Page 1

Rialto Theatre Montreal,QC May 10, 2018 Brushes with Cancer provides psychosocial support to those touched by cancer to improve the quality of life for cancer patients, their family and loved ones, through a unique art experience.

twistoutcancer.org

#brusheswithcancermtl


Brushes with Cancer Leadership Board President Jenna Benn Shersher

Advisory Board Jennifer Margolis Eryn Bizar

Board Chair, USA Andrew Edelston

Deb Fox Alyssa Judlo August Spree

Board Chair, Canada

Nikki Dicks

Dan Hadad

Rachel Kunkel

Past Board Chair, USA

Charles Shaw

Alana Dugandzic

Executive Board Noreen Karadsheh Erin Green Emma Peck Block

Becky Galvez Joelle Bilow Joshua Taustein Stephanie Held Jacqueline Carmody Bowen Kline Dr. David Turok

Brushes with Cancer Montreal Host Committee Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director

Doris Lam

Suzanne Cronin and Jessica Sharafi, Co-Chairs

Moe Liebman

Dan Atlan

Ali Lydynia

Jennifer Chriqui

Steven Merling

Hanne Ellingsen

Nynke Wijnalda

Lise Troyer

Twist Out Cancer Canada

Twist Out Cancer Staff

Jenna Benn Shersher, Board President

Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director

Dan Hadad Board, Co-Chair

Amelia Hanrahan, Program Director

Sharon Marcushamer, Board Co-Chair April Gibson, Member at Large Tim Richardson, Member at Large


Table of Contents What is Twist Out Cancer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 What is Brushes with Cancer? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

3 Welcome to Brushes With Cancer Montreal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Program. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Silent Auction Rules. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Speakers, Emcee and Entertainment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5-8 Inspirations and Artists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-34 Sponsors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 In Loving Memory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Message from the Founder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


WHAT IS TWIST OUT CANCER? Twist Out Cancer provides psychosocial support for individuals touched by cancer through creative arts programming.

The Story When 29-year-old Jenna Benn Shersher was undergoing cancer treatment in 2010 for a rare form of lymphoma, she felt disconnected from the world. Isolated at home because of a compromised immune system, she longed to do something she hadn’t done since she was well...dance. And so she did. With Chubby Checker’s,“The Twist,” blasting in the background, she recorded herself twisting her heart out. When she posted the video on Facebook, she had one simple request, “Please join me on the dance floor!” The response was astounding. Within days, Jenna was flooded with hundreds of videos of thousands of people from across the globe, all twisting. These videos came from people she knew and perfect strangers. There were people twisting at work, at home, and even from the hospital. “As they twisted, I was able to tiptoe out of my room and join the world,” recalled Jenna. “I no longer felt alone, but instead connected to and supported by a community of twisters.” It was then that Jenna made a vow that once she had completed treatment she would give back in a meaningful way. And so, Twist Out Cancer was born.

1

Twist Out Cancer

Brushes with 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 our online platforms, Brushes with Cancer, Twist-Shops and Health and Wellness programs and events in the community.

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.


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.

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. TOC 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, with 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. Committed Executive and Advisory Boards further serve to support through their volunteerism.

Get Involved Twist Out Cancer is a community that celebrates creativity, encourages engagement, and believes in the importance of giving back. TOC volunteers 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.

2


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.

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.

3


TONIGHT Twist Out Cancer paired 23 artists with 23 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 within Canada.

PROGRAM 5:00 PM

Opening Ceremony for Artists, Inspirations and Their Families

6:00 PM

General Admission & Art Auction

7:00 PM

General Program, Led by Ryan Wilner, Featuring

Brushes with Cancer Impact Video

Jessica Sharafi and Suzanne Cronin, Co-chairs of Brushes with Cancer Montreal

Keynote Speaker, William Brock

Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer

Performance by Blue Monkey Project

Dance by Jessica Lopez 9:00 PM

Art Auction Closes

SILENT AUCTION RULES • 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 9:00 PM, at which time the highest bid on each bid sheet will be declared the winner. • Twist Out Cancer is acting as a consignee of the art for the purposes of this auction. All sales are final, as is, and are between the artist and the buyer. •If conflict arises over identifying the last valid bid for an item(s) or in the event there is any confusion over any of the rules or procedures of this auction, Twist Out Cancer reserves the right to determine the winner or to impose an alternate method of closing the item for interested parties, including, but not limited to, cancelling the sale or requiring a sealed final bid. All Twist Out Cancer decisions are final and binding on all participants

4


PARTICIPATING SPEAKERS

Suzanne Cronin and Jessica Sharafi Brushes with cancer MontrÊal Co-Chairs Tonight is one of celebration. It is the celebration of two strangers who connected, shared and healed in response to their personal experience during one of their most challenging times. Our inspirations were strong and resilient during the last 4-6 months as they opened up and shared their journey with their artist who voluntarily and willingly listened, supported and turned these experiences into amazing unique works of art. The bonds and friendships that we witnessed unfold and flourish has been a true gift to the host committee, as the first Brushes with Cancer Montreal community blossomed. Behind each piece of art created throughout this program there is meaning, depth, gratitude, sorrow, love and unexplained emotions – there is a past, but there is also the emergence of a new story, one of inspiration, hope and survivorship. As co-chairs of this program and on behalf of the entire host committee we thank all of the participants for providing us with the opportunity to be a part of their journey. We are proud to bring this unique program to Montreal and hope that we can continue to create connections and build an even larger Canadian community related to Brushes with Cancer. 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.

5


Jenna Benn Shersher Founder and Executive Director Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer Jenna Benn Shersher is a 36-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. Jenna’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 CNN, NBC5, CBS, ABC7, WGN and Fox News. She has also been featured in the New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. Jenna is a mentor angel with Imerman Angels, and was an Honored Hero and advocate for Team in Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She is an ROI fellow with the Schusterman Foundation and serves on the board of the Anti-Defamation League. Jenna received her Bachelor’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.

