Brushes With Cancer – Returns to Chicago in 2020 For its Eighth Annual Event in the City


Twist Out Cancer is an international non-profit charitable organization that provides psychosocial support to individuals touched by cancer through creative arts programming.  What started in Chicago in 2012 as a small grass roots movement has evolved into an international non-profit organization that has touched over 130,000 people around the world.

Brushes With Cancer is a unique celebration of survivorship and hope that pairs previvors, survivors, fighters, and caregivers, referred to as Inspirations, with accomplished artists working in a variety of mediums.  Those touched by cancer share their ‘twist on cancer’ – stories, feelings and experiences – with the artist, which serves as the inspiration for the art.

The Brushes With Cancer Program in Chicago

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, a Brushes With Cancer program was held for the eighth consecutive year in Chicago.  For this program, 36 Inspirations were matched with 36 Artists.  The Gala, which was held at Moonlight Studios, was a sold out event that attracted 600 people.  To see the unique art work created in honor of those touched by cancer as part of the 2019 Brushes With Cancer program in Chicago, please click here.

The program raised $135,000, but most importantly, it turned out to be a meaningful moment for all of the Inspirations and Artists that poured their hearts into the program.  Throughout the evening, guests were also treated to presentations and speeches centered on personal stories from those who have been touched by cancer.  This included a presentation from Jenna Benn Shersher, who founded Twist Out Cancer after surviving Grey Zone Lymphoma; a speech from Chicago native, actor, and comedian Lil Rel Howery, who lost his mom and brother to cancer; as well as an original song from Jenny Conlee-Drizos, who is a Breast Cancer survivor and is the organist and pianist for The Decemberists.  Jenny wrote the song for a cancer survivor in Chicago.

We are now proud to announce that Brushes With Cancer will be returning to Chicago on Saturday, November 14 at Moonlight Studios.  The program was supported locally by 43 sponsors including The Coleman Foundation, United Airlines, and the Lettuce Entertain You Group.  Additionally, local media highlighted the relationships that were made as part of the program with these interviews on ABC7, NBC5, and WGN-TV.

Applications are now available for those touched by cancer Inspirations and artists to be part of the 2020 Brushes With Cancer program in Chicago.  We are also looking for sponsors to support the growth of our programs locally..  If you are interested in becoming involved in this transformative program, please reach out to Jenna Benn Shersher at