BRUSHES WITH CANCER
November 3, 2018 Chez 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 1 through a unique art experience.
Twist Out Cancer Board President Jenna Benn Shersher
Advisory Board Joelle Bilow Eryn Bizar Jacqueline Carmody Nikki Dicks Deb Fox Becky Galvez Stephanie Plein Alyssa Judlo Bowen Kline Rachel Kunkel Jennifer Katz Margolis Charles Shaw August Spree Joshua Taustein Dr. David Turok
Board Chair USA Andrew Edelston Board Chairs Canada Dan Hadad and Sharon Marcushamer Past Board Chair USA Alana Dugandzic Executive Board Erin Green Noreen Karadsheh Emma Peck Block
Twist Out Cancer Canada Board President Jenna Benn Shersher
Members at Large April Gibson Tim Richardson Jessica Sharafi Suzanne Cronin
Board Co-Chairs Dan Hadad Sharon Marcushamer
Brushes with Cancer Chicago Founder and Executive Director Jenna Benn Shersher
Host Committee Gudrun Snyder Lynnley Miller Jacqueline Caputo
Co-Chairs Joelle Bilow and Erin Green
Twist Out Cancer Staff Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director Amelia Hanrahan, Program Director 2
Table of Contents Brushes with Cancer Leadership...............................................................................................................................2 What is Twist Out Cancer?..........................................................................................................................................3 What is Brushes with Cancer?...................................................................................................................................4 Message from the Founder........................................................................................................................................6 Welcome to Brushes With Cancer ............................................................................................................................7 Silent Auction Rules ....................................................................................................................................................8 Program.........................................................................................................................................................................9 Participating Speakers.............................................................................................................................................. 10 Emcee and Entertainment........................................................................................................................................ 13 Participating Inspirations and Artists..................................................................................................................... 17 Sponsors .....................................................................................................................................................................78 Closing Statement...................................................................................................................................................... 81 In Loving Memory......................................................................................................................................................82
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 healthy...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 from thousands of people from across the globe, all doing the Twist!. These videos came from people she knew and from 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. 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 online platforms, Brushes with Cancer, Twist-Shops and Health and Wellness programs and events in the community. The App The Twist Out Cancer App connects individuals touched by cancer with our dynamic support community as well as resources. 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 over 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 inspirations and artists have been matched, and over 15,000 people have participated in the celebratory art exhibitions and galas. In addition to our Montreal debut, , Brushes with Cancer has expanded to include programs in in Tel Aviv and Philadelphia. “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. 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 other health focused organizations. Twist has partnered with Whole Foods and Kitchfix to provide nourishing and healthy cooking classes to help inform participants of how to make healthy choices throughout survivorship. The Need “This organization empowers you,” said Alana Dugandzic, a two-time 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, the platform to create, support and inspire. As such, our 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 has a network of over 200 active volunteers serving as ambassadors in Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Montreal. Get Involved Twist Out Cancer is a community that celebrates creativity, encourages engagement, and believes in the importance of giving back. TOC volunteers 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. 5
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.
Welcome to Brushes with Cancer Chicago JOELLE BILOW AND ERIN GREEN - CO-CHAIRS Erin Green I became part of the Twist Out Cancer family in 2014. My late husband, Shawn, was an inspiration for Brushes With Cancer in 2015. After spending just a few minutes around Jenna and the rest of her team, I knew I wanted to get more involved. Over the past several years, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been a part of the organization in many different ways. I have served on the host committee, participated as an inspiration at Brushes with Cancer, joined the Executive Board and now am serving as co-chair of Brushes With Cancer 2018. I will continue to stay involved as long as they will have me. This organization has been so supportive of me and my family, and I want to continue to give back that emotional support to others that have been touched by cancer. Joelle Bilow Two years ago my brother-in- law Dr. David Turok approached me about getting involved with Twist Out Cancer. I love helping others and feel strongly about forging connections through art. My first experience with Twist Out Cancer was photographing Lauren Hubert Smoke, a breast cancer survivor who participated as an inspiration in Brushes with Cancer. She was working with David on a painting that she collaborated on with her son Nico and her husband Ian. Witnessing their collaboration, changed my life forever. Jenna our fearless leader is my inspiration regularly. Her strength is unbelievable, and her love for others is so rare. I am inspired by her undeniable courage. Being a part of Twist is a gift, and I am so grateful that my daughters now know the true meaning of giving back. Welcome Address from Erin Green and Joelle Bilow Share.Connect.Heal- the motto for Twist Out Cancer, rings loudest tonight. This evening is about our inspiration and artistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; journeys being shared through unique pieces of art, about connecting with others that have been touched by cancer, and about allowing oneself to heal from the love and support of those around us. As Co-Chairs of Brushes With Cancer and on behalf of the entire Twist Out Cancer family, we would like to thank the participants for opening up and letting us be part of your story. We hope the connections you have made throughout the program continue to live on through the art and the relationships that have been created. To all those who are attending, thank you for support in helping us further Brushes with Cancer here in Chicago. We hope you enjoy the evening and all it has to offer. It is a night filled with love, sorrow, inspiration and light. Regardless of how you participate, we appreciate so very much that you are here to celebrate with us. We thank everyone for their support and encourage you to connect with the participants of the program, find your piece of the experience and take home with you a sense of hope and inspiration. Participate as you are able and celebrate with us this evening. 7
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: Twist Out Cancer paired 30 artists with 30 survivors, previvors, and caregivers, and challenged the artists to create original works of art influenced by their inspirations’ unique “twists” on cancer. Over the last six months, our pairs have been working closely together. These unexpected relationships developed into systems of support and a place for healing. The artwork honors the inspirations’ experiences with cancer but it also celebrates the new relationship that has since developed. Tonight we honor their journeys and celebrate the importance of storytelling and utilizing the arts as a mechanism for healing. All proceeds from ticket sales and the art auction will go towards growing Brushes with Cancer in the United States, Canada, Israel and around the world. 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 9:30 p.m., 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. * Payment in full is required at check-out and winning bidders are required to take the art at the close of the event.
BRUSHES WITH CANCER CHICAGO
Program 6:00 PM
Opening Ceremony for Artists, Inspirations and Their Families
Poetry Recitation by Charles Porter II
Presentation by Mardi Kaplan, Shawn Strong Award Recipient.
General Admission & Art Auction. Music Provided by David DaCosta.
General Program Featuring
Joelle Bilow and Erin Green, Chairs of Brushes with Cancer Chicago
Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer
Keynote Speaker Nancy Borowick
In Memoriam performed by Kobi Swissa and Sam Barsh
Performance by Ava and Emma Blaser
Performance by Grammy Award Winner Sam Barsh
Art Auction Closes/Vacation Raffle Winners Announced
DJ John Simmons Spins
PARTICIPATING SPEAKERS Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director Jenna Benn Shersher is a 37 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. 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 that became invested in her fight. In the course of a year, Jenna battled cancer and founded the nonprofit Twist Out Cancer. Jennaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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 all major media outlets, including Forbes, CNN, NBC5, CBS, ABC7, WGN and Fox32. 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. Jenna received her Bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and her Masters in Social Enterprise and Administration from Columbia University. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband Dr. David Shersher and their daughter Noa Pearl who is a miracle.
Nancy Borowick Nancy Borowick (b. 1985) is a humanitarian photographer based on the island of Guam and New York City. Nancy’s most recent focus has been her parents’ parallel diagnoses with cancer, which culminated in her monograph, The Family Imprint, published with Hatje Cantz in 2017. She has received numerous accolades for the book and the photo series, including recognition as a winner in the Photo District News Photo Annual, a top finalist in the Pictures of the Year International competition 2018 as well as in the International Photo Awards competition. Nancy is a regular contributor to the New York Times and has also been featured in the New York Times Magazine, CNN, National Geographic, Time Magazine, Photo District News, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Glamour Magazine, Stern Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine and many others.
THE SHAWN STRONG AWARD The Shawn Strong Award is given to an inspiration or artist who we believe embodies the attributes of our fellow board member Shawn Green, who this year passed away from Brain Cancer. Shawn was a dedicated father to Avery, husband to Erin, and role model to all of us. Throughout his journey with cancer he faced many setbacks, hardships, and endured tremendous suffering. He never complained, never got down on his luck, but instead embodied the phrase “ Every Day is a Good Day.” His positive outlook and perspective radiated and inspired so many of us. Mardi Kaplan, Breast Cancer Survivor, Inspiration and Shawn Strong Award Recipient Mardi Kaplan was diagnosed with breast cancer almost a year ago, at age 37. For Mardi, 2018 has been mainly focused on treatment and fighting cancer, though she has made sure to prioritize some time for fun as well! Mardi lives in Chicago, and is proud to have worked at Toyota Financial Services for almost 15 years. She loves to travel and is always planning her next trip, on her quest to see more of the world. As active cancer treatment comes to an end, she’s thrilled to plan more adventures!