6


William Brock Ad. E. William brings passion, energy and tenacity to everything he does. He operates a market leading commercial litigation practice for a wide range of clients, including leading Canadian and foreign corporations and government entities. He has decades of experience before the Québec Superior Court, the Québec Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, and has acted as counsel or as an arbitrator in numerous significant commercial arbitrations. He is listed in L’Expert/Thomson as one of Canada’s 100 Most Creative Lawyers, one the 500 Leading Lawyers in Canada, and as one of the Top 25 Corporate Litigators in Canada. He is also recommended as a leader in Dispute Resolution in Chambers Global, and is recognized in the Who’s Who of Canada. In his spare time, William is a photographer and an author (Portraits of Hope, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal), and is presently working on a second book, The Word. William was very fortunate to have survived acute leukemia in 2004, thanks to a stem cell transplant from one of his brothers, and the miracles of science and medicine. He is active in fundraising for blood cancer research, the development of stem cell technologies, and patient support, and often speaks on the importance of science and research. William believes we should all be measured not only by what we have done, but also by what we have given.

Ryan Wilner Ryan has been performing as a stand-up comedian and M.C. for over 20 years. He has made numerous appearances at Just For Laughs, and taped his own half-hour comedy special for The Comedy Network. Nowadays, his main focus is running Renwil, a company his late father founded over 50 years ago, along with his brother Jonathan.

7


Entertainment Blue Monkey Project Blue Monkey Project est un groupe diversifié de musiciens avec une mosaïque d’influences allant de ​Stevie Wonder​ et les Stones, à Amy Winehouse​, ​No Doubt et Funkadelic. Le résultat est un mélange éclectique d’énergie musicale qui pulse à travers leur matériel original et un vaste​répertoire de titres populaires variés. Blue Monkey Project is a diverse group of musicians with an array of influences​,​from Stevie Wonder​and the Stones, to Amy Winehouse​, ​No Doubt and Funkadelic. The result is an eclectic blend of musical energy that drives both​ their original material and​extensive repertoire of cover songs. The BMP​​will rock you, funk you up and move your soul with a dynamic show that’s not to be missed. MEET THE MATCHES Inspirations

Artists

Melissa Margles

Annie Rezac

Adina Moss

Melissa Dickerman

Karen Weiner-Mayar

Rachel Saslaw

Angela Iliopoulos

Christina Karamalis

Samantha Wexler

Jessica Lopez

Virginia Champoux

Ishita Banerjee

Anita Bhuptani

Tamara Jedeikin

Iris Alapin

Clio Honig

Merle Finkelstein

Galit Nahmiash Amselem

Stephanie Gliksman

Jacqueline Carmody

Amanda Sculnick

Jennifer Pontarelli

Jennifer Silver

Marie Hélène Robidas

Mary Sanner

Louise Campion

Romy Schnaiberg

Ondine Guralnick

Theresa McEwan

Allison Smith

Judy-Ann Mitchell-Turgeon

Cara Braude

Joy Rodgers

Yana Badamshin

Alyssa Bleser

Terry Trager

Sian Oaten

Carrie Ferrari

Lindsey Finkelstein

Monique Weston

Alain Pelletier

Pamela Kenny

Susan Casey

Benoit Marcotte

Edit Bikszer

Annabelle Paré

Terri Allister

Suzanne Handman

8


Melissa Margles & Annie Rezac Melissa Margles, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: In caring for my mother during her short relapse, I learned that life is short and that we need to make the most of the time that is given to us. The laundry can wait one more day, the dishes can get washed later and you can mow the lawn tomorrow. But the opportunity to tell someone how much we love them and how much they mean to us can’t wait. Call that friend you’ve been meaning to call, have coffee with that person you keep meaning to see. Do it now, do it today, do it tonight! I promise you won’t regret it!

1.

Artist Statement: This painting is one representation of the multi-faceted life journey of Merle, a loving mother, wife, and friend. The visual story moves from the upper left corner to the lower right, taking the viewer through various life phases. Imagine a life that begins with a structured view of the world - living life on the straight and narrow and doing what is expected of you. Then, the twist and turns of middle age invite color, love, family, and new personal growth. Suddenly, life pulls you into an intense and twisted vortex that changes everything. Although the vortex was painful and scary, there is life blooming on the other side. I hope this work honor’s Merle’s life in a meaningful way and captures the indescribable journey that Melissa and her family endured with the sudden loss of their family’s beloved matriarch.

9


Adina Moss & Melissa Dickerman Adina Moss, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: When I stopped to reflect on the year we had been through, it was glaringly obvious that my twist on cancer was the kid-centered version. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, at the age of 36, my kids were 8, 6, and 3 years old . . . and I was 30 weeks pregnant. How does life go on? How do we maintain a sense of “normalcy” for the kids when our situation was anything but normal? Achieving “normal” became my priority, and constant concern. I was determined that my kids would not be scarred by seeing their Mom deal with cancer. So, I made the decision to keep the kids informed and involved. They helped pull out my hair when it started to fall out; painted my head when I was bald; celebrated with me during my last chemo; sat next to me and read books on the days that I was too sick to get out of bed; etc. Most importantly, I made sure they knew they could always talk to us, and we would always be 100% honest with them. Instead of focusing on the “whys”—why me? why now? whyyyy?—I decided to focus on getting through this for my kids, for my newborn. One year post-cancer, my husband asked our kids, “How do you remember last year? What was it like for you when Mommy was sick?” And their answer - “Mommy wasn’t sick, she had cancer!” And that’s when I knew we had done it. We had twisted out cancer in our own way.

