On Giving Tuesday, Twist Out Cancer has the opportunity to raise $30,000 from two generous matching grants provided by the Coleman Foundation and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The Coleman Foundation is a private, independent grantmaking foundation that supports educational institutions offering entrepreneurship education, organizations providing cancer treatment, education and suppot, and agencies providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities in the Chicago Metro area. The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation is a global organization that seeks to ignite the passion and unleash the power in young people to create positive change for themselves, the Jewish community and the broader world. Learn more about the Foundation here.
Twist Out Cancer's Mission
Twist Out Cancer is a global community that enables anyone touched by cancer to connect, create, support and inspire.
Twist Out Cancer (TOC) was built on the belief that when you share, the world opens up. At the age of 29, Jenna Benn Shersher was diagnosed with grey zone lymphoma—a rare form of cancer which affects less than 200 people in the United States. Midway through treatment, Jenna, a dancer at heart, was isolated due to her compromised immune system. Alone and longing for the days when she could dance freely, she created an online video of herself doing the twist. She asked her friends to join her on her virtual dance floor, and within days, Jenna’s challenge was met by hundreds of videos of thousands of people dancing around the world. She no longer felt alone but instead connected to and supported by a community of twisters. When Jenna completed treatment she knew that she wanted to give back in a meaningful way. She recognized the power of sharing and the importance of creating a support community that caters to the psychosocial needs of those affected by cancer. Thus: Twist Out Cancer was born.
How Do We Twist Out Cancer?
Those touched by cancer are invited to visit twistoutcancer.org and create a profile page describing their “twist on cancer” (lessons learned, fighting strategies and/or a new perspective). Each survivor or caregiver is encouraged to issue a personal challenge to the community that is meaningful to his or her cancer journey. This task must be easily accomplished and documented by supporters using written word, photography or video. As supporters submit their responses, the profile becomes a collection of personalized tributes meant to provide comfort, inspiration, and hope.
Twist in Action
Some examples of challenges include:
“I’m in the midst of chemotherapy and I have lost all my taste buds. I really miss my grandmother’s lasagna. Here is the recipe— gather some friends, host a dinner party, and tell me what it tastes like.”
“I had cancer from the ages of 10–13, and I felt like I was robbed of my childhood. I would like you to spend an afternoon doing something carefree and childlike.”
Brushes with Cancer
Brushes with cancer provides psycho-social support to those touched by Cancer to improve the quality of life for cancer patients, their family and loved ones through a unique art experience. The program focuses on creating unexpected intersections between the subject ( or inspiration) and the artist. Brushes with Cancer strategically matches artists with those touched by Cancer to create unique pieces of artwork reflective of their journey. The matches connect in person, via skype, on the phone or by email. Their relationships are guided by and supported by Twist Out Cancer volunteers with the intention of creating a support system for both the artist and subject. The program finishes on a high with our signature celebratory art exhibition, gala and auction where the artwork is revealed for the first time.
Twist Out Cancer Workshops
TOC workshops or 'Twist Shops' provide individuals touched by cancer with an opportunity to share their 'twist on cancer,' (lessons learned, fighting strategies and new perspectives). 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 a Twist Out Cancer Workshop. Some of our community partners include Camp Chi, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University, Jewish Federation in Chicago and Federation CJA in Montreal.