Charles Porter II Strong, determined, resilient, compassionate, loyal, honest, and brave. Charles Frederick Porter II, was born in Oxford England to an English mother with Jewish roots and an African American father. Though he left for the states when he was four, he still maintains his UK citizenship. He currently lives in Los Angeles but the journey here is why he can be described by the aforementioned adjectives. From the age of twelve he was living away from home. Most assumed that going away to boarding school was a punishment but it was the greatest gift that his parents could give him. From the age of twelve to fourteen he was encapsulated in nature and nurtured by some of the most caring educators that he has come across in his life. Charles thrived in sports as well as academia and eventually received a full athletic scholarship to Duke University. He credits his Prep schools for giving him the exposure to the people, places and quality of life that going to local public school would not have afforded him. He credits Duke and his experience as a division one athlete for giving him the drive and determination to be the best that he can be as well as the the importance of team play. No one should go through life’s challenges alone. In his last year at Duke University, he was honored with the Teammate of the Year award. Almost a decade later he was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Many came to his rescue and helped him and his family prepare to fight off and eventually overcome the disease that blindsided them all. Charles had a stem cell transplant and for three solid years kept the disease at bay. In May of 2015 he had a relapse but because of the consistent evaluation of his health they caught it at an early stage. From 2015 to 2017 he was on a trial drug that had remarkable results and allowed him to continue on with his daily activities. In November Charles achieved Full Remission. He is an author and his books are filled with poems written about his journey. The story of a boy becoming a man through trials and tribulations. ‘Get to Know: Unlocking The Essence In You’, deals a lot with life as a young adult in a new city pre-cancer and throughout treatment. ‘Choose Your Path’, touches on the importance of time and how it is not infinite. Thus one should follow their heart and seek happiness rather than just money. The poems are in line with the man he became throughout the challenges that have arisen. Currently they are both available for purchase on amazon.com. Future works include the final book of poems in the trilogy of works, an animation screenplay and children’s book, as well as an inspirational book titled “Climbing With Cancer.” As Charles likes to say, “Much Love and Never Quit. Cheers.”
ENTERTAINMENT Sally Schulze, Emcee Sally Schulze is a reporter and weekend morning anchor at WFLD/Fox 32 Chicago. Born in the western suburbs and raised in Central Illinois, Sally is thrilled to be working in Chicago and living on the north side with her family. She is a University of Illinois graduate who started her journalism career in Champaign, Illinois at WICD-TV and WCIA-TV. Sally’s career then took her to WDEF-TV in Chattanooga where she worked as the main anchor. Next she headed to the Pacific Northwest, as the Eastside Bureau Chief and weekend anchor for Seattle’s KIRO-7, before moving to the opposite corner of the country to work as an investigative reporter and morning anchor at WESH-TV in Orlando. Sally then decided to hang up her microphone for several years and concentrate on raising two above average children with her husband, Matt. She returned to TV news at Fox 32 Chicago in 2016, at first working behind the scenes and writing news stories. Then Sally got back in front of the camera to do what she loves: meeting people throughout the Chicago area, telling their stories and uncovering the news that matters to viewers. When not reporting the news, Sally loves to travel, cook, and read. But she admits she’s usually too busy for most of that while balancing work with the most important job of mothering Sadie and Linus and their dog, Theodosia Ravenclaw. David Da Costa David Da Costa plays the Spanish guitar with high intensity. He is a French native, of Portuguese and Spanish descent and inherited an avid curiosity to explore musical genres and folklores. He lived in various countries and gathered an eclectic musical palette along the way. Without a doubt, his music resonates with images of his travels and encounters. You can hear flamenco strumming fury, feel odd Balkan dance moves, taste bites of rock riffs, and contemplate classical moodscapes. Contemporary, delightful, full of surprises.
DJ John Simmons John Simmons is a veteran Chicago DJ with more than twenty years of experience in the music. Having a solid foundation in disco/boogie, golden era hip-hop, R&B, & jazz, John caught the house music/ techno bug in the early ‘90s and soon found himself immersed in Chicago’s then thriving underground rave scene. John has played alongside many of the industry’s greats, including Frankie Knuckles, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, Paul Johnson, Moodymann, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Kaytranada, & many more. His several year stint as a resident DJ at Smartbar in Chicago was a highlight that saw him sharing the stage with some of these giants on a regular basis. John has traveled well, performing outside of Chicago in New York, Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Montreal, Mexico City, Berlin, Cairo, and many more cities. John’s work on Future Forward’s “Welcome 2 Chicago” EP (Kompute Musik) was a throwback to the heyday of jack, with a sharp electronic edge. John is currently working on projects with Tevo Howard and Paul Johnson to name a few. John Simmons is a purveyor of music that stays true to the soulful sounds of the past while constantly pushing things forward. 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.
Sam Barsh From his years as a top call touring keyboardist, to writing with and producing platinum-selling talent and headlining packed venues across the globe, Sam Barsh has solidified his reputation as an in demand triple threat, amassing substantial credits as a keyboardist, composer and producer in his still young career. Called a “songwriter extraordinaire” by Okay Player, and a man who “knows in his bones how to put a song together” by Vents Magazine, Barsh has amassed a discography of over 50 albums as a writer/producer, combining for 6 Gold and Platinum-certified records and over 7 million worldwide sales. Barsh’s work has received 3 GRAMMY Awards out of 8 nominations, including the 2016 Award for Best Rap Album and nomination for Album of the Year for Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.” His composition “Black Spiderman” was awarded the 2017 “Best Fight Against the System” award at the MTV VMA’s. Barsh was the recipient of a 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Award and a 2015 BMI London Pop Award, and a nominee for the Ashford and Simpson Songwriter Award at the 2014 Soul Train Awards. His compositions have topped the charts in a number of different genres, including a #1 pop single and 3 #1 pop albums: Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” (#1 UK Singles, 4 Million worldwide sales), Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” (#1 Billboard 200, US Platinum), and Logic’s “Everybody” (#1 Billboard 200, US Platinum) and “Bobby Tarantino II” (#1 Billboard 200). Urban chart-toppers include Ty Dolla $ign’s “Free TC” (#4 Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, US Gold), Anderson Paak’s “Malibu” (#5 Billboard R&B Albums), Wiz Khalifa’s “Rolling Papers 2” (#2 Billboard 200), and Joey Badass’ “All Amerikkkan Badass” (#2 Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums). He has written songs on iTunes #1 albums in the dance and jazz genres with Aubrey O’Day and Robin McKelle, respectively, and co-wrote and produced the single “Dealbreaker” for Norah Jones’ hip-hop project, White on Rice. In addition to working with established artists, Barsh has helped develop the sounds of emerging talents Sonreal, Sid Sriram, Harry Mack and Joel Matthew. Described as “phenomenally talented” by Jazz Times and a “Pianist with a gift for groove” by the New York Times, Barsh’s professional career launched during his years on the road as a keyboardist for artists such as Avishai Cohen, The Brand New Heavies and Cassandra Wilson, and has evolved to include substantial contributions in a variety of genres. With his solo jazz project and the electronic pop duo Palter Ego, he has released a number of albums and headlined major festivals and venues, including the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel, the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, the Blue Note in New York City, and the Xi’an International Music Festival in China. Barsh appears on over 80 albums, and has performed with a wide range of artists, including: Adam Lambert, Babyface, Bobby McFerrin, Boyz II Men, Branford Marsalis, Common, Courtney Love, David Foster, Estelle, Fred Wesley, Gene Simmons, George Clinton, Gregory Porter, Hailee Steinfeld, Justin Tranter, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kamasi Washington, Large Professor, Lonnie Plaxico, Mark Ballas, Maurice Brown, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Mino Cinelu, Nai Palm, Natasha Bedingfield, Quadron, Ravi Coltrane, Rez Abbasi, Robin Eubanks, Roy Hargrove, Stevie Wonder and Tom Jones. 15
Ava and Emma Blaser
Ava Blaser Ava is a 10 year old dancer from Chicago, Illinois. She began to dance at the age of 3 and has danced competitively and attended conventions for the past 4 years. In her time competing, Ava has won many first place awards, full scholarships, as well as awards for her strength and ferocity. She dances at The Dynasty where she trains in modern/contemporary, ballet, lyrical, jazz, and Hip-hop. Her favorite styles of dance are contemporary and hip-hop. Ava was diagnosed with stage 5 Bilateral Wilms (a type of kidney cancer in both kidneys)in June, 2011. She had her left kidney and part of her right kidney removed and underwent 29 weeks of chemotherapy and 6 rounds of radiation. In January, 2012 Ava was declared cancer-free. In January, 2018 at Ava’s 6 year out of treatment scans, a spot was found on the back of her partial remaining kidney. She had surgery to remove the spot and tests confirmed it was a relapse of Wilms. She is currently undergoing 8 cycles of very harsh chemo treatment, but has continued to dance and compete despite her doctors doubting she would have the strength to do so. Ava hopes to one day be in music videos, teach with a convention or to do any kind of work in the professional dance world. Ava’s story was recently featured on the CBS evening news and she currently models for Five Dancewear as a member of Club 5. Emma Blaser Emma is 16 year old dancer from Chicago, Illinois. She began dancing at the age of 7 and instantly fell in love with it. She has been dancing competitively and attending conventions for the past 4 years and in that time has won many first place awards and full convention scholarships, as well as awards for technique, control and her “powerhouse” dancing. She dances at The Dynasty where she trains in contemporary/modern, ballet, lyrical, jazz and hip-hop, but her favorite style is modern/contemporary. She began choreographing at the age of 15 and has received recognition and awards for her choreography as well as having all her pieces consistently place in the top 10. Emma hopes to one day choreograph professionally, tour as a backup dancer with a musician/singer, be in music videos, to be on a professional contemporary company such as Hubbard Street or Visceral and to model professionally. Emma is also currently a model for Five Dancewear as a member of Club 5.