Artist Statement: Adina. Synonym of strength, courage and grace. For this project, it was important for me to have Adina and her family participate in the art making process. It is their story...their lives. I am simply humbled to have been entrusted with helping them depict who they are as a family before, during and after their journey.

2.

10


Karen Weiner-Mayar & Rachel Saslaw Karen Weiner-Mayar, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: My breast cancer diagnosis was officially made on September 29, 2014. I was 36 weeks pregnant; I also had a 2 year old and a 16 year old. My son was delivered the next day, in perfect health, but I experienced significant complications. Chemo started ten days later. There was no choice: it was an aggressive Stage 3 with lymph node involvement. Months of chemo, mastectomy, more months of chemo... Early on, to help figure out how best to speak to my eldest about what I was going through, I read a book geared to teens about having a parent with cancer. Kids had provided their experiences and I learned the “23/6 Rule”: 23 hours a day, 6 days a week, you do your best to go about life as usual. One hour a day, and one day a week, are reserved for pity parties, temper tantrums, freaking out, and all the other emotional stuff that needs an outlet but shouldn’t be allowed to dominate. We all need the 23/6 Rule in our lives, no matter our health. Like many people, I was used to my priorities being the kids, the house, work... This rule made it easier to give myself the “me time” I needed, and often I just needed some solitude. The 23/6 Rule lives on in our house, and it continues to play a role in my recovery. Artist Statement: Getting to know Karen through this creative process has been a vulnerable and transformative experience – learning of her battle with cancer that has shaped her into the warrior woman I know today. “Spring Always Comes” is a mixed-media piece, inspired by the sanctuary Karen built through this turbulent time – raising a family, a newborn, and bearing breast cancer treatment all at once. The setting comes to life with vibrant trees, made of pressed flower petals, bark, and acrylic. Over the past five months, I collected these natural elements in various locations in the northeast US, from the beaches of Rhode Island to Central Park in Manhattan. The incorporation of flowers in this piece alludes to the life of Karen’s newborn son, Jaiden, who came into the world just four days before she would start treatment. Karen shared, “If I had been diagnosed only a few months earlier, Jaiden wouldn’t be here. And if I was diagnosed only weeks later, then I wouldn’t be here.” Her son is a blessing and a focal theme of this piece.

3.

The hammock signifies both Karen’s place of spiritual serenity, and her knitting group, which continues to be a foundational support system for her and her cancer community. She shares this hobby with her daughter as an outlet to create new memories together. The hammock is a hand-knitted contribution by Karen herself. Collaborating on the tangible elements of this piece gave me a richer sense of connectedness to the design and physical manifestation of Karen’s journey. The pebbles scattered throughout the piece represent the supportive rocks in Karen’s life, particularly her husband, Sanjay, and best friend, Cara. Too often do we remember the ugly parts of cancer: the fatigue, fear, and impatient anxiety of “what-if”. This collaboration has reaffirmed my belief in the resilience of our hearts in trying times. This work is an homage to Karen’s selfless sunshine and relentless bravery as a mother, wife, advocate, and friend.

11


Angela Iliopoulos & Christina Karamalis Angela Iliopoulos, Survivor and Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: As I reflect and share with you my journey with cancer that started 4 years ago. I can for sure say that it’s in my past, that it has changed my present and will always follow me in the future. I was blessed and very fortunate that my story ended well, but it took me a very long time to accept it. I was looking for the root of why and how I got it. It was only when I stopped and focused on who watched over me, and how on earth was it discovered so early, that I was able to see my ending as happy and not tragic. Ironically my husband was also diagnosed in 2011 and to even the doctor’s surprise he made a full recovery. I always wondered did my dad have anything to do with this or even my father in law? Were they looking out for us, knowing that their grandchildren needed us. Both are in the spiritual world and I know NOW they were my guardian angels. This experience and the artist I was paired with has affirmed this 100%! Christina, my artist, known as the Lovely Lotus, is a medium. Now you tell me if this was fate! My future is bright and now I live with a little less fear then I did yesterday. Thank you Brushes with Cancer for this and thank you Christina ! xox

Artist Statement: As a working medium and spirit artist, I am guided by the spirit world to create channeled art. I wanted to be guided in creating this special painting for Angela. I had a vision of an angel of healing, as Angela first mentioned when we met, “I had a guardian angel watching over me”. Angela came to my home studio with the intention of having her paint a background colour, using that as inspiration to link in and create something wonderful just for her. Having no previous art making experience, Angela enjoyed mixing beautiful pink tones and making vertical marks across the white canvas. I was left with this pink canvas, a vibrant pink, with areas of thick paint. I had a difficult time starting. Kept putting it off, started one vision in chalk, erased it. Kept drawing and erasing. Was I left with the frustration of cancer? I gave myself a day in the studio to paint, and a face emerged. Finally, a starting point. As I continued painting, I noticed the thick strip of paint across the figure’s face. I was ready to put this canvas away, and start fresh. How could I possibly create a beautiful face with a line through it? I called up my close friend Dawn, that is also a spirit artist. “You are not starting over,” she told me, “that line is part of the story. It’s like cancer, it’s in your face, there are no second chances with cancer, you don’t get a new body. You don’t get rid of it cause you don’t like it, you work through it.” And so I did. Tirelessly, hour after hour, layer after layer, until the thick line across her face, was less evident and was just part of the story that made her who she was.

4.

12


Samantha Wexler & Jessica Lopez Samantha Wexler, Survivor

Virg Montreal, Canada Twist on Cancer: I went back to school after my diagnosis of stage IV inoperable disease. I have since completed my BFA, almost completed my Masters, I am an outspoken advocate for people with GIST and other rare diseases, and I run my own company. I would like to participate because I want to bring awareness to GIST. It is such a rare cancer that very few people know of its existence, this needs to change in a big way. This year has been particularly challenging as I have also been dealing with a completely unexpected brain metastasis and the aftermath of living through and overcoming such a surreal experience.

