Devin Thorpe of Forbes sat down with Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder and Executive Director of Twist Out Cancer to discuss the organization's mission and work.
"When you share - the world opens up".
What is Twist Out Cancer?
How Does it Help?
Twist Out Cancer aims to harness the power of personal connection and community to support survivors as they fight, cope and heal. Through sharing the community is called to action.
How Does it Work?
Each survivor is invited to create a profile page describing his or her "twist" on cancer. The survivor is then asked to create a dedicated call to action that is meaningful to his or her cancer journey. This task must be easily accomplished and documented by supporters using photography or video. The survivor's profile becomes a collection of personalized tributes meant to provide comfort, inspiration, and hope.
Brushes with Cancer
Brushes with Cancer is a 4 month program that matches those touched by cancer with an artist charged with creating a unique piece of artwork reflective of their journey with cancer.
On Saturday, November 3rd, Ava and Emma Blaser will perform at the 6th annual Brushes with Cancer event in Chicago. 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.
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.
Join us on May 10, 2018 for the 1st annual Brushes with Cancer Montreal at the Rialto Theatre. We are excited to announce that we have 50 inspirations and artists participating in our innagural program! At the event you will be able to view and purchase 25 unique works of art, dine on delcious food from local restaurants, and enjoy live music at our big event. We are anticipating 300 people in attendance. We hope you will join us!