blessing. “Even though I was diagnosed with cancer during my first pregnancy last year, I’ll still remember it as the best year of my life. I remember it as the year of love. The year I surprised myself with my own strength. The year I fought back with my miracle baby, Nico. I am grateful for every second with the little warrior who saved my life.”
Dr. David Turok Chicago, Illinois www.davidturokart. com “Nico’s Kidcollab” Acrylic on Canvas 40 x 30 Not for Sale Artist Statement: Eight months ago Lauren Hubert Smoke, a dear friend of the Twist Family, found out she had Stage 4 Breast Cancer. This was a recurrence. She was first diagnosed while she was pregnant with her son, Nico. She had survived her first bout with cancer and Nico was her trophy. When her Cancer returned, Nico was 16 months old. With the help of my sister in law, Joelle, we did a painting with Nico, Lauren and her husband, Ian. The background of the painting is Nico’s artwork. He jumped, rolled and kicked the paint on the canvas to make an amazing abstract colorful background. When Nico wouldn’t smile for photos, Lauren sang him, “twinkle twinkle” and it sent chills down our spines. Lauren and I came up with a design for my painting over Nico’s masterpiece. It would be a celebration of her original fight. When pregnant, she had a photo taken with an elephant henna tattoo on her belly. The painting is an homage to that photo. But in this version, a baby elephant is being pulled by his mom. But in reality, I think it was the other way around. Nico pulled Lauren through her Cancer fight. Two months ago, I emailed Lauren tell her the painting was finished. She had been so excited to see the final product. I never heard back. The next day I received a text message that read, “David, I’m so sorry, Lauren passed away last night.” I hope this piece will be a reminder for Ian and Nico of how important they were to Lauren. 61
Eshall Malik & David Turok Eshall Malik Chicago, Illinois Survivor
Dr. David Turok Chicago, Illinois www.davidturokart.com â€œRonaldâ€? Acrylic on Canvas 48 x 36 $250 Artist Statement: Eshall is a 3 year old girl with more energy and a brighter smile than any 3 year old I have ever met. Within seconds of meeting her, the large brown nevus that covers the majority of her face just disappears. You see right past it and just see a beautiful, young, innocent, fun loving 3 year old girl.
Erin Brown & Joelle Bilow Erin Brown New Providence, The Bahamas Survivor Twist On Cancer: My twist on Cancer is one of gratitude. Before being diagnosed with OsteoSarcoma, I thought I was living life to MY FULLEST! Oh, was I wrong. I was merely aware, awake and engaged. My journey during my fight was one of exploration of self. I spent days and nights in places in my mind I never knew existed. I built forts, hid behind walls, shattered stereotypes and lit dark places all to come out the journey changed, renewed and upgraded. Yes, along the way I have lost family members, loved ones, hope, dreams, stability and security and can’t forget - A LEG! Yet I gain a tribe, a life partner, new perception, spontaneity and adventure. Oh, and I can’t forget LOVE. Love for myself, my moments, my thoughts and all in my journey. My twist is that whenever my time on this earth ends, I’ll know cancer became the tool that was used to birth GRATITUDE. Joelle Bilow Chicago, Illinois https://www.instagram.com/bethwirick_art/ “The Gift” Acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 $1800 Artist Statement: Some people are lucky to be given a second chance at life, that to me is a gift. It’s up to you if you choose that gift. Erin, my inspiration, was given a gift, a second chance to live. She has never taken this gift for granted. In spite of having one leg, she chooses to run . In spite of having had cancer, she chooses to share her story with others to inspire and effectuate change. Erin, thank you for sharing your gift with me. 63
Suzanne Gauvreau & Douglas Jones Suzanne Gauvreau Roseville, Michigan Survivor Twist on Cancer: Keep moving forward, don’t let people or situations bring you down. Tomorrow will be another chance to find the doctor, test, researcher, study to turn your diagnosis on its axis and put a positive spin onto it. Help others when you can. Most people have no idea what to say or do so they choose NOTHING over saying or doing what they perceive to be the wrong thing. Educate yourself so that you can be fully informed in decision-making and you will be educating others along the path, even your doctors. If cancer comes back, do it all again. Douglas Jones Detroit, Michigan Douglasjonesart.com “Sparkle On” Mixed Media $1,600
Artist Statement: It is my honor to help share Suzanne Gauvreau’s story for this year’s event to promote survival. Suzanne is surviving her third cancer diagnosis. A music therapist and musician by profession, Suzanne is, in essence, a healer. She believes in healing. On her darkest days she remembers the motto made famous by her friends, “Sparkle On,” which is the title of this work. In the background I painted the visual language for the BRCA1 genomic profile that predisposes Suzanne to cancer. Many layers of diamond dust ‘sparkle’ and resin constructs the many layers of sparkles in Suzanne’s life. As light reflects haphazardly, the sparkles also represent the emerging trends in cancer research not to compete for autonomous glory but to connect for health and collective patient-centered progress. Yellow, for me, represents love. Written on top of the piece are a few of the things that help Suzanne sparkle on.