Artist Statement: For me, Samantha is a mountain, a grounded being that has her heart open to life. I wanted to represent what she has brought to my life and what she gives to everyone around her. This painting represents her advocacy for awareness, and her ability to rise from adversity. I used this palette to allude all the colors that earth can take, wet soil, desert sand, pond clay, to honour Sams grounded soul and as a reminder that we are all natural beings that have the power to reach out.

5.

13


Virginia Champoux & Ishita Banerjee Virginia Champoux-Sokoloff, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: I watched my mother fight this disease for almost 20 years before passing away from it. When it came for me, a mere 3 years later, I took a completely different treatment approach - guns ablazing, and left no stone unturned so that I would be cancer free for a long, long time.

Artist Statement: “Our Tangled Stories� is the story of Virginia and her late husband Jay, which are completely intertwined. While Virginia was battling a deadly and rapidly spreading breast cancer, double mastectomy and its intense aftermath, her husband underwent lung failure and passed away leaving her with two young children, and a tremendous fight to battle. Layered and complex, her story had so many levels. The center point of the story is the breast and the lung. The place where it all began. The breast and the lungs are generally in the same area of the body and I tried to show how where one began and one ended. Their stories are tangled, interlinked and can be seen as two breasts, one breast and a lung or two lungs. The radiating lines tangle and weave the stories together. The tattoos on the breast that Virginia chose to cover up the scars is symbolically represented, while the hair also plays a big part in the composition. While Jay is no longer present physically, he is still a big part of the story in spirit and so the closed eye, the lines and dots that symbolise his onward journey. I deliberately kept away from black, choosing instead shades of blue, rust, terracotta and flesh tones. The female form representing Virginia is strong, vibrant and is an inspiration to look up to. I have had to fight tears every time I worked on it. The magnitude of what she had to go through was staggering. The statement I am trying to make through this art piece is both poignant, harsh yet strong and determined. A celebration of who Virginia is and the optimism with which she has forged on. Getting to know her, her sense of humor and the tenacity with which she fought the biggest battle of her life was a gift to me. If ever faced with this kind of adversity, her strength is what I hope to imbibe in my own life.

6.

Ishi

Mo

ww

“Ou

Art

Art

14

$3


Anita Bhuptani & Tamara Jedeikin Anita Bhuptani, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: Even though in 2013 I landed in the emergency room in intense pain and, a week later, had a massive ovarian tumor removed (along with half my reproductive system), I’ve never really identified myself as a survivor because I was one of the lucky ones. The abnormal cells were contained within the ovary and no further treatments, including chemo, were required. I had no children at the time and was told that I may not have the chance to have any but luckily, I was able to conceive and deliver two beautiful, healthy baby boys (now 2 and 3) within the next few years. I’ve always been someone who believed in “if you plan ahead, you can (somewhat) control the future and outcomes” but eight months ago, on our way to our family vacation, my eldest son was diagnosed with leukemia. My world shattered in that moment... We are still putting together the pieces and have a long road ahead of us in my son’s treatment but the prognosis rates are excellent and we remain positive for our entire family. I am sure this entire journey will change me in ways I cannot imagine but it is already teaching me the important lesson of letting go... of control, of negativity, of cynicism, and to remember to live day by day because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or what we’ll be dealing with. Be mindful, be present, be grateful, this is my new mantra which I try to practice daily...there are days when I don’t succeed but it is where I know I need to be...for my two biggest inspirations, my courageous son who teaches me how to be a better, stronger person and for his compassionate and generous little brother who has self-elected himself as G’s protector. Artist Statement: Nity is nothing short of amazing. From the moment we first spoke I felt an instant connection. Cancer is a nightmare that touches everyone. To witness a woman facing her child’s illness head on with such fierce positivity, quiet determination and unyielding courage is incredible. Nity described a rollercoaster of emotions on a daily basis. She shared the struggle to maintain normalcy and balance for her family. She talked about the effects of the illness, how it has changed and shaped the dynamic with and among her young sons. My piece “Spring” is inspired by Nity’s journey as a mother through this disease. It is a celebration of her bravery and hope, her fear and love, her strength and resilience as she navigates her little Gabe to a new life, a renewal, and a second chance to spread his wings.

15

7.


Iris Alapin & Clio Honig Iris Alapin, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist on Cancer: Cancer sucks. I lost my partner/my friend/my family member of 17 years to cancer. He was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and underwent aggressive chemotherapy as well as two surgeries. Throughout the disease, he was strong willed, determined to fight, always dignified and hopeful. Despite the inevitable fatigue and pain, he continued to work, he continued to plan, he continued to live. One could even argue he was more alive during his last year of life than he’d ever been. I was 5 months pregnant when he passed away. What I learned from him was the urgency to live fully, what I got from him was a beautiful life - my son.

Artist Statement: As you meet Iris, you are immediately moved by her sincere kindness and warm soul. Always smiling, you would never know of the incredibly difficult period she endured when losing her husband to cancer, less than 5 years ago. Left to raise her young child, Iris had to maintain a positive and fulfilling upbringing for her son. Her perseverance and endearing personality has truly been a source of admiration to me when creating this piece. In this watercolor, the poised woman and her bold stare represents the courage and confidence I associate with my dear friend Iris.

8.

