Advisory Board Member Jeff Guerrero’s Dedication to Art, Medicine and Healing

Jeff standing next to his 2023 Brushes with Cancer piece


When Jeff Guerrero saw Twist Out Cancer Founder and CEO Jenna Benn Shersher speak at an event in Chicago, he immediately requested to connect. 

“It was one of those moments where you get entranced by that person’s words,” he said.

During the event, Jenna shared how she founded Twist Out Cancer with the mission to share, connect and heal through the creative arts. The organization combined Jeff’s two worlds, medicine and art, and as Jenna spoke, Jeff became more inspired to get involved. 

“I thought ‘This is so beautiful and special—I need to be a part of it.’”

The organization combined his two passions. When Jeff was deciding on his career path, he was torn between pursuing art or medicine. He came from a medical background—his mother is a nurse and his dad is in pharmaceuticals. He was accepted to med school but ended up having a change of heart. 

“I always loved that field, I just had a stronger passion for design and art.”

Twist Out Cancer is an extension of that love, connecting Jeff with the clinical side of science. In addition to his role on the organization’s board, he is also a Brushes with Cancer Artist who has partnered with three individuals touched by cancer, known as “Inspirations.”

“I was fortunate to be paired with three of the most wonderful people in the world,” he said. “They are called inspirations because you leave the experience with such a nice and fresh perspective on life.”

The Brushes with Cancer program also challenges Jeff’s craft, helping him grow as an artist.

“I think it’s awesome to support and help someone heal, but it also takes your craft of art to a new level.”


A passion for design 


An illustration of a woman and a beagle on a yellow brick road, on their way to Oz


Jeff’s artistry is all self-taught, a mix of natural talent and years spent practicing, learning and continuously challenging himself. It’s an activity he began to craft during childhood. 

“I always loved animation and drawing,” he said. “I would take loose-leaf paper as I was watching cartoons and draw characters right off-screen. The first one I did was Porky Pig.”

As he got better, he took on freelance design projects in middle and high school.

“It took a lot of practice but I have good hand-eye coordination,” he said. 

By the time Jeff was ready to seriously pursue a career, he knew from his freelance projects that the art and design industry was a viable one. He moved to Chicago and got a job at his friend’s T-shirt company. 

“It was the first time I saw creative work as a career and not the starving artist trope.”

The opportunity ignited a spark in Jeff and eventually led to a full-time design job.

“I said no regrets, let’s see where it goes,” he said. “And I haven’t looked back.”

So, when Twist Out Cancer’s leadership had an idea for a coffee table book, they turned to Jeff for his expertise.



A Brush with Cancer 


Cover for Twist Out Cancer's coffee book, A Brush with Cancer. Cover image by design firm Pentagram


In 2022, Twist Out Cancer released A Brush with Cancer, a coffee table book that includes art and stories from the organization’s first 10 years. Knowing Jeff’s extensive design experience, Jenna invited him to collaborate as the book’s creative director—a goal she didn’t know he had.

“A book was something on my list,” Jeff said. “I have always done magazines with friends but this was a big undertaking.”

Around this time, the organization connected with world-renowned designer Giorgia Lupi, who is also a partner at design firm Pentagram. Giorgia was moved by Twist Out Cancer’s mission and wanted to get involved somehow.  

“When I started to discover Jenna’s amazing story, I volunteered to set up a call,” Giorgia said in 2022. “I feel strongly that this is an incredibly powerful organization that can help patients, caregivers, survivors and previvors make sense of their experience.”

On the call, Jenna pitched the Twist Out Cancer coffee table book as a way to engage Giorgia and the Pentagram team. Giorgia agreed and assembled a Pentagram team to gather data they could use to design a book cover. Part of the job included collaborating with Jeff on a big undertaking.

“That was so fun but also a lot of work,” Jeff said. “I’m very thankful for everyone on the Pentagram team. It took a village for sure.”

Now that A Brush with Cancer is complete and on bookshelves, Jeff looks back at the experience as one he will always treasure. 

“That book was very special to me,” he said. “I wanted to emulate that same feeling I felt when I heard Jenna speak. I hope to give that same feeling to someone reading this book.”


Support Jeff’s work and Twist Out Cancer’s mission by purchasing a copy of A Brush with Cancer here.