Danielle Peress & Rena Grosser Danielle Peress Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Survivor Twist On Cancer: My diagnosis has taught me to take everything one day at a time and roll with whatever life throws at me.
Rena Grosser Chicago, Illinois Renag.weebly.com “This Too Shall Pass” Mixed Media 20 x 16 Sold Artist Statement: Dani’s grandmother used to say, “ This Too Shall Pass.” Those defining words are etched in memory on Dani’s inner arm and represented in this art piece. An exchange of colors and textures evoke their family lesson of positive flow. Blending colors create new hues and opportunities to strengthen a life motto. This piece is a reflection of seeing inspiration when it is most needed.
August Spree & Lindsey Toman August Spree Detroit, Michigan Survivor and Caregiver Twist on Cancer: I was diagnosed at only 27 years old (and 8 months pregnant) with a rare type of fatty tissue cancer. My focus was not to let the cancer “have” me, but rather to honor my body and recognize the cancer as a separate entity - not me. After my surgeries, my grandmother, who raised me, was diagnosed with stomach cancer and I helped cook for her throughout her treatment. She passed away 10 months later and the entire direction of my life changed. I became more focused on healthy living and being present in the moment. Cancer caused me to pause and reevaluate my life in a way that I hadn’t before. It was the catalyst that altered the trajectory of my life in such a positive way and taught me to put thought into every moment. I learned that cancer did not “have” me and that I was much more than who believed I was. Lindsey Toman Chicago, Illinois “Sky Above Me, Earth Below Me, and Fire Within Me” Oil Canvas on Canvas 22 x 28 x 1 $450 Artist Statement: Cancer sucks. It is a invader that you must fight. Don’t allow it to own you. Cancer was a catalyst for August to leap to freedom. She saw things differently after her diagnosis. She made changes in her life and now she lives to inspire others. A significant inspiration for August was her grandmother. August was born in Pittsburgh and was raised primarily by her grandmother. Her grandmother was a nurse and she loved birds, especially cardinals. Cancer invaded the both of them. The piece symbolizes a confident August standing with a cardinal, representing her grandmother, ready to take on whatever happens next.
Julie Marder & Chelesea Jenkins Julie Marder Chicago, Illinois Survivor Twist On Cancer: “I am the one thing in my life I can control” – Hamilton. This lyric is both a tribute to how that music transformed my mood during some challenging days and an encapsulation of my twist on cancer. I’m a Type-A, over-planning, control freak. I spent my young adult life doing all the right things, assuming that by 35, my life would be perfectly on track. I could never have guessed that the day before my 35th birthday, I’d be wheeled into an operating room to remove thyroid cancer, only two years after removing an early stage melanoma. I know that I’m profoundly lucky to have only had to face “good kinds of cancer,” but at the same time, I’m coming to terms with the fact that no cancer is really “good.” Meanwhile, I’m internalizing the lesson that, no matter how hard you try, and how much you want to plan, life is simply not something you can control. I’m realizing that with the profoundly scary, negative life surprises, there are equally profoundly wonderful positives. I am profoundly lucky to have been born into my wonderful family, to have met my “besheret” – my soul mate – and to have him and my in-laws in my life forever. So, while I can’t control life, I can control myself, or at least my reaction to life’s surprises. I’m doing everything I can to focus on the good, sing along with Hamilton, and do what I can to help others along their journeys with cancer. Chelesea Jenkins Hartford, CT Art.cheleseajenkins.com “There’s Always Love” Acrylic 36 x 24 $600
Artist Statement: Watch, Wait and Worry. Those words are consistent throughout Julie’s story. Julie’s story started off with the wonderful engagement to now-husband Justin. Soon after, her first diagnosis came. They waited and worried. But Julie married and began her life with Justin. Julie’s journey had setbacks. Then, the second diagnosis came. They again waited, watched and worried. Through that journey, their love and support guided the way. 67
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A MESSAGE FROM JENNA BENN SHERSHER, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF TWIST OUT CANCER Gratitude It has been quite a journey. A journey measured in moments, markers and finish lines. A journey artistically preserved in hypercolor. A journey that may have started with the three words, “you have cancer,” but has continued with, “No Evidence of Disease.” I may not be able to choose the cards that I am dealt but my response, my narrative, my journey, is my choice. Over the last few years, with the help of countless people, we have transformed my story into a larger movement. Twist Out Cancer’s foundation is built on hope, is stabilized by support, and is secured by the belief that when you share, the world opens up. Twist Out Cancer emerged out of desperation, blossomed out of loneliness and grew from despair. Today this movement continues to grow because of you. To the countless friends, family and strangers that lifted me out of the shadows and into the sunlight, I thank you. And to the legions of tiny twisters who believe in Twist Out Cancer, we would not be here without you. We hope you will continue to... Share. Connect. Heal.
In Loving Memory Of Those Who Are No Longer With Us May Their Memory Always Be For a Blessing
Shawn Green Matt Gould Patricia Lundstrom Alex Niles Stephanie Pratt Dan Riordan Lauren Hubert Smoke
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