16


Merle Finkelstein & Galit Nahmiash Amselem Merle Finkelstein, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: In September 2016, my then, 22 year old daughter was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Our lives were turned not only upside down but inside out. We felt we were in a marathon. How much could we do in the shortest amount of time. We felt time was against us but if we beat the clock, then we would have a favourable outcome. Some 6 months later, I too was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer. Like daughter, this mother also had a bilateral mastectomy. With the support of family, friends and a supporting community, we are both in remission. I look to my courageous daughter for inspiration. We are the dynamic duo.

Artist Statement: When I first got asked if I would be interested in participating in Brushes With Cancer, I eagerly and instantly asked “when I do I meet my match?”. Merle was an absolute joy to meet and be around. Hearing her story made me realize how great of an inspiration she would be and I felt fortunate to be given this opportunity. I met with Merle several times over coffee and noticed that she always spoke about her beautiful, strong daughter, and just how big of a part of Merle’s life she is. I decided to include Merle’s daughter in the painting in order to portray the strong bond between mother and daughter by holding hands and never letting go, all while incorporating these bright colors for the bright future ahead.

9.

17


Stephanie Gliksman & Jacqueline Carmody Stephanie Gliksman, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: Cancer snuck up on me. I found a lump in my breast just four weeks before my wedding. But from the day I was diagnosed I made the decision to stay positive and focus on the big picture. So my destination wedding went on as planned, and it was the best weekend of my life. When the party was over I got busy with aggressive surgeries and treatments. Having just watched my mom go through it I was less afraid, but I had one major concern-how and when could I start a family? While my doctors were amazing they were more focused on immediate treatments and could not provide me with the answers I so desperately needed. So I put all of my focus and energy on planning for my life after Cancer and starting my family. I researched, and planned, and with the support of my amazing husband I was able to look ahead. A few years after my diagnosis my beautiful son was born via gestational surrogate, fulfilling my dream of becoming a mother. This experience has shown me how truly giving and kind people can be. I have learned that plans may change but you never need to give up on your dreams, wonderful things can come from difficult beginnings. While there have been many twists and turns I am forever grateful for my journey and the support I’ve received which is how we came to name our son Ty (Thank you). Artist Statement: Trust is the ability to have confidence and rely on the strength of someone or something outside of your control. The capacity to trust in the unknown is extremely difficult when the rest of your world seems to be in chaos. Stephanie continuously trusted in the belief that everything that was meant to be in her life was there for a reason. During a time when most could get lost in the struggles of Cancer, Stephanie was able to focus on the life she knew was ahead of her. With the support of family, friends, doctors, and even strangers, Stephanie and her husband allowed life to continue and did not let Cancer prevent them from growing as a couple and a family. Through this trust, they let the cards of life play out and did not succumb to fear. This piece reflects their acceptance and guidance of a higher power that connected them to the surrogate of their now 2 year old son. The sky in this painting represents the unknowns and the bigger picture of life. Each star signifies life’s events and how they shape our experience. Life is unpredictable, but if you allow yourself to trust in the universe, it will have your back.

10.

18


Amanda Sculnick & Jennifer Pontarelli Amanda Sculnick, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist on Cancer: I learnt just how much light can come from a seemingly dark place and how raging waters do not always drown a person but can sometimes raise them up to a place far beyond where they were to begin with.

Artist statement: Amanda was uplifting and so positive. Family means the world to her and she had never had a family portrait session done. It was a honour to meet her family and her two incredible blessings.

11.

12

19


Jennifer Silver & Marie HÊlène Robidas Jennifer Silver, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: I am honoured to have been part of this program. It is inspiring to see how something so beautiful can come out of something so difficult. I took part in this project to honour the memory of my father, Stephen Silver. He passed away two years ago and I miss him dearly. To be able to share this experience with others impacted by cancer was a way to help pay tribute to such a wonderful and courageous man.

Artist Statement: Jennifer and I were placed together because of a common destiny, both our fathers past away from cancer. Her father lived his life with many cancers and that experience shaped her. When I met with Jennifer, she kept describing her father with admiration. She talked about a man that was most of all generous, ambitious, brilliant and had stamina. As she was talking about him and his love for his family and grandchildren, I kept picturing him as a source of attraction just like the moon on the sea. Jenn talked of him with a sense of plenitude when he was near the ocean. This painting represents that sensation of being rocked with the waves because of that celestial body.

12.

20


Mary Sanner & Louise Campion Mary Sanner, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: What have I learned? Who am I today having been touched deeply – repeatedly - by cancer? 50 years ago, still a teenager, my father was diagnosed, open, close, no hope. I was devastated, unable to comprehend, no discussion, no possibility. But family and friends surrounded us, providing incredible support to find the resolve, the strength to carry on. Lesson from my father? Fear nothing. Fear is for the weak, not the strong. Fast forward 20 years, my adored grandmother succumbed, my mother some years later, two inspirational women who instilled in me compassion, sense of self and courage, along with my beloved husband, who lost his father shortly thereafter, and for whom courage knows no bounds. Fast forward 25 years, two of my dearest friends in the world – one my business partner – diagnosed nearly at the same time, followed by two more shortly after. How to cope? Again, I was surrounded by community, compassion, courage, but now, hope. Extraordinary medical strides, made at lightning speed, have enabled us to realize hope. My career in medical education has allowed me to witness hope first hand, to benefit from the passion and knowledge of the brilliant people we’ve had the privilege to work with. Foremost though, is the power of community, to lift us up, make us grateful, give us hope. Lesson from these brave, wonderful women? We walk our path ourselves. But by our side are those who enrich and support us, filling us with courage, resilience, love – and hope. Artist Statement: “Support System” is a series of drawings aiming at showing people the importance of entourage through hard times, such as the cancer journey. Mary and I wanted to create a joyful piece, a sign of hope for the people suffering from this, and also to find a kind way to show the lambda viewer that they aren’t powerless in this. That being part of someone’s support system is actually something; a non-negligible something. To achieve this, I asked Mary to show me pictures of her own support system as an inspiration, and to think of quotes she would like me to include in my drawings, quotes that helped her and so were important to her. My goal being to present a piece she could relate to on a personal level but which could also touch any person overcoming something difficult in their own life. Support System is important, it can save someone’s life, even yours.

