Brushes with Cancer 2024 Participant Site
October 2024: The Brushes With Cancer Art Exhibition & Celebration
Old City Jewish Arts Center in Philadelphia, PA

Welcome to the Twist Out Cancer Family!

On behalf of the Twist Out Cancer Staff, Board, and Brushes with Cancer Host Committee it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Twist Out Cancer family! We are so grateful that you have taken this step toward sharing, connecting and healing.  Over the next 6 months you will be digging deep into your cancer journey and connecting with your esteemed artist. We recognize that opening up and creating artwork inspired by someone else’s story is no easy task! Your mentors are here to support you throughout this program. We hope you will take advantage of the peer to peer support programming, twistshops and additional in person and virtual opportunities Twist has to offer. Below you will find updated information about the program, deadlines and upcoming events. If you have any questions about the process please do not hesitate to be in touch.


With love and gratitude,

Jenna Benn Shersher, MSW

Founder and CEO of Twist Out Cancer

The Program

Brushes with Cancer is a program of Twist Out Cancer that strategically matches artists with individuals touched by cancer (inspirations). Over a period of 6 months, the artist and inspirations work together to build a relationship built on mutual understanding and trust. The artist creates a unique work of art that is reflective of the inspiration’s journey with cancer. The program culminates in a virtual event that celebrates survivorship, and hope, where the art is auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting the mission and work of Twist Out Cancer.

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • Participant Agreements Due: April 10, 2024
  • Program Begins: April 20, 2024
  • Orientation Call: April 18, 2024 at 7pm CST
  • Peer to Peer Sessions:
  • FAQ Call: August 1, 2024 at 7pm CST
  • Digital Assets Due: August 10,2024
    • Inspirations, please submit here
    • Artists, please submit here
  • Art Delivery Due: September 1, 2024
  • Exhibition and Celebration: 

Program Expectations and Agreement

The Brushes with Cancer program is designed to cultivate a connection between the artist and inspiration (with support from the mentor, and the TOC community as a whole). The art is a tangible product of that connection and intended to illustrate a part of their specific cancer experience – either a moment or as a whole. Willingness to share is required of both the artist and the inspiration. The artist is charged with listening and extracting elements from the inspiration’s experience to integrate into the art. The inspiration is not encouraged to direct or dictate the composition of the art work. It is an exchange of trust that can generate unexpected interactions and meaningful connections.

In order to participate in Brushes with Cancer, we require that all participants complete the program agreement.

Program Agreement
How to get started!
  1. Email your match to say hello and exchange additional information. Not sure how to get the conversation going? Check out our guide!
  2. Register for the peer-to-peer group for your role.
  3. Plan an initial meeting (via video chat or in person) with your mentor. Mentors can join for the first 15 minutes or so and then allow the Artist and Inspiration to continue their chat afterwards.
  4. Discuss when you will connect again. Aim for at least once every 3-4 weeks.
  5. Check in with your mentor if you have questions or issues. Also check in with your mentor after each connection just to confirm things are moving forward.
  6. Enjoy connecting with your match!

Honoring our Artists: The Jacqueline Carmody Creative Artist Award 

Jacqueline Carmody Creative Artist Award 

Jacqueline Carmody is a Brushes With Cancer Artist who has participated in the program since 2013. Over the years, Jacqueline has been paired with individuals located in Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia, and Texas. The Inspirations have varied in their connection to cancer and have been survivors, daughters, patients, spouses, and peers. Within the Artist role, Jacqueline chooses to meet each of her inspirations with a welcoming and comforting attitude that allows sharing to become natural and cathartic. Jacqueline values the connections that are made with each pair and sees each human as an opportunity to connect through creativity. She understands the value of sharing as a form of healing and her artwork holds a safe space for the inspiration’s delicate and unique stories. 