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS AND INDIVIDUALS TOUCHED BY CANCER MEET THE MATCHES
INSPIRATIONS ARTISTS Laura Alexander Daniela Herling Katherine Beer Nicolette Schwartz Karen Berman Diana McKee Jamie Zeller Bitton Rena Grosser David Brennan Kyle Irving Andrea Bresette Anna Christian Betsy Brockett Arlene Bonnet Rosanne Carter Erin Nelson Ileana Cohn Caryn Frishman Colleen Connelly Michele Kellner Samira Cooper Karen Kingsolver & Beverly Dyer Melinda Deuster Elisa Boughner Lana Divello Dr. Vikram Krishnamurthy Brianne Gidcumb Genevieve Claire Klick Jennifer Hahne Debbie Goldstein Bret Hoekema Paddy Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connell Martin Hogan Dr. David Turok Kristen Iverson Iris Marreck The Janes Family Sandra Drabant Mardi Kaplan Rebecca Roin Renee Kunkel Jacqueline Carmody Raquel Lopez Ishita Banerjee Debbie Lubeck Rachael Runey Charles Porter II Chai Wolfman Gina Tabascio Andrea Reyes Cherie Taylor Bowen Kline Danielle Thomas Dana Phipps Annie Watson Dr. David Turok Maggie Wetzle Lauren Bullard Brigette Zagotta Beth Wirick
Laura Alexander & Daniela Herling
Laura Alexander Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: My Twist on Cancer is that hidden in between chemotherapy, hair loss, night sweats, doctor appts, pills, fertility loss, etc, a journey with cancer can be paved with many little gifts. A cancer diagnosis was definitely not what I expected for my 35th birthday but it truly did deliver gifts ...gifts that keep giving! It taught me what is important in life and to value time. Time with loved ones, time for play, time to dream, time for connection, time for exploration, time to heal and time for yourself. Cancer taught me to notice and appreciate so many simple things I was taking for granted while it also taught me to purge what was causing me angst and illness. It brought a beautiful community into my life and a passion for charity and service. Most of all it slowed me down a bit to not only allow me to heal my heart but to enjoy watching my daughter grow up...to appreciate every moment I could with her. She was only 6 when I was diagnosed and the fear of not being around to watch her grow up crippled me at first. Now I can proudly say we have experienced and celebrated lots of milestones together including getting her off to college. She was the reason I fought so hard and I’m so grateful for this precious time with her. The other real lesson for me having cancer as a young single mom still trying to date, work, parent and have it all was to embrace my challenges, scars and imperfections as part of my unique beauty. Losing hair and part of a breast is never easy...especially with my vanity issues. I now realize that those scars are what connect me to other hearts, connect me to my own strength and connected me to transformation. They are my badges of honor so to speak. I realized that sometimes you have to break to let the light in. I certainly did..physically and mentally but then the light got brighter each day. And as a survivor we have to shine that light for others to know HOPE. Daniela Herling Chicago, Illinois littleclickphotography.com Artist Statement: When I met Laura I felt like we instantly connected. As a single hard working mom, the last thing she expected was a cancer diagnosis at 35. One of Laura’s biggest regrets during her time with cancer was not capturing any images of herself, especially with her daughter, going through treatment because she didn’t see herself as beautiful anymore. It wasn’t until later when she began to see that this 18
1. “Beauty Evolution” Photography 24 x 36 $650
course in her life was actually going to present itself with gifts better than she could have ever imagined. Slowly the vanity of what she once viewed as beauty was shed and Laura found her new beauty and meaning in her life. From Laura’s words, “Time with loved ones, time for play, time to dream, time for connection, time for exploration, time to heal and time for yourself.” The inspiration for this piece depicts the evolution of change and how when faced with the unfathomable we adapt and become stronger, better versions of ourselves. Inner beauty radiates the human sole and is ultimately what defines beauty. Photography plays a very important role in both of our lives so it was very important for me to tell her story in a very powerful way. 19
Katherine Beer & Nicolette Schwartz
Katherine Beer Naperville, Illinois Survivor of Subcutaneous Panniculitis-like T-cell Lymphoma (SPTCL)
Twist on Cancer: Cancer affects people in so many ways, and no two stories are the same. My story started with a diagnosis of a very rare lymphoma when I was 11 weeks pregnant with my first child. As my treatment options were limited already by the type of cancer I had, unfortunately I had to give up my dream of carrying a child so I could survive. After trying six different types of chemo over the course of two years, it was determined that the only option left was a stem cell transplant, which I underwent in June 2017. A million thank-you’s go out to my 19-yr-old donor from France! As heartbreaking and frustrating as this whole experience was, it has helped me grow in so many ways. I’ve learned how to stand up for myself and be my own advocate. I’m much better about putting my thoughts into words and not depending on people to read between the lines of what I say. And it’s shown me what an amazing support system I have in my friends and family, without whom I never could’ve made it through these past few years. Now I’m finally able to start moving on with my life, and hopefully there is nothing but light moving forward. I just hope now that my experience will be of help to someone else who has to go through something similar, or who has to make extremely difficult choices in their quest for survival. Nicolette Schwartz Chicago, Illinois www.behance.net/nschwartz Artist Statement: One thing most people have in common (and probably take for granted) is their love for food. For Katherine, cooking and trying new restaurants was something she genuinely enjoyed, and that brought her and her husband together. After being diagnosed with SPTCL (Subcutaneous Panniculitis-like 20
2. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Change of Tasteâ&#x20AC;? Watercolor and Colored Pencil 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 8 x 8 $150
T cell Lymphoma) in 2015, her taste buds, along with many other symptoms, began to change. While introducing a transitional color scheme, this piece visually represents her journey through taste, her success being 1 year in remission, and now her newly developed craving for sweets! 21
Karen Berman & Diana Mckee
Karen Berman Wilmette, Illinois Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: Participating in Brushes with Cancer was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my experience with cancer in a way I couldn’t when I was in the middle of the battle. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer about 8 years ago, there was so much to navigate, and I was in full blown mode of fighting for my life and making sure that things at home and work didn’t fall apart. Now, years later, I find myself wanting to reflect on both the years in treatment, and those of being lucky to be a survivor. Brushes with Cancer gave me the gift of being able to process my experience in a creative and joyful way. My cancer doesn’t define me, but it did change me, and will always be a part of me. I am so lucky to have been allowed to share my story with Diana McKee, a wildly talented, kind, and thoughtful artist. While Diana and I never met in person, the piece Diana created to reflect my story demonstrates the powerful connections that can be made through listening and sharing without seeing. This piece so beautifully captures my feelings of strength and fragility, and that all of our stories and experiences are our layers that make us who we are. And yet, perhaps most important to me, it shows that I/we are unfinished, and in some ways still undefined, and if we stay open, life is always giving us the opportunity to continue to grow and transform. Diana Mckee Perkiomenville PA www.dianamckeestudio.com Artist Statement: “Diary Petals” was inspired by Karen Berman’s painful yet beautiful and touching story of being a cancer survivor. One doesn’t normally think of something positive when they hear the “C” word. But in Karen’s case she took her situation and managed to look at the positive instead of dwelling on the negative.Although a figurative painter I felt painting Gladiolas, a symbol for strength, was the best way to represent Karen’s story. In time as we talked I realized how powerful Brushes with Cancer program is. It gives the survivor not only a place to be heard but a space to look back and process what they went 22
3. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Diary Petalsâ&#x20AC;? Oil diaries on canvas 16 x 20 $800
through. So I added pages from Diaries to express the healing powers of simply being heard. The title Diary Petals derived from petals make up a whole. And together we make something miraculous and beautiful. 23
Jamie Zeller Bitton & Rena Grosser
Jamie Zeller Bitton Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: I am a 9 year survivor of Breast Cancer and grateful each and every day to be thriving and enjoying life to the fullest! I knew I had a higher chance of getting Breast Cancer since I carry the BRCA gene. When I was diagnosed in October of 2009, I felt shocked, sad and lost. It was the most difficult time of my life, but I got through it with my amazing village of family and friends who surrounded me with love and support. I was delighted to learn about Brushes with Cancer and to know I would be considered as an inspiration to my partnering artist. Through this experience, I was able to relive my story of survival by expressing to the artist how I felt and what I went through at that difficult time. But, we found hope and light together throughout this process as we created a wonderful idea of art from my personal experience. I was able to share my love of traveling and healing with her and she in turn captured it in an art form. Rena Grosser Chicago, Illinois thetravelingclassroom101.com Artist Statement: This art piece tells the story of an instant connection between two Chicago women who are both teachers, creatives, and mothers. Through the mutual love for the work of Gustav Klimt, they began their process of collaboration and celebration. Jamie shared her timeline of traveling and adventures through her visual journal of photos and reflections that spanned within 10 years. During that time, Jamie learned of her diagnosis and overcame it. Fueled by her inner strength and desire to discover, she continued her travels around the world. Her resilience and strength are shown through her ability to continue her travels through 30 different colorful countries. The fluid colors and map-like forms that cover the canvas surface are inspired from the vivid and vibrant photos Jamie captured in her published photo journal from her travels around the world. The infusing of the materials highlightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s movement and spirit which is how Jamie has lived her life, continuing to embrace 24
4. “The Traveler’s Story Map” Mixed Media 36 x 48 $500
what the world has to offer by following her innate desire to never stop to exploring. This art piece similarly had a journey, of different layers, maps, phases, and stories and is a testament to Jamie’s resilience, creative vision and free spirit. 25
David Brennan & Kyle Irving
David Brennan Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Stage IV Kidney Cancer
Twist on Cancer: A couple of days earlier I had found a cell phone on the ground and kept it to see if I could bypass it’s security, just for fun. It was morning and I was sitting at the table in the living room. I reached across the table to pick up the phone and felt a tweak in my lower back that grownups feel sometimes when they reach for something for no reason. The tweak didn’t pass and in 5 minutes (or maybe it was 15 minutes or maybe it was 2 minutes) it evolved into genuine pain, real pain, and moments later I woke up Jen to tell her I was getting a Lyft and going to the hospital. Most of that day is a series of vignettes. I’m hunched over taking myself from the Lyft into the ER. Someone is getting me to sign one of those electronic screens. I’m in a hospital bed and some doctors are joking about kidney stones and telling me about the good drugs they’re going to give me. I remember getting different drugs and the pain staying and the doctors wondering if I should be given more. I remember telling the doctor’s “I can feel the drug’s. I feel high, but the pain is not gone.” I remember them giving me something and the pain subsiding finally. Somewhere along the line I had gotten a CAT scan. I think hours passed and various people asking if I felt good and making light humor about kidney stones and good drugs. I remember a change in the vibe. People quickly stopped joking as they walked by. The main doctor walked into my pod and pulled the curtain closed. “Some people call it a mass. I like to call it a mass, some people use the word tumor.” In hindsight that’s the only part of being told I have cancer that I remember. I was pretty high. I remember that Dr. Pearlman delivered the news very smoothly. It was clearly a speech he had given many times before and he did it very well. If any of you have that news broken to you I hope it is delivered as smooth and compassionately as Dr. Pearlman broke it to me. I remember I called my sister who calmed me down when I started my first break down. “Hey, hold it together right now!” she said. Turns out that that was exactly what I needed to hear right then and I am grateful to this day for it. There was more conversation (I think) about family and kids and Jennifer but I cannot remember it. Those are my last memories of a day that changed my life forever.Today I am two years into a disease that the American Cancer Society gives me only a 5% chance of making it to the end of year five. My doctors give me anywhere from 10 to 25 years. I hope to be worrying about dying from cancer 40 years from now. This post could go on forever, but hey...the past. 26
5. “Kamikazee” Ink and Paint on Canvas 18 x 24 $400
Kyle Irving Detroit, Michigan www.kyleRISEirving.com Artist Statement: Speaking with David has been such an honor and gift. Every person goes through something differently, showing different emotions and handling it in their own ways. This piece shows the story of David’s fight to live his life in his own way without others telling us how we should act. 27
Andrea Bresette & Anna Christian
Andrea Bresette Chicago, IL Caregiver for individual with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer with metastases to brain and bone.