14 13.

21


Romy Schnaiberg & Ondine Guralnick Romy Schnaiberg, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: I was diagnosed when I was 31 and my kids were 2 and 4 years old. I focused all my energy on my fight and my survival for my kids. The day my radiation ended was the day that I learned I had the BRCA1 mutation. I continued to advocate and fight, for my own surgeries and ultimately so that I could accompany my daughter on her journey. I felt at ease in the role of advocate because it has served me well, but I did not recognize the cost. Twist out Cancer gave me the opportunity to step back from fight mode and reflect with gratitude on the experience, the joys and the pain of so many losses. Retelling my story to Ondine and answering her questions has opened my eyes and my heart in a deep my powerful way. Cancer shaped my life but it doesn’t own my story. Twist out Cancer helped feel comfortable articulating the love, the pain and the gratitude I feel for the whole of the past 21 years. Thank you for this opportunity. Artist statement: As soon as Romy and I started to connect, a friendship bloomed right away. Romy’s journey unfortunately had many many bumps and painful experiences before she was cancer free. From the moment I met her she has been an inspiration. Though she’s been to hell and back, more than once, her attitude towards life is so beautiful. She’s not just a person that sees life half full but completely full, full of happiness and joy. This piece represents that strength, her courageous journey, not letting anything take her down. She has this unique, vibrant and kind brightness about her. No matter how many obstacles got in her way and pushed her down; she made her way through it, not only to find the light but allowing her light to shine through. I could only hope this piece represents a tiny percentage of Romy’s inner joy, an expansive light that branches out and touches all the people around her. It has been an honour and I am so deeply touched to represent such a special person.

14.

22


Theresa McEwan & Allison Smith Theresa McEwan, Survivor

Baie D’urfé, Canada Twist On Cancer: Four years ago, a little after I turned 40, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lucky for me, it was detected early. With the support of my amazing husband Joel, my mother, sister, family and my incredibly supportive girlfriends, we made tough decisions with regards to my health and how we were going to face the diagnosis. Little did we know then, my double mastectomy was only the first tough decision. Shortly thereafter, we discovered I was BRCA positive. Although the breast cancer diagnosis was like getting hit by a bus, finding out I tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation was significantly worse. Having a gene mutation is a game changer! More surgery, at least my complete hysterectomy ended up being preventative but nonetheless, life altering. While was concerned about my outcome upon initial diagnosis, I now worry for my mother, sister and my children, the oldest of which is 14. Knowledge is power though and with continued research, hopefully we will get closer to finding the cause of this ugly disease. I am grateful every day to the MD who suggested a routine mammogram despite my young age and my surgeon who suspected a genetic predisposition when everyone else felt it wasn’t probable. They saved my life! I am thrilled and honoured to have participated in “Brushes with Cancer” as it has led me to Allison. I was suppose to be her inspiration but I have been forever moved and inspired by her beautiful soul, talent and friendship. Thank you Allison!

23


Artist Statement: I have been paired with a beautiful soul. Theresa McEwan is a resilient, persevering, selfless, brave woman who exudes a confident humility. She inspires and loves those around her inherently. She is a fighter, a mother, wife, sister, daughter and cancer survivor.

15.

I hope to convey Theresa’s complex story in my work “With Great Courage”. The painting started off by layering many washes of paint to build up some texture and convey the interweaving of her journey. We see an image of a map from the late 1700’s that portrays Theresa’s family lineage to the Saguenay Lac-St-Jean region. It is in this region that the BRCA gene is predominantly found, and also the area in which her great grandfather resided. It is through exploring family lineage and the tie of her great grandfather passing of breast cancer that Theresa first learned she has the BRCA gene. The three faces of the woman represents the balance of maintaining several roles (mother, wife and self) while battling her illness. All while the BRCA gene weighs on her shoulder, both literally and also figuratively in the painting. Simply put, “With Great Courage” encompasses history, family and the female figure. I am honoured to share it with you.

24


Judy-Ann Mitchell-Turgeon & Cara Braude Judy-Ann Mitchell-Turgeon, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: My twist on cancer is the importance of not taking anyone for granted, especially family and friends. Since I was only 21 when my mom was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, I never thought I would need to take on the role of caregiver so soon in my life. Through it all, it has brought my family closer than ever. I will continue to help her be as healthy as possible for as long as I can. I love you mom xox

Artist Statement: As a parent, you’re supposed to take care of your child – protect them and nurture them. We all know that at a certain point in our lives, those roles reverse. As a young adult, Judy-Ann never expected to be the caretaker of her mom, who was diagnosed with cancer that her doctors struggled to treat. This painting is a representation of both Judy-Ann and her Mom – I wanted them to feel that the painting told both of their individual stories but reminded them of how together, they beat cancer.

16.

25


Joy Rodgers & Yana Badamshin Joy Rodgers, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: “It can happen to anyone”. It’s cliché but it’s true. A young mother of two children, I was active, ate well, and didn’t smoke. I WORK in the medical field. I volunteered for over 10 year for Breast Cancer walks. Cancer should not have happened to me, but it did. I remind my family and friends to do monthly exams to search for lumps. I spread awareness where I can. I never let cancer get me down. I found out that I was BRCA1+ and I embraced it. I did not cry about losing my breast and my ovaries. I “took one for the team” so I did not have to watch my mother, my daughter, or my niece get sick. Knowledge is power. Celebrate everything, even the small things because you never know how precious those moments are until you risk losing it all.

