May Public Virtual Twistshop

May Virtual Twistshop

“There is nothing permanent except change”


Come join Twist Out Cancer as we explore the idea of change and flexible thinking through wiggle line art making and discussion. No art experience necessary, just an interest in using art materials for expression, growth, and opportunities to connect with others.

Supply considerations:

  • Watercolor paper/art paper
  • Colorful markers
  • Watercolor paints/brush/water
  • Colorful pens/pencils
  • Colorful oil pastels

Register here in advance.

North Shore Congregation Twistshop

Twistshop with North Shore Congregation

Date: Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

Time: 10-11:30 CST  

Location1185 Sheridan Road, Glencoe, IL 60022

This Twistshop is closed to the public. North Shore congregants can can register here. 

On Mother’s Day: A Toast to Life

By: Jenny Buntman Indig

Photo Credit: Robin O’Neill

For every person touched by cancer, there is a before and after cancer moment – when those three words, “you have cancer” change life forever. For my family, a doctor delivered a diagnosis of stage four kidney cancer to my otherwise healthy, vibrant 59-year-old mother, Shelley, in early December 2010. She lived for fourteen months and in that time never came to terms with her diagnosis. Instead, she tried as best she could to just keep living.


A few weeks after the diagnosis, before any treatment plans were made our immediate family – my mom, dad, sister, brother and my husband flew to our family home in British Columbia. It was my family’s happy place. My husband and I were married there, and we arranged for our wedding photographer to come back during our trip to document the moment.


We played touch football in the snow, cracked a bottle of champagne and just enjoyed life the best we could that day. While my mom’s cancer diagnosis was clearly on all our minds, what the photos captured were the closeness we shared, our quirky family dynamics and the unrelenting love between our parents.


In one final photo, we are all sitting on lawn chairs, on a long dock covered in snow, over a frozen lake, facing Mt. Currie with our backs to the camera, toasting champagne flutes to the setting sun. Our toast to life.


That photo was the last time we were all together, when my mom looked like herself, when we could live if just for one afternoon without the burden of cancer and how it was about to change all of our lives. 


We had kept my mom’s diagnosis quiet in the beginning with the hope that she could remain seeing patients in her private psychotherapy practice she started with my dad in our small town outside Chicago. My sister, brother and I were asked to keep the news to ourselves. At the time, it felt like a huge weight to carry without the support from friends and extended family, but we trusted and respected our parents’ decision.


By February, my mom ended her practice as a psychologist opting for an experimental treatment called interleukin. I was lucky I could take time off from my job in New York and fly to Chicago to be there to help care for my mom along with my sister, brother, and dad. She spent three weeks in the hospital, barely able to sit up in bed. We took shifts staying with her overnight covering her in warm blankets when she got the rigors and holding buckets when she got sick. We passed the days listening to music, playing Bananagrams but mostly my mom looked to us for distraction.


A few floors down at the Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern Hospital, Jenna Benn, a childhood friend, was being treated for a rare form of cancer, Grey Zone Lymphoma. It had been years since I saw Jenna, but we recognized each other immediately sitting in the waiting room. We exchanged a tearful silent embrace; no words were needed to explain why we were there. Jenna was in for an even longer road with her treatment and had transformed her hospital room into a version of what I imagined her college dorm room looked like. The walls were covered in brightly colored artwork, a selection of woven scarves strewn across her bed and Jenna with her warm smile despite how awful she was feeling never without bright red or pink lipstick.


As my mom turned inward in her own suffering and facing her cancer diagnosis Jenna turned outward. Isolated in her hospital room going through treatment in her mid 20s, Jenna’s creativity and zest for life gave birth to an entire community she built leveraging social media from her hospital room. Within a year, Jenna founded a nonprofit organization called Twist Out Cancer providing psychosocial support to individuals touched by cancer through creative arts programming. The organization was founded on the principle that when you share, the world opens up.


Maybe it was my mom’s training as a psychologist that caused her to compartmentalize her own pain and cancer experience. She was the type of person who was always there for everyone else; her patients, her friends, my family and she continued to play that role even when she was sick. I never understood why she refused to seek counsel from a therapist after she was diagnosed and never found a community to talk to about her own cancer experience. I imagine my dad, who she had an intensely close relationship with (who is also a psychologist) became the sole person she shared her true feelings and fears with.