Twist on Cancer: In January 2017 my Dad was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer with metastases to his brain and bones. I had the privilege of being his caregiver until July 4th, 2017 when he passed away at the age of 64. I have seen that it’s possible to find joy even in the worst time of your life. Towards the very last days of my Dad’s life he was overcome with tears and cried uncontrollably for about 2 days. He couldn’t even put into words how he felt – it was gut-wrenching. One morning he was drinking coffee with my Mom and he said “Dear, I know why I am crying…these are tears of joy. I have had so much joy in my life that I am overwhelmed with it and these are tears of joy” I often think that everything I know about love and life, I learned from lung cancer and it sounds like a joke but it’s true. Although Cancer is the one thing I hate in this world, it has shown me a side of my family and myself that I would have never known without this terrible disease. Our new perspective on life was my Dad’s final gift to us. We are better because of him and for him. Anna Christian Chicago, Illinois Instagram handle: @annagnes_christian Artist Statement: Andrea and I created this piece together as a way to navigate the path that cancer created for her father and family. As I listened to Andrea’s story, a common theme of dualities emerged: her family’s home in Michigan and her home in Chicago; life before her father’s diagnosis and life after his diagnosis; the time before her father’s passing and the life that she continued to live after. After losing a loved one, there remains a feeling of time standing still; we sit in the ruins of our fight, exhausted and defeated, slowly taking in our reality. Grief grabs hold of every aspect of the present, making a future impossible to see. 28
6. “070417” Acrylic, Sharpie, Embroidery Thread 26 x 36 $800
Ready or not, however, time passes; life continues. Life demands a bridge between our “befores” and “afters;” we must choose to keep living presently and bravely to continue forward.
Betsy Brockett & Arlene Bonnet
Betsy Brockett Leechburg, PA Survivor of Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Twist on Cancer:I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 28. By 30 I had gone through two rounds of surgery and chemo, lost the ability to have children, and was plunged into early menopause. My body became a vessel for simultaneous desolation and vitality, giving me a new lease on life that I wasn’t sure I wanted. I’ve now been disease-free for over 2 years. Regular scans and self-imposed, healthier life choices make me feel like a prisoner to the uncertainty of my survivor status, for which I should be grateful. But reality feels like a slog one day and a gift the next. My losses linger, erupting in emotional swells as I watch others achieve goals I’ve had to lay to rest. During moments of pure bliss and freedom, though, I wonder if I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. One of the many shifts in my life has been to immerse myself in nature, where there is an intrinsic knowing of every role within a harmonious and unflinching cycle. It provides an optimistic anchor as I ache to achieve such a clear understanding of my own purpose. Cancer didn’t give me a new lease on life, it gave me space to develop perspective. It gave a glimpse at the rhythms of optimism and doubt, growth and stagnation, and joy and suffering. All existence is wrought with cycles of life and death, and my story is simply one manifestation. As time unwaveringly moves along, I find solace there. Arlene Bonnet Cherry Hill, New Jersey Artist Statement: I had the privilege of being matched with Betsy to create a piece of art inspired by her journey through cancer. Betsy’s being is gentle and thoughtful, yet courageous and strong. She is a creative soul who has explored photography, gardening, pottery and yoga (as a yogi, no less). Betsy’s life had always flowed in an orderly way with her pursuits expanding in various directions. Life was interrupted twice, once with her initial diagnosis of cancer, followed by treatment, and then again with a recurrence, surgery 30
7. “Lifescape” Watercolor and ink $400 and treatment, all within a 4 ½ year period. Living, let alone projecting out to the future, came to feel tentative, temporary, uncertain, and with an undercurrent of sadness. Betsy is in a better place now with respect to her health, her life priorities, and through her feeling of connectedness with nature. Lifescape is inspired by Betsy’s journey, and shows her favorite periwinkle picnic bench with symbolic objects on top representing the important people in her life and creative interests, but presented as a project interrupted. Betsy has reconnected with nature and has an interest in cultivating flowers. The field of wildflowers in this picture is vast without order, yet it provides a sense of peace, continuity and renewed hope. The tripod with camera is focused on the sunrise and the beauty that each day holds as well as representative of another of Betsy’s creative pursuits. Life is both fragile yet enduringly strong. My hope is for Betsy to find peace, joy, strength and hope in her lifescape. I am most appreciative of having come to know her and being one more flower that played a small role in her lifescape. 31
Rosanne Carter & Erin Nelson
Rosanne Carter Snohomish, WA Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: When I first heard the words, “You have left breast cancer,” I truly thought I was given a death sentence. I now know, it is not, but it has been my life’s wake up call. Cancer has ironically been a gift in so many ways; there are more positive things that I can count than negative. I have greater appreciation for life and now have the space in my life to find gratitude daily. This has been profound during and after treatment. Cancer has helped me embrace my vulnerabilities in a way that allows me to share with others and not be afraid. I am more real and open and present. Cancer has helped me think about how I want to be a better version of myself and how I want to show up in the world as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend. Having a positive attitude is everything.
Erin Nelson Portland, Oregon erinhnelson.com Artist Statement: Siochain is the Gaelic word for peace. Throughout my time speaking with Rosanne and learning about her life (both with and without cancer), I was amazed by her ability to be at peace with her journey. She is a thoughtful and complex person, and I was inspired to create work of art that was both a reflection of Rosanne, but also something that the viewer would be able to find a sense of peace in. Siochain is both an abstract portrait of Rosanne’s life, and a work to be able to meditate upon.
8. “Siochain” Acrylic/Mixed Media 30 x 40 $400
Ileana Cohn & Caryn Frishman
Ileana Cohn Miami, Florida Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: This journey taught me to celebrate every moment. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve stopped worrying about what people think and just focused on spending quality time with my family and enjoying every moment. Life handed me the biggest lemon and I have been making the sweetest lemonade ever since.
Caryn Frishman Pembroke Pines, Florida www.crcreations1.myshopify.com www.facebook.com/CFcreations1 Artist Statement: My inspiration, Ileana Cohn, is just a shining ray of light. She is one of the most positive people I have ever met. She has turned a confusing, overwhelming diagnosis and situation and turned it into something inspirational. The artwork depicts the rays of light, the love and energy she exudes, and a beautiful pink lotus which can grow and blossom through almost anything. The painting also has 2 small hearts representing her 2 beautiful children, and was done with her favorite colors as well. It is about strength and determination.