Artist Statement: When I met Joy, my first thought was about how beautiful she was and I knew right away that I had to paint her. I didn’t know exactly what kind of a painting but when listening to her story, I kept thinking to myself “Wow! This woman is so strong!” It was really admiring and I felt very inspired. The obstacles she must have gone through were no doubt challenging but she did not let that show. I could just feel the fight and that she refused to let cancer get the best of her. I was inspired by this tremendous courage and strength that she had in this battle, to beat cancer, to live! I decided to paint what I saw in her, what I heard and what I felt. Beautiful, powerful creatures of personal strength and courage dominating through the dark struggles and emotions from the toughest times. Emerging from all this hardship, I hoped to paint Joy as she is, a very happy and radiant soul. I wanted to make this piece “Joyful” with flowers and butterflies representing life, vitality, and rebirth. I didn’t know what to name the painting at first but as soon as it was finished and I looked at it, the name was simple and obvious “Joy.”

17.

26


Alyssa Bleser & Terry Trager Alyssa Bleser, Caregiver Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: It really is all about attitude and in trusting that you know what’s best for your body and soul. Cancer is a journey, no matter the type, age of the patient or outside situations. It is a journey that the patient, their caregivers and, if they are lucky, community will go through together. The patient sets the tone of the journey and the caregivers should try to support that as much as possible. No one comes out of the cancer journey as the same person they went in. The important part is to take away the positive pieces; the journey needs you to embolden you and not take you down.

Artist Statement: Alyssa, my inspiration, and I were matched quite by coincidence. “No coincidence, no story” (Lisa See). She grew up happily in Knowlton, Quebec, in the Eastern Townships, in a log house built by her father. She loved looking up at the stars at night. Her late mother’s favorite scent was lavender and she loved orchids. Just the smell of lavender brings forth memories of her mother. Throughout her journey with breast cancer, Alyssa’s mother practiced yoga, which benefited her both spiritually and physically. Yoga is an important part of Alyssa’s life as well. It was discovered that both her mother and grandmother had the BRCA gene, and both succumbed to breast cancer. Thankfully Alyssa is not a carrier. I can empathize with Alyssa because I lost first my father-in-law and then my mother to cancer, and my father survived colon cancer. Yoga brings me peace and is restorative. In creating this painting, I chose these elements to tell Alyssa’s story. Namasté is a gesture that ends the yoga class, where the hands are held together in the prayer position at the heart chakra. It’s meaning is universally recognized as one of peace, honour, and respect. With this, we honour ourselves and connect mind and body, and ourselves with others and our world. In this way, Alyssa finds connection with her mother.

18.

27


Sian Oaten & Carrie Ferrari Sian Oaten, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: My experience was a devastating blow, but what it allows me to do is to look at my children and stop for the little moments, just stopping to listen to my babies breathe as they sleep. To hold them a little tighter, to hear them laugh out loud. I’m not sure that I would have taken as much time to breathe them in had I not had cancer.

Artist Statement: This piece was created over a period of weeks following speaking and meeting Sian, my Inspiration. At our first meeting Sian shared her cancer experience with me ...What stood out was her courage and resilience throughout her cancer and recovery...With a young child at home to care for, and another on the way, Sian powered through her Chemo, which was of the type that did not affect her pregnancy. We can try to imagine her concerns during treatment...as a mother of four and losing my mother to breast cancer, I am so inspired by Sian’s journey. After her successful treatment, Sian gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and also twins, more than a year later. Four beautiful girls! We met for the first time for a Reiki session at my Reiki space in Montreal (I am a Reiki Master/ Artist/Mother etc…).Such a heart-full and beautiful sharing! I felt that Sians’ healing journey was so interconnected with being a mother and that the presence of her children gave her support and love during this difficult process. Their loving healing energy was present for her. This painting is reminiscent of this, symbolically. As I was painting, the image of the bull appeared! This wasn’t planned or thought of. It represents Sian’s courage, power, resilience ...so I named the painting She Who Runs With the Bull. The birds, each one representing the healing spirit of each one of her children...an essence I felt after meeting all four at their home during the paintings creation. So grateful to have met Sian, for the Brushes with Cancer project and to have shared in her story and to have contributed to this wonderful healing experience.

19.

28


Lindsey Finkelstein & Monique Weston Lindsey Finkelstein, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: This journey taught me several things, however, the most important one was that I needed to learn how to make the most of each and every moment going forward. The fact that I had cancer was not going to change, it wasn’t going to disappear on it’s own and my life was not just going to fall back into place. But, although I was not able to change the fact that I had cancer, I was able to change my attitude. I was able to choose to get out of bed every morning, I was able to choose to be silly and to laugh and to make memories with my adorable bald head. Do not mistake that this journey was enjoyable, not all days were good, but I chose to make the most of each day.

Artist statement: “The birth of this series of exploration comes from the concept of “holding space”- of the shared journey to an unknown destination, of the conscious act of being present... opening to a connection without judgment” I’ve used a “common” gift of life, flowers to help interpret part of the story and to embody the persona of my muse and to share the darkness, uncertainty and fragile nature of a cancer diagnosis, and the following process of death and rebirth much like the life cycle of flowers. The end goal is to create an actual space on a wall in a room where emotions can live and their energy be present. This particular story has a beauty to it, of seeing friends and family brought together in dark times to support and hold space for this beautiful young woman who is blooming with light through her rebirth... Grateful to have had a small piece of her story.

20.