Even after we knew treatment had failed, my mom’s wish was that we all keep on living. Back working in New York City my daily phone calls with her soon became consumed with my pregnancy. My husband and I had started trying within weeks of finding out about my mom’s diagnosis with the hope that she would survive long enough to become a Grandma.


My mom miraculously flew alone to New York to be with me and my husband in the delivery room where she stayed for eight hours straight through my labor, determined to witness the birth of her first grandchild. When my daughter Sylvie Rose was born my mom said it was one the happiest days of her life. The day we brought Sylvie home from the hospital my mom was admitted to the emergency room at Mount Sinai where she had surgery to remove a hidden tumor in her intestine. She ended up staying in New York with me for an extra three weeks while she recovered. I remember her snuggles with Sylvie were the only thing that brought smiles to her face and momentarily eased her own pain.  


With enough strength my mom returned to Chicago where she devoted herself to a new art project – a Sylvie Rose painting with all the letters in the shapes of different animals. She checked out animal illustration books from the library to research and poured herself entirely into finishing the work. Art had always been a creative outlet for my mom and leaving something behind for Sylvie became her inspiration.


In those final weeks of her life, my mom refused to believe that she was dying, that she might be losing her battle with cancer. She never spoke to my sister, brother or I about how she was feeling or what it meant that she was nearing the end of her life, it almost felt like she could only survive believing she would keep on living.


She passed away peacefully in her bed with my dad fourteen months after her diagnosis. I like to imagine that the two of them talked, that she told him how she was really feeling and how scared she was to leave us. Knowing their relationship, I think she did but I will always wonder if she would have suffered less if she hadn’t kept all that to herself. If she had found a way to turn her cancer story, her suffering outward, to lift the burden of carrying it all on herself. If she had somehow found a community that could offer her support.


BMC Cancer published a study concluding that, “art therapy improved the emotional distress, depression, anxiety and pain among all cancer patients, at all time points…simple, effective, therapeutic interventions, to aid in distress relief in cancer patients, is important for ensuring clinical efficacy of treatment and improved quality of life” (Elimimian, Elson, et al., 2020).


Eleven years after running into Jenna at the Lurie Center in Chicago she is still leading Twist out Cancer. I am in awe of what Jenna has achieved and know that my mom would be too. Over 200,000 people who have had the same “before and after cancer experience” have benefited from the organization and its signature program Brushes with Cancer. I only wish that it had existed when my mom needed it the most. I will always wonder if it could have somehow improved her quality of life or even helped prolong it.


I continue to honor my mom’s incredible life, her creativity, her art, her career as a therapist and the thousands of people she touched in her own life by choosing to give to Twist. I give so that others can benefit from its programs, to share their own stories, to hopefully find comfort and healing through art and community. I hope that you’ll consider joining me in supporting Twist this Mother’s Day.


I look back on the fourteen months my mom lived with cancer and am so grateful for those ten days in British Columbia and for the image that so perfectly tells the story of our family, always ready to toast to life.


Jenny Buntman Indig resides in New York with her family. She works in philanthropy and serves on the Executive Board of Twist Out Cancer. She is the 2023 Brushes with Cancer Honoree.


Danny Glick Honored at Brushes with Cancer Chicago

The message that kicked off Danny Glick’s connection to Twist Out Cancer involved him offering our founder, Jenna Benn Shersher, something rather unusual and personal: his blood. 

Danny and Jenna have known each other for roughly 15 years, but became close when they were both touched by cancer during the same time. 

“I’ve always loved her energy,” Danny said. “When she was diagnosed with her cancer, I started reading her blog and following her Facebook posts.

For Danny, he was faced with his mother’s ongoing cancer fight. Diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in 2008, Lois Glick fought for three years. In 2011, while supporting his mother’s battle, Danny learned Jenna was going through her own fight. 

“They were both fighting cancer at the same time and I was looking for outlets and anything that could be positive.” 

On Jan. 31, 2011, Danny reached out to Jenna in a text message on FaceBook: 

“I know we don’t really know each other that well, but I just wanted to let you know you have another person in the cheering section for you!!! You look great, but more importantly, your energy, zest for life and ability to beat this are piercing and palpable.”