9. “Ray of Light” Acryllic 30 x 24 $850
Colleen Connelly & Michele Kellner
Colleen Connelly Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Stage 2 Esophageal Cancer
Twist on Cancer: I was 29 years old when I found out that I had cancer, and it was quite the shock to not just me, but my family and friends as well. When you receive a cancer diagnosis, you learn two things: you’re stronger than you could have ever imagined and loved more than you know. Sure, there were some days when I felt I just couldn’t go on and depression got the best of me. But when I look back I realize cancer wasn’t a death sentence, it was a life sentence; it pushed me to live. It was one of the biggest life events I had ever experienced and I now realize how important it is to treat both your mental and physical health. I kept focusing on the “todays” and kept remembering why I was fighting; it was so I could have more “tomorrows.” I was not about to let an invisible enemy like cancer take me down. That determination took me to the next day and the day after that until I made it today. I kept my sense of humor with me the whole time; laughter and sarcasm was truly my best medicine. I keep sharing my story so that eventually it can help someone else get through their struggle. I’ve learned to have pride in how far I have come, and to have faith in how far I can go.
Michele Kellner Chicago, Illinois Artist Statement: Falling into the enormity of Colleen’s smile, I found a multi layered universe of love. This image was born within my heart’s eye, as I listened to the stories of her husband Pete’s constant love, and the love from her parents, her extended family, her friends, her medical teams, her sports teams, her colleagues and her faith. Layers upon layers. Some seen, some unseen. “Colleen’s Grace”.
10. “Colleen’s Grace” Photography 24 x 36 $3000
Samira Cooper & Karen Kingsolver and Beverly Dyer
Samira Cooper Detroit, Michigan Breast Cancer “Samira was a bright spirit who did not let the disease of cancer define her. Instead, she allowed her experience with cancer to inspire her to shine even brighter, and find the beauty in every tiny moment, no matter how insignificant.”- August Spree, Friend of Samira Cooper’s May Her Memory Be A Blessing Karen Kingsolver and Beverly Dyer Chapel Hill, North Carolina Artist Statement: Samira talked to me in metaphors - - “you may have cancer but the octopus of life is still coming at you;” imaginary words - - “scan-ziety;” and pithy, poignant sayings - - “I call us, me and my kids, the ‘Incredibles’.” It amazes me that even our first conversation felt deeply connected and kept going long after either of us planned. From the start, we shared imagery that might convey all that she wanted to pass on. She often said she felt like a superhero who was seen as a poster child, always smiling, except some days many days “All I can do is dry-heave and can’t find gratitude anywhere at all.” She wanted others to know that some people only see “my bright smile” and don’t even know she is so sick. Several times during our many long conversations Samira said “You Get Me!” and, after sharing image ideas, she responded with different versions of “I love you I love you I love you!” She wanted others to know it takes courage and grit and positivity. She felt BWC was a miracle in her life, unexpected and immeasurably helpful at this stage of her life and illness. She inspired me tremendously with her wit and bright philosophy that managed to weave ‘divine order’ and ‘let me see what the Tarot card book says’ into a meaningful sentence. She believed in speaking honestly and bravely and she believed in living life ‘full tilt’ which she did right up to the end. We shared many ideas for images which Bev Dyer and I turned into sketch ideas in our journals. We came up with this one two days before Samira died, June 27, 2018. Samira ‘saw’ it in a word picture when we talked and just about the last thing she said to me was, “You’ve got it. Thats it. Thats the image. I love you so much.”
11. “Samira, one breath at a time” Acrylic and collage 36 x 36
Melinda Deuster & Elisa R. Boughner
Melinda Deuster Glenview, Illinois Survivor of Breast Cancer and Malignant Melanoma
Twist on Cancer: Cancer throws you into a new life. First into the grey unknown foggy water, changing you, changing your family. It’s much like a death which forces you into a new life, a new way of being, a new way of breathing, a new way of living, a new way of loving. Clinging to a faith greater than I, we navigated the muck and weeds at the bottom of the lake, continually swimming to the surface where there is clarity and sunshine. Arriving at acceptance of what is new. New life, breath, living, loving, finding the blessings along the way, because there are many, you just have to look. Going from surviving to thriving. I have a faith greater than I. I am recovering, I am resilient, I am empowered. Elisa R. Boughner Glenview, Illinois www.boughnerart.com Artist Statement: “Kintsugi”. It is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object. Rather than something to disguise, they believe the repaired object becomes illuminated by its scars and thus make it more beautiful and meaningful. I wanted to represent the central figure with a thin vale to show the human body at its most vulnerable. The vase being broken but repaired in the Kintsugi method, becoming stronger and more beautiful than before. It rests on a sea of turmoil but chooses to face outward, looking out the open window to a view outside of one’s own self. Allowing the world to see her at her most vulnerable, thus freeing herself to heal and see the world anew. I believe that art has always been a powerful means of expressing the human experience. This is a wonderful way to bring these amazing people, and their struggles, to the forefront in a meaningful way. Getting to meet this incredible woman, Melinda, and build a very personal relationship has been an unbelievable experience-one I will always treasure.
12. “Kintsugi” Oil on board 24 x 36 $4,600
Lana Divello & Dr. Vikram Krishnamurthy
Lana Divello Barrington, Illinois Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: One of the lessons I’ve learned over these last 16 months is that time is constant. You don’t lose it. You don’t gain it. It doesn’t stop and wait for you to catch up. It doesn’t even take a breath. What it will do is leave you behind if you let it. Time is a steering wheel in front of you and it’s constantly spinning. Sending you in circles of endless motion. It’s menacing, as you wonder if it will ever stop. When cancer hit me, time was unphased. Time could give a shit about me and my problems. It’s a greedy asshole that just takes and takes. But time has a weakness. Control. My whole life, I’ve been fighting time. “Gotta get there in time”. “I want to do that but there’s no time”. It haunted my every waking hour because I let that wheel spin in front of me-afraid to grab it. There are moments in life when we need to stare that big bad bully in the eyes. Grab that fucking wheel and hold it tight. It’s my time to decide what happens in my life. It’s my time to slow this spinning wheel and love everything around me. It’s my time to be stronger. I’m in control of where I go and when I get there. It’s my time to laugh. It’s my time to cry. But I say when. I’m no longer worried, I’m in control. And it’s about time.
13. “Little Rock” Pencil, Pastel, Marker, Acrylic Paint, Oil Paint 12 x 16 $300
Vikram Krishnamurthy Cleveland, Ohio Artist Statement: The prevailing theme of my discussions with Lana was her resolution to remain a pillar of strength for her family, even when facing the diagnosis of cancer. The experience included: distant travel for treatment, changing roles at work, and a renewal and reinforcement of what matters most in her life. In the piece, the subject is delicate but strong, graciously supporting the heavy column with her will. Still, she moves forward. A verdant vine circles the column three times, symbolizing the bond of marriage and Lana’s three children. The column references her family’s Italian heritage (The Leaning Tower of Pisa), as does the piece’s primary color scheme of green, red, and white. The title of the piece represents both Lana’s resilience - and one her name’s many meanings - which is “little rock.” 43
Brianne Gidcumb & Genevieve Klick
Brianne Gidcumb Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Twist on Cancer: Cancer changes you in just about every way. Cancer, an incredibly rude and unwelcome guest, wipes the slate clean, throws out everything you thought your life was supposed to be, and welcomes itself in as priority number one. There have been moments of sadness and depression about this new reality. However, I’m making my best effort to see this as an opportunity to rebuild my life in a way that suits who I am now, makes honoring my body and mind a priority, and sees my life as something more than I always thought it would be. The result of this new normal of mine is a more cautious, more focused version of the person I used to be. There are times I miss moments of being the healthy, carefree version of myself. But instead, I’ve welcomed my cancer experience as an exercise in getting really clear on what matters: on what my purpose is, who I want to be, and what I want to leave behind. Though it came in a nasty, intrusive package, cancer was a wakeup call. Something in my life was broken. And now, as I rebuild my life, I can make space for only what fits. So it turns out that when cancer came in and wiped the slate clean, I received a little blessing in disguise. A blessing disguised in pills and biopsies and hospital bills, but a blessing nonetheless. Genevieve Klick Detroit, Michigan genevieveklick.weebly.com Artist Statement: “My inspiration, Brianne, maintains a yoga practice which clearly is a fundamental aspect of her well being; thus, a yoga pose seemed a fitting subject for my artwork. This Sun Salutation drawing is meant to be bursting with joy, vibrancy and color; just like flowers blooming in the spring, summer and fall are a reminder of all of the beauty and hope yet to come. After a single conversation with Brianne, it was already apparent this is how she approaches each of her days.looking out the open window to a view outside of one’s own self. Allowing the world to see her at her most vulnerable, thus freeing 44
14. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Morning Salutationâ&#x20AC;? Colored pencils, ink, encaustic medium on collaged kitakata paper 36 x 25 $350
herself to heal and see the world anew. I believe that art has always been a powerful means of expressing the human experience. This is a wonderful way to bring these amazing people, and their struggles, to the forefront in a meaningful way. Getting to meet this incredible woman, Melinda, and build a very personal relationship has been an unbelievable experience-one I will always treasure. 45
Jennifer Hahne & Debbie Goldstein