29

21


Alain Pelletier & Pamela Kenny Alain Pelletier, Survivor Lower Sackville, Quebec Twist On Cancer: Glioblastoma! That’s what my cancer is. It’s also called the Ugly Beast, but it doesn’t define me, it’s just what’s attacking my brain. My name is Alain, I am a father, husband, son and businessman. I have lived a good life, a happy life with amazing people around me. This is who I am, and who I will always be. I still have so many dreams and things to do and I will make sure to live my life to the fullest. This disease will take my life one day, but it will never take away who I am.

Artist Statement: Our painting was inspired by the mutual love Alain and I share for sailing and Mother Nature. Centered is a blue chrysanthemum whose petals are blossoming into larger wild ocean waves, which eventually wash into space. In many cultures chrysanthemums symbolize longevity, love, joy and optimism. I can’t imagine the storm Alain is facing, but I’ve felt deep fear and know it’s not pretty. It’s best to get centered, find your balance, and just go with the flow, knowing you’re strong enough to weather the storm. Choose to see the beauty in the darkness.

21.

30


Susan Casey & Benoit Marcotte Susan Casey, Survivor

Montreal, Canada Twist Out Cancer: I finished my last chemo in the fall of 2013 at the age of 47. My husband died at age 53 in the fall of 2015. As scary as facing cancer was, losing my husband to a sudden heart attack was even tougher. While nothing can prepare you for that, somehow the strength and support I found throughout my illness was there for me when I needed it yet again. One of the biggest challenges when I was diagnosed was that I wanted to be strong for my family. They were there for me – Mark, my forever strength; Allie, Taylor and Jack – full up of hope and sacrifice, with just a slice of fear. And yet I wanted to protect them. I tried to put my vulnerability aside while I rode the roller coaster that was diagnosis, surgeries, victories and setbacks, because as a mom, I don’t ever want my children hurting. The secret to getting through was the “village” of support – our friends, neighbors and family – that surrounded us with love and helped us in so many ways. I am grateful for those that ‘showed up’ with arms open when we faced that second crisis one year later. As a survivor I’m very different from when I began this journey. I am grateful for the many gifts along the way: the resilience we found; the impact of the positive collective and a new perspective that I have the capacity to endure and even thrive in the face of adversity, be it sickness or heartbreaking loss.

31

22


22.

Artist Statement: Sue’s story about her cancer and the loss of her husband is overwhelming. While listening to Sue, I was trying to mentally put myself behind the scene and visualize the underlying sources of such strength and survival instinct. So, the three following themes came to my mind and animated my brushes.

Togetherness

Resiliency

Love from above The dark shadow of a loving man, embracing a woman who is looking behind, as if she was seeking to embrace the past again.

Pictured in grey, a portrait of a woman who expresses determination, internalizing feelings to cope in the face of her overwhelming challenges.

Sue spoke with a lot of emotion about her family and friends who supported her so generously for such a lengthy period. I wanted to express togetherness and solidarity by painting a small group of people, glued together around someone in the middle, who projects both fragility and enhanced light. The people in the picture are made small expressing how gigantic the challenges are.

32


Edit Bikszer & Annabelle ParĂŠ Edit Bikszer, Survivor Montreal, Canada Twist On Cancer: I am a retired kindergarten teacher. My hobby is photography. I like to explore and capture special moments. Every year since 2011, I participate in the Mount Royal Cemetery Photography Exhibition. I am a volunteer in Friendship Circle, with special needs kids, and young adults. Helping others helped me make it through so many hard times in my life. When I had a cancer diagnosis, I was devastated. I took it one day at a time. My formula: I BELIEVE + I CAN + I WILL = I DID. With positive thinking I did not have pain after surgery, and no side effects with radiation. Take the power of positive thinking, and incorporate it into your daily life. No matter what, just keep going. Whatever will happen I CAN HANDLE IT :)

Artist Statement: This painting represents Edit’s inspiring, positive fight against cancer. Edit is full of positivity and hope; she loves sharing her experience and wants to inspire other people. The butterfly represents the hope and struggle she went through. It stayed in her with the happiness and kindness she transmits to everyone.

23.

33


Terri Allister & Suzanne Handman

24. Value: $400 A Message for Suzanne Handman I am submitting a lithograph created by my mother Eunice Handman, who was a professional artist. It is an image of a broken vase but one that has not come apart. One of my oldest and closest friends, Terri Allister, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma approximately four and a half years ago. I went with her on many occasions to her doctor’s appointments and to her blood transfusion appointments during the course of her illness and visited her several times a week. When I was asked if I would participate in the fund raising project entitled “Brushes with Cancer”, I chose my mother’s lithograph of an image of a vase that was broken but was still together since it reminded me of my friend Terri. Although she became ill, she did not fall apart. She refused to stop living, saying that she wanted to live life to the fullest. And she did until the very end, pushing herself to the limit, travelling, attending studies groups, leading tours, attending lectures and movies and taking trips to the country. Terri passed away in early March 2018. She was a source of inspiration and courage, always positive throughout her life and never complaining during her illness. I dedicate the artwork to my friend Terri and hope that it provides inspiration to someone else touched by cancer.

34


Thank You to Our Sponsors

Liebman LĂŠgal Inc is honoured to support Brushes with Cancer MontrĂŠal.

35


Congrats Jess and the Brushes with Cancer team! Love you, Audrey, Eric, Nate and Ben.

Honorable mentions Browns shoes

Kruger Inc.

Deville Dinerbar

Naomi Ellingsen and TECC Flora

Eden Polansky

Noam Carver

Elif and Felix Gutierrez

Maurin Cuisine

Gateaux Maliniak

36


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

Brushes with Cancer Montreal Program Book  

For the last 6 months, 46 inspirations and artists connected to share, connect and heal. Enclosed you will find the stories that inspired th...

Brushes with Cancer Montreal Program Book  

For the last 6 months, 46 inspirations and artists connected to share, connect and heal. Enclosed you will find the stories that inspired th...

Advertisement