He then made this offer: 

“Hey Jenna, what kind of blood you lookin’ for???? (in all my life, I never thought I’d type that sentence…)  I’m O-NEGATIVE, the universal donor, so if you’re ever in a pinch, I’ve got plenty.”

See, Danny is a helper and lifelong philanthropist. If he sees a way he can help, he will do it. 

“I am fortunate in many ways and I feel a duty and obligation to share that good fortune with people who need it. I didn’t know what to do for Jenna, so I offered her my blood. It was all I could think to do!!”

Benn Shersher wasn’t in need of his Type O blood, but the friendly offer kicked off Danny’s years-long devotion to Twist Out Cancer.

Danny’s brush with cancer 

During his mother’s three-year cancer fight, Danny frequently traveled  back and forth from his home in Chicago to his family in Cleveland. His older sister, Lisa Glick, was going through a life change that allowed her to move in with their mother and father to serve as a full-time caretaker. 

“When I was home, I would see the great lengths that my sister would have to go to to keep my mom comfortable. Making meals, cleaning house, doing laundry, changing wounds, making sure she got to her appointments. I saw what she was capable of.”

The two also learned their limitations when it came to the care they could provide. Toward the end of her battle, Lois said she wanted to be at home. The siblings learned the importance of bringing in help, especially when it comes to health and comfort.

“I learned at that time that there should be separation between caregiver and family member,” Danny said. “The reality is, we’re not trained nurses…it’s not something a son or daughter should be doing.”

The Glicks brought in a skilled nurse to make sure their mother was in the best hands for her last weeks.

“My mom’s journey was tough,” Danny said.

Lois passed in 2011 and since then, Danny has been finding ways to honor his mother’s life, whether it’s through his involvement with Twist Out Cancer or simply just carrying on her mannerisms. 

“My mom’s with me every day. I hear my mom every day. I’ll say stuff and think, ‘I literally just uttered a Lois Glick,’” he said. “Last night I was eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and I was eating it exactly the same way my mom did. Those genes, they’re strong.” 

Honoring the Glick siblings 

Nine years after Lois’ passing, Danny and Lisa are both being honored at Brushes with Cancer Chicago 2020. Lisa as an Inspiration in the program and Danny is the event honoree. In those nine years, Danny has been a generous Twist Out Cancer donor and volunteer.

She’s really excited,” Danny said about Lisa’s participation. “She was touched that she was asked to do it. She met with the artist and it has been an uplifting, positive, cathartic experience for her – even though she hasn’t seen the artwork.”

Currently, Lisa lives in Milwaukee. Five months after their mother passed, Danny and Lisa moved their father to Chicago since that’s where Danny has made his homebase. Through good ol’ Brushes with Cancer serendipity, Lisa’s artist lives between Chicago and Milwaukee, making it easy to connect when Lisa visits her family. 

While Lisa and her artist were connecting, Danny was busy doing what he does best: getting things done. One of his big efforts was reaching out to artists to participate in the program. He estimates he connected with upwards of 80 artists. Now that the event is drawing near, he’s raising awareness within his network. 

Danny – having been to five prior Brushes with Cancer events – admits he was a little nervous about the new, COVID-19-friendly format. 

“To be honest, I couldn’t comprehend what having a “virtual event” even meant.”  He adds, “ I’m not the most technical person in the world, so the thought of going to an event and just sitting in front of a computer didn’t make a lot of sense to me.” 

When the pieces started coming together, Danny was amazed by the Twist Out Cancer team’s innovation and adaptability. He also recognizes there are huge advantages to doing a digital event.

“When you’re at the live event, the artist and inspiration are there standing next to the piece of art and you can go talk to them. But if you were to walk up to that piece of art at a moment when they might have momentarily stepped, you wouldn’t have an opportunity to talk to them and learn their stories.”    With the digital / virtual format, pre-recorded video interviews, and a lot more on-line content, attendees can simply click a link to learn about each artist / inspiration at will.  

For Danny, this means allowing people to learn about the selfless role his sister played as caregiver to their mother.  

The Brushes with Cancer Chicago 2020  Art Exhibit and Virtual Celebration will be held November 14, 2020. Tickets are available online