Jennifer Hahne Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer, at the age of 36, while in the midst of attempting to start a family. A family I so desperately wanted after the passing of my mother and sister. Then in one moment everything changed after hearing that dreaded “C” word while sitting in a doctor’s office. I had to completely redirect my path from creating a life to now saving my own. I had to surrender to survive and agree to the surgery, soul sucking chemotherapy and exhausting radiation. Only to have everything change once again when my father was diagnosed with Lung Cancer one month after I completed my own treatment. The cancer had spread to the brain and he passed away while I lovingly held his hand within 3 months. Cancer has taught me that I can’t fight the circumstances of life and it’s much more enjoyable to lay back, take a breathe and float with the current. The plan of the universe definitely trumps whatever plan I thought I had. I have learned to be grateful for all that I have and to find happiness everyday. I find it in outdoor adventures, friends and family, inspiring art, service to others and within myself. I also find it in the places cancer has brought me and the lessons it has shown me. Cancer brought me to meditation and mindfulness which has brought me here and in this present moment with acceptance, a big smile and sense of peace with a whole lot of joy thrown in. Debbie Goldstein Highland Park, Illinois Artist Statement: There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen. Meeting Jennifer was a great experience. She and I connected instantly. She is strong and brave but, like all of us, she is cracked, that’s how I could see her light. I chose to use glass that I cracked over and over again. There were so many connections between Jennifer and the glass. They are both strong but fragile, also sharp and could be dangerous. Some of the pieces are completely transparent letting all the light through. Other pieces are opaque, solid mysterious. The image, a landscape, was inspired by Jennifer’s love of nature, calming colors and earth tones. 46
15. “The Cracks Let In Light” Glass Mosaic 34 x 28 $400
Bret Hoekema & Paddy O’Connell Bret Hoekema Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Twist on Cancer: As I turned thirty, I felt the imminence of great things. Though I can’t be certain—my memory isn’t what it used to be. In my twenties, I left home and moved to Chicago. Somewhere in the middle, I lost my faith. Somewhere near the end I met Aura. As I turned thirty, I asked her to marry me. In my twenties, I learned to move freely. I weighed 151 pounds at our wedding—Lymphoma standing by… Chemotherapy brought remission and renewed purpose. But purpose wore off and cancer returned. The 2nd treatment was worse, the 3rd experimental, and the 4th medieval. They harvested my stem cells, obliterated my immune system, and transplanted those cells. Cancer remained. I felt like a memory. At thirty-four, a clinical trial offered remission and a donor transplant sealed it—an unmistakable victory, and a muted celebration. This deep, renewed purpose less acute. The heart, in position to attack. And so it did. Four-years in my heart gave out. At thirty-five, I no longer saw what life it was they were trying to save. In my twenties, I learned to move freely. In my thirties, I wonder, if I will be stopped still. In my 38th year, I’m happy to say, that I’m alive to find out, with my wife Aura and the little twister of my life, Evie Maeve, born February 16, 2017, dancing so sincerely by my side. I am not a memory. It still escapes my throat daily as a humbled whisper. Paddy O’Connell Chicago, Illinois paddyoconnell.com Artist Statement: When I first met Bret, he looked like a guy that had a story that needed to be told. He and his family have gone through a lot over the years with his battle with cancer. He told me about all the different surgeries and treatments he had gone through. I had never realized the rigor involved in looking for treatment for something that was wrong with me. I learned the longer your battle with cancer the more finding treatments can become a full time job. 48
16. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Staunchâ&#x20AC;? House Paint on Canvas 36 x 24 $600
Of all the things I learned from Bret and his story the most important was his family and the love he shares with his wife and daughter. I listened to him talk about his wife: how they met, their ups and downs with cancer, and most importantly their daughter. When he talked about his wife, I could hear how much she means to him. Throughout his battle with cancer she has been the lighthouse on the coast while he weathers the storm at sea. She provides light and hope that the unrelenting waves of cancer will soon pass. This is what my painting reflects, the love and devotion between two people and their daughter that seems to be unwavering in the face of great turmoil. When the clouds clear and the waves return to a rolling tide that lighthouse will still stand strong as a symbol of safety just like the love between Bret, his wife and his daughter. 49
Martin Hogan & Dr. David Turok
Martin Hogan Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Twist on Cancer: “Takes down some of the best. But makes some of the greats even greater.” One of the best people on the planet told me this about cancer. And it is true. Cancer attempts to take absolutely everything that is important to you, away from you, every single day. There is not a minute that goes by in a day that I am not reminded about my continued battle with this disease. There are things I want to do, that I cannot. There are things I pray to be able to do in the future, that are uncertain. And that is all part of this incredible journey. You can spend your time and energy wondering ‘why’ and worrying about things that you cannot control. Or you can take a real deep breath and open your eyes and think about what is important to you.Throughout this journey, my faith in humanity has been restored so many times I cannot even put it into words. People’s hearts, words and thoughts have carried me when I needed to be carried. And my faith in God has been strengthened daily. I pray every single day that everyone else can see the world through the same set of eyes that I view the world. I know this is not possible and that people who have battled this disease are the only ones who can view things a certain way-but that is still my hope. We are surrounded by so many amazing people and things every single day. A lot of people just choose not to see it. My hope is that people take a step back. Put their phones away for a while. Treat people the right way. And appreciate every single moment. Life is a gift. That is my hope. And that is the most important word in my life right now-hope. As soon as we lose hope, we are done. To this amazing journey and process, I hope everyone finds what makes them truly happy.
BRUSHES WITH CANCER CHICAGO
17. “We Got This” 36 x 48 Acrylic This artwork was not ready at the time of publication $1750 Dr. David Turok Glencoe, Illinois Artist Statement: Cancer never felt more real than one of my best friends, Marty was diagnosed with Leukemia 2 years ago. As a Brushes with Cancer artist for the last 5 years, I have seen the effects from a unique perspective. But nothing compared to having this terrible disease hit your best friend. Watching Marty, his wife Whitney, their son Clark and their families go through this battle with such optimism and strength taught me more about life and how to value it than any experience. In a blink of an eye, your life can be flipped upside down. But if you fight hard enough and are lucky enough to make it out on the other side, it will make you stronger, better and more appreciative than you ever imagined. This also became my “brush with cancer.” I sometimes found myself feeling helpless as a friend with what Marty and Whitney were going through. But I realized being a friend was all they needed. I have learned more from them than they will ever know. Thankfully, Marty is in remission, but we know it will be an ongoing battle to stay ahead of this terrible disease. I will always continue to be his friend, be there for him and his family and continue to fight this together- We’ve got this, buddy. 51
Kristen Iverson & Iris Marreck
Kristen Iverson Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Lymphoma
Twist on Cancer: My first thought after being told I had cancer was that I would get better. I always knew it would happen...and it did. Over the past 23 years I realized that life is not fair but it can still be great. Iris Marreck Chicago, Illinois www.irisb.com Artist Statement: I have designed the graphics for “Brushes With Cancer” for the last 3 years. This year, I wanted to participate as an artist as well. Getting to know Kristen, learning her story, and creating a painting to reflect it has been both inspiring and fun. When we first met, I was struck by the optimism and hope in her experience. Kristen was diagnosed with lymphoma when she was in high school. The doctors told her that she would have a rough year with the treatment, but after that the cancer would be gone. She never doubted that she would remain healthy and she has. I wanted to create a painting that gives hope to those who are feeling hopeless. Kristen has a teddy bear named Billy. He was with her during treatment and is still lives in her (and husband Matt’s) bedroom. I knew I wanted to paint Billy. Kristen also told me about her own creativity. She is a talented crafter and has made numerous afghans. I decided to put Billy on the beach, which is a place that both Kristen and I love. The blanket on the sand is an interpretation of one of Kristen’s blankets. The sun umbrella is in the rainbow colors of hope. And the empty chair is for you.
18. “Billy is Waiting for You at the Beach” Acrylic on Canvas 36 x 24 $850
The Janes Family & Sandra Dabrant
The Janes Family Jeff, Leslie and Michael Janes Tinley Park, IL Caregivers to Julia Janes who had AML at 19, secondary to Ewing’s Sarcoma at 16
Twist on Cancer: When Julia was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 16 we learned that teens get cancer. Throughout her treatment we learned that there are very few treatments for the adolescent and young adult (AYA) population. We also learned that staying positive was critical to all of us getting through this experience, and that staying together as a family was crucial. We each fell into our natural roles out of deep love for Julia and our entire family. We learned that cancer can return and be worse, unfortunately even deadly, the second time. Throughout her treatments and after her death we learned that the best support comes from people in the world of cancer, including Twist Out Cancer. Brushes with Cancer is a great program and we wish something like this was available for Julia, as there is a great void in the area of social-emotional support for the AYA population. Small children seem to bounce back the best; adults can seek help on their own. The AYA population, however, are left to fend for themselves and often shut down. Programs such as Brushes with Cancer should reach out to the oncology department of children’s hospitals to help teens and young adults post treatment. These patients are released with no outlet to express their fears, their emotions, their dreams. Thanks for all you do for people with cancer! Sandra Drabant Michigan Artist Statement: Memories of loved ones keep them close in our minds and hearts. This art piece houses significant symbols that connect Julia’s family with her. Simple things like precious objects, certain colors and a sighting of a butterfly, can bring an immediate connection and make us feel emotionally closer to our loved ones. Memories bring our loved ones back into our lives, a continued bond unbroken. It was a privilege to get to know Julia through her family’s stories. I believe she, and they, are true inspirations.