Jacqueline’s artistic process focuses on explorative creativity, rather than the final product. This method allows her to approach the art with curiosity and dissolves any anxiety or ego driven worries about whether or not the art is “good enough”. Through this creative process, deep connections to the story are formed. The story and individual are represented through colors, symbols, and images. This results in a beautiful and meaningful experience for both Jacqueline and the inspiration. 

Jacqueline encourages artists who participate in Brushes With Cancer to understand how this process deepens the relationships with art making and being a creator. Through Brushes With Cancer, the Artist is given an opportunity to connect to another human being and trust that their creative instincts will allow them to produce a timeless vessel for the story and the Inspiration.

Qualities of the Jacqueline Carmody Creative Artist Award Recipient:

  1. Creative spirit This individual identifies as an artist and uses non-verbal expression as a form of communication, healing, and storytelling. This individual inspires others to be creative in their own way and is proud to share their artistic skill set. 
  2. Trust & willingness – This individual approaches the Brushes With Cancer process in a unique and curious manner. This individual is flexible and willing to meet the inspiration where they are at in their journey. 
  3. Connection – This artist values the importance of human connection and believes in the power of sharing as a tool for healing. This artist is connected to the Twist Out Cancer community and advocates the mission of Share, connect, and heal through their participation in the program.
Honoring our Inspirations: The Shawn Strong Award 

Shawn Strong Award 

“For those that didn’t know Shawn, he was my husband, an amazing father to our 4-year-old daughter, Avery, and a proud supporter of Twist Out Cancer.  He passed away in December 2016 due to brain cancer, but not without a long and courageous fight.  His motto was ‘Every day is a good day,’ and he had the most amazing outlook given his circumstances.”

-Erin Green Johnson, Shawn Green’s wife and Twist Out Cancer Board Member

Qualities of the Shawn Strong Award Recipient:

1. Optimistic – No matter what was happening, Shawn would always say “Every day is a good day”.  Each day he got to be here with his family and friends was a day he was going to cherish.

2. Positive outlook – Even in the face of a very grim diagnosis and after many set backs, he had a strong desire to fight his hardest to beat his cancer, not only for himself but for his family.  His ability to be so positive also had an impact on others; it helped us stay positive as well.

3. Determined – He stayed focused on his fight and was willing to try anything we suggested to treat his disease.  Without complaining, he was willing to follow a strict diet, try alternative treatments, and work hard at rehab every day (even when we had to start doing more of it on our own at home).  He didn’t give up!

Art Exhibition and Celebration: October 2024 at Old City Jewish Arts Center!

We are excited to announce that our Brushes with Cancer Art Exhibition and Celebratory event will take place at the Old City Jewish Arts Center!


Learn More
Past Program Books and Online Galleries

For the last 10 years, Brushes with Cancer has impacted over 46,000 people worldwide. We have held over 30 programs. As you embark on your journey with Twist Out Cancer we encourage you to check out the artwork and stories that inspired them from previous programs.

Brushes with Cancer Midwest 2023

Brushes with Cancer Midwest 2022

Brushes with Cancer Midwest 2021

Brushes with Cancer Northeast 2021

Brushes with Cancer at General Motors 2020


Your Team
Photo of Jenna Benn Shersher
Jenna Benn Shersher
Twist Out Cancer Founder and CEO
Amelia Hanrahan
Amelia Hanrahan
Twist Out Cancer Chief Operating Officer
August Spree
Twist Out Cancer Director of Programs

Featured Auction

The Brushes with Cancer Online Art Auction and Exhibition will be available for viewing 3 weeks in advance of the big event. Participants have the opportunity to purchase their artwork outright or bid on it in advance of the big event. All proceeds raised from the art auction go right back into funding the Brushes with Cancer program.

Additional Resources

Twist Out Cancer is proud to partner with a number of organizations globally. From cancer support, head coverings, financial support and research, we have got you covered! To learn more check out the Cancer Resource section of our website.

Please note that we are developing an Artist Resource section to our site as well. Please check the home page for more information!