19. “Seeds of Hope” Acrylic Paint on Canvas 12 x 36 $150
Mardi Kaplan & Rebecca Roin
Mardi Kaplan Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: The only way I really know how to be-is positive. Sure, I have my down days, but for the most part, I’m walking this path with an optimistic attitude, and taking it one day at a time. Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2017, I have chosen to fight this head-on, and I essentially made it my job to beat cancer. I was on a leave of absence from work for five months, so I really took the time to research everything I was going through to make informed decisions that worked for me throughout treatment. In addition to medical strategies and informed decision making, I’ve also realized the huge importance of not judging a book by its cover. I’ve always tried to subscribe to this, but there are so many areas of “unconscious bias” that pop up in life. As my body has changed (after a bilateral mastectomy), and as I went through chemo and lost my hair and some nails, I realize now more than ever that you never know what a stranger is going through. I’ve always been a compassionate and empathetic person, but those traits have become stronger than ever, especially as I’ve become one of the people in the world who “looks different.” Rebecca Roin Chicago, Illinois Artist Statement: This piece of artwork, created through our partnership, has been a true collaboration. The word list, the colors, and the concepts in this piece are all inspired by Mardi and her Cancer story, but it is also about connection. Our time together has been fun and active and at times more serious as we have been comfortable sharing thoughts and exchanging ideas. Throughout this collaboration, I have thought about the idea that we, as humans, never know exactly what hand we will be dealt. In the piece there are circles with scratches inside them representing life as a game of chance like a scratch off card. Cancer brings with it so much more to manage. Appointments with doctors, treatment schedules, therapies, physical changes, self-esteem, side effects and complications. The placement of images in the painting represent a need to create order from chaos with enough space for fun and room to be spontaneous. 56
20. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Lotus Flower Is Beautiful Even When It Emerges From The Murkiest Depthsâ&#x20AC;? Mixed Media on Wood Board 24 x 24 $300
This piece is about Mardi. Her determination, strength, resilience and optimism and sense of humor (and irony) are astounding. Mardi is living her life with Cancer beautifully, but it is not without chaos, pain, constant adjusting, adapting and welcoming connections. Mardi is like The Lotus Flower, (represented in the painting) Beautiful even when it Emerges from the Murkiest Depths. 57
Renee Kunkel & Jacqueline Carmody
Renee Kunkel Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Thyroid Cancer
Twist on Cancer: I was 13 years old when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The experience was unrelatable to anything my peers were experiencing, which was incredibly isolating. I had a hard time transitioning from issues of not being invited to a sleepover to should I or should I not freeze my eggs if I am having radiation treatment? Soon after I revealed my cancer diagnosis, I never really talked about my cancer experience. I didn’t want anyone’s pity or to gain a lot of attention. My diagnosis occurred at a time when I was trying to find myself and understand who I was. I felt that there had to have been some sort of mistake. I wasn’t supposed to have cancer. Throughout treatment I maintained a hopeful attitude that this storm will pass. What I thought was ruining my plan of self-discovery turned out to be the very experience that taught me who I was supposed to be. One thing I’ve learned from my battle with cancer is that cancer is not fought alone. Celebrating remission has become less of a day celebrating my life and more about celebrating the people who had inspired hope for a second chance at life. My piece of advice is to be thankful for those who have been with you during your darkest times. They’ll carry you through just about anything. Thank you, Mom, Dad, Kevin, Rachel, and Jimmy. Jacqueline Carmody Chicago, Illinois www.jacquelinecarmodyart.com Artist Statement: Renee was diagnosed as a young teen and felt disconnected from the other kids her age because they could not relate to what she had to go through. She did not have an outlet for others to listen and understand her story. The 3 sections of this piece reflect the three times in her life in which her health took control of her life. She powered through each one and never acted as a victim. This piece allows her to have the opportunity for others to listen to her story. 58
21. “Listen” Acrylic 24 x 36 $1500
Raquel Lopez & Ishita Banerjee
Raquel Lopez Evergreen Park, Illinois Survivor of Colon Cancer
Twist on Cancer: I choose to look at and celebrate the beautiful things that cancer has given me/us rather than focus on the havoc it creates and things it takes away. First and foremost, out of my cancer came this beautiful soul ... My son, Maximus Crowe, that is a force all on his own. Cancer has molded us into a Strong and Beautiful family. It has given us a zest for life! Cancer has given us the will to make every day count and the confidence to know that there’s nothing that I or we as a family can’t get through. Not only get through but come out better for it! Ishita Banerjee Soul Curry Art www.soulcurryart.com Artist Statement: Maximus Crow; because one of the most profound things that Raquel told me was that a crow is the only animal that survives in a toxic environment and that was my principal inspiration behind this piece. Raquel’s fourth pregnancy was bitter sweet. While awaiting the arrival of a new baby boy, Raquel was diagnosed with colon cancer. The fact that she was pregnant, a busy mother and what was to be a celebratory time for her whole family turned into the beginning of an ordeal for her. She braved it head on like a soldier. Her spirit of facing it head-on was remarkable. She went through surgery and treatment all the while carrying the new life inside of her. I chose to show the maternal side of Raquel in this piece, her pregnancy was extraordinary in every sense of the word. The baby was like the crow that thrived and survived as her body went through upheavals of the toxic treatment.The woman in my piece is soft. Her instinct is to protect and nurture. Her baby is her world. She faces the trying times like the sun. Shining and radiating warmth and light. The warm colors are like a halo around her face. She is the Madonna that holds Maximus Crow. Her beautiful baby boy who survives this incredible ordeal and is a happy and cheerful toddler now. His name - Maximus Crow. Maximus Crow is an ode to the strength and the tenacity of a mother and the unrelenting survival spirit of the baby that beats the odds. A mixed media melange of pen ink, and gouache with digital superimpositions and organic lines. 60
22. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Maximus Crowâ&#x20AC;? Mixed media artwork, fine art digital print on paper 24 x 36 $325
Debbie Lubeck & Rae Runey
Debbie Lubeck Riverside, Illinois Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: At the age of 40 and at 23 weeks pregnant with our third child, our family’s lives were forever changed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother in-law used to say “undoubtedly the universe is unfolding as it should”, which is a great way to look at the world when facing decisions or dealing with disappointment such as not getting the job you really wanted, not getting into the school you had your sights set on or dealing with the end of a relationship. As I started my 15 months of active treatment I couldn’t see how the universe was unfolding as it should. I was angry, sad and scared for my entire family, especially my unborn daughter. I held tight to my own mantra throughout my journey. “We don’t choose what happens to us, but we choose how we respond to it” and I responded with a fierce determination to do everything in my power to live cancer free and to ensure my daughter was born healthy. Through it all though, I saw the universe unfolding as I needed it to at the time. Chance meetings of others changed the course of my treatment, new friendships formed that were instrumental in my ability to see the good in the world, and my medical team worked collectively to allow me to balance active treatment with a joyful pregnancy and allowed us bring our daughter into the world healthy. Our family was changed with my diagnosis and the reality of surviving cancer is that it is an active process that we are all still experiencing nearly 3.5 years later and will continue to experience for the rest of our lives. Rae Runey Detroit, Michigan Instagram.com/arneyart Artist Statement: Dancer highlights the many movements that carry with cancer. My inspiration was blessed to have the news of being cancer free shortly after her third pregnancy, in which she was diagnosed. This piece represents the freedom, and balance that is to be continued on in life.
23. “Dancer” Acrylic, Pastels 18 x 24 $350
Charles F. Porter II & Chai Wolfman
Charles F. Porter II Los Angeles, California Stage Four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Twist on Cancer: Live life in the moment. Only focus on the essentials of life in regards to friends, family and work. Keep it simple and NEVER QUIT. Chai Wolfman Chicago, Illinois www.chaiwolfman.com Artist Statement: It has been an honor and a true inspiration to hear Charles describe his experience with cancer and the way that it shifted and focused his perspective on life. His description of how his diagnosis brought everything that was important to him into a sharp focus, brought to my mind the image of a person looking into a telescope. During our conversations, this image repeatedly made an appearance and I knew it had to be included in this painting. The title “Choose Your Path” is a direct nod to one of his books of poetry by the same name, and highlights the way that Charles lives with intention. The paths in this painting are made up of many stitched paintings that contain some key words from Charles’ journey, that are also universal in their positive messages. We all have the ability to focus inward and choose a path that follows the stars of our own hearts. Charles, thank you for sharing your story with me and inspiring so many with your life and your work.
24. “Choose Your Path” Paint and thread on paper and canvas 30 x 40 $850
Gina Tabascio & Andrea Reyes
Gina Tabascio Chicago, Illinois Survivor of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Twist on Cancer: Being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at sixteen years old was an unexpected twist. It was a challenging time, with long periods of hospital stays invading my junior year of high school. I think that tough things in life happen for a reason, and they give you the opportunity to really learn about yourself. My life will never be the same after cancer, but I’m fortunate enough to have made it through to continue growing and facing my fears. It definitely put into perspective what things are important to give your energy to and that while life holds a lot of uncertainty, there is always hope. I’m grateful to have had an awesome support system through that time and lucky to have met some amazing patients, doctors and nurses along the way. There is still tons of work ahead with childhood cancer research; I hope that by sharing our stories we can keep inspiring progress and spreading awareness. Andrea Reyes Chicago, IL www.scampstudiosonline.com Artist Statement: This piece was inspired by Gina’s strong and resilient spirit, her understanding of cancer as a part of her story, but her determination not to let it guide and define her life. I used the symbol of a sparrow building a nest from pieces of both an old remnant of a past place, as well as new things to suggest a life in progress. Despite a hard battle with cancer, and the devastating effects of chemo, every conversation I have had with Gina showed me a person filled with hope, adventure, ambition deep love for those in her life, and a desire to live that life on her terms.
25. Life, In Progress Acrylic and oil on canvas, with chalk marker on paper, copper beads and fabric scraps. 24 x 36 $250
Cherie Taylor & Bowen Kline
Cherie Taylor Chicago, Illinois Survivor
Twist on Cancer: I was 29 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Six months later I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. I underwent a lumpectomy, chemo, & radiation. 13 years later I tested positive for BRCA1. My mom was negative and my brother & sister were both positive. This mutation was passed on by my dad. My sister is an incredibly brave Previvor. She had the courage to have the recommended preventative hysterectomy surgery. I was too afraid and too busy with work as an Assistant Hotel General Manager to have the recommended hysterectomy and mastectomy. I had been in remission for 13 years. I had a false sense of security and underestimated the risk of being diagnosed with a late stage cancer. I thought if the cancer comes back, I’ll catch it early and beat it again. So I opted for surveillance. 3 years later I was diagnosed with stage 3B ovarian cancer. There is NO EARLY DETECTION TEST for ovarian cancer. After 21 rounds of chemo, I was deemed in remission. 3 months later, I scheduled an overdue mammogram, and was diagnosed with DCIS cancer in my left breast. The double mastectomy surgery followed. October is the 1 year mark, to the end of this chapter. Cancer has given me the gift to change my priorities and an opportunity to discover my passion & purpose in life. I struggle with who I was yesterday, who I am today, and who I’ll be tomorrow, but I can’t wait to find out!
26. “Cherie” Oil/Acrylic 28 x 25 $2,000
Bowen Kline Romeo, Michigan www.bowenkline.com Artist Statement: I was introduced to a wonderful woman, Cherie. She is a survivor of Breast and Ovarian Cancers. She described herself as a workaholic. Always on the move, until one day she couldn’t work any more. She struggled with the realization that due to her recovery, she would have to give up what was her sole purpose- her career. I chose to depict her in a crouching position looking to one side because it’s a pose that emulates her coming to grips with her new way of life. It’s a stance somewhere between moving and repose. The horizon line is symbolic of the infinite number of paths that have recently opened up to her. 69
Danielle Thomas & Dana Phipps
Danielle Thomas Lansing, IL Survivor of Cervical Cancer
Twist on Cancer: I was scared! But my treatments were effective and I’ve been in remission for 12 years. I credit my recovery to early detection, a positive outlook, and the many recent advancements in cancer research. Being in a good frame of mind helps ease the transition to your new, “normal”, post-cancer.
Dana Phipps Lansing, Illinois Artist Statement: Danielle and Michelle’s connection was so powerful and heartfelt. These two have shared the womb, shared one roof, and shared the happiest and darkest times in each other’s lives. Dani’s physical battle with cervical cancer was Michelle’s mental fight too. “You fight, I fight...you hurt, I hurt...you cry, I cry” is the spiritual and emotional bond these twins share. Danielle had a rough road to recovery, but with prayer, strength, courage, and her sister support system...cancer had no chance! After speaking with both sisters, it’s easy to see that whatever life throws at them, they have each other’s back. Born together, friends forever. This is a true twinship.
27. “Twinship” Acrylic on Canvas 24 x 36 $300
Annie Watson & Dr. David Turok
Annie Watson Chicago, Illinois Previvor and Ex-Caregiver
Twist on Cancer: That taking care of someone you love with cancer can rip out your heart and soul so it is incredibly important to heal that pain. And that trying to prevent cancer - or outrun it as I often feel is exhausting and can be debilitating as well. I think that we can often feel strong but also exhausted by what it takes to try and attempt preventing cancer. Dr. David Turok Glencoe, Illinois Artist Statement: Turf was a Boss. Not just as the CEO of Crate and Barrel and not just as an amazing mom, but she defined the term like it has never been portrayed. When she died, employees shared stories of the respect they always felt from her from the higher ups of the company but more importantly from the floor workers who would tell Barbaraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s daughter, Annie, how Barbara treated them as equals, no matter their position in the company. She had that magnetic way about her personality. This shines through in her daughter, Annie, who put everything in her life- school,career, etc aside to take care of her dying mom. And the presence of her mom is still very much in her life- she sees her mom in her two boys and knows she is upstairs, still using her boss powers to make sure life works out as it should.
BRUSHES WITH CANCER CHICAGO
28. “Boss “ 30x 40 Acrylic/ Mixed Media, Resin This artwork was not ready at the time of publication $1750
Margaret Wetzel & Lauren Bullard
Margaret Wetzel Columbus, Ohio Survivor of Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: I found out I had breast cancer when I was 17 weeks pregnant with my first (and currently only) child. Yes, you can have surgery and chemotherapy while you are pregnant. My son and I went through one mastectomy, a port placement surgery, and 4 rounds of AC chemotherapy together. During this whole process, I was also in my final semester as a PhD student. In the months after I was diagnosed I balanced treatment while completing the writing and revision process of my dissertation manuscript, and I presented my graduate work to my committee and department. I then birthed a healthy baby boy, who is a light in my life. Following my sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arrival, I resumed and finished my active cancer treatment plan while learning to be a mother. I learned many lessons along the way. I discovered how mentally and physically strong that I am. I experienced overwhelming human kindness toward my family and myself, and practiced how to make difficult, yet informed decisions with humor and poise. Lauren Bullard Detroit, Michigan www.behance.net/lbullardeeab Artist Statement: Since the beginning of my career as a visual artist, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve established a strong understanding of the importance of working with others. To collaborate ideas, and creating work influenced by life, emotion, and nature. These elements are the base structure behind all of my illustrations. And can be considered my biggest influencers on my work today. When I was asked to participate in this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Brushes for cancer program I was honored knowing the mission behind the program I instantly became excited to be able to use my talents towards such an impactful cause. During this collaboration I was welcomed into the personal journey of my inspirations battle with breast cancer. As a female I felt very impowered after hearing how strong Maggie was during her battle even 74
29. “Beyond The Structure” Spray Paint and Clay 18 x 36 $450
when faced with other challenges alongside her fight with cancer. Her story has influenced me in so many ways and I’m beyond grateful for being able to create work based off such a beautiful story. The work I’ve created based off Maggie’s story focuses on femininity in an abstract expressive manor incorporating the general roles associated with girls and women. While also depicting my overview of the culture and nature behind the meaning of being a female. Using bright colors and patterns to form an abstract composition titled “Beyond the Structure.” The knowledge and growth I’ve gained from working with the “Brushes for Cancer program” and my inspiration Maggie Wetzel has given me many strengths and insights that I can continue to use in my life and can bring to my work. 75
Brigette Zagotta & Beth Wirick
Brigette Zagotta Chicago, Illinois Caregiver for individual with Glioblastoma Multiforme
Twist on Cancer: That feeling, when a balloon pops-but before your brain has registered that the balloon is no longer there- thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what cancer feels like. Standing on the tracks with a high speed train barreling at you- you, unable to move, the train, unable to stop. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what it feels like when cancer has impacted your life... My personal moment of impact was when my husband was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. It came just as we were settling into our life together as young family. After diagnosis, each day became an exercise in digging deeper, hoping beyond hope, and trying for normal when normal had long escaped us. I learned to live in the present: to embrace the mundane, to kiss our kids, hold on to each second we had just between us, to enjoy every second of what I knew would be the end of our dinner date nights out sharing our favorite creme brulee. I received one of the most unexpected gift: the strength that can only come by just holding hands and challenging the unknown. For 19 months we fought the inevitable. The balloon popped; the train came charging; we all went down together. Picking up the pieces after such a catastrophe has been no easy task. But today, I have a new strength; built from adversity and forged in the fire of pain and loss. My husband lives in my soul, in the faces of our children, and in the quiet calm of knowing that I was lucky enough to experience the miracle of a love that can transcend fear and even death. The gift of our love has far surpassed the horrible disease that took the love of my life.
30. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Things We Miss the Mostâ&#x20AC;? Acrylic on canvas 18 x 24 $350
Beth Wirick Hazel Park, MI instagram.com/bethwirick_art Artist Statement: Even with only being able to speak with my inspiration over the phone, I could feel the love that her and her husband shared. It was almost like speaking with an old friend about their new exciting romance. After Brigette told me that one of the things she missed the most about her husband was forehead kisses from him, I knew that I wanted to capture that feeling of warm, sweet adoration that envelopes you and resonates within you long after the act itself. This also brings in to play the feather, which Brigette had told me was significant to her, because they can symbolize a connection with someone on a spiritual level, reminding us of those people and feelings even after their physical presence is gone. 77
On behalf of our deserving inspirations and talented artists, we extend our appreciation to our devoted event volunteers. Twist Out Cancer gratefully acknowledges annual leadership support from: The Coleman Foundation The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The Smith Family Foundation THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
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“You Never know who may be watching. You don’t do it for the applause. You don’t do it to impress. You just keep going. Though this thing called life has a mind of its own. That drive to continue just won’t leave you alone. You might go for a walk when others may choose to stay home. Every step is a battle, the pain cuts to the bone. Never Quit is my motto. It stuck like honey to a bee . Our pain and hardship becomes inspiration. Look around it’s plain to see. Many of us do it for our community. Sort of like the trunk of every tree. Holding firm when times get rough. Be the story, I say to thee. I stand tall and proud but don’t claim to have the answer. Grateful for the day, the hour, this moment with you, As we come together to Twist out Cancer. Let’s Twist! Much Love and Never Quit!” -Charles Porter II
In Loving Memory Of Our Inspirations 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 Melissa Tang Danielle Peress Terri Allister Samira Cooper Kasey Passen
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