Glencoe native JENNA BENN SHERSHER is a 40-year-old cancer survivor, civil rights advocate, world traveler, and big dreamer. At the age of 29, she was diagnosed with Gray Zone Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. Soon after completing treatment, she founded Twist Out Cancer, a nonprofit organization that provides psychosocial support to individuals touched by cancer through creative arts programming. Since its inception, the organization has reached more than 200,000 people around the world and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Don’t miss the Brushes with Cancer event on November 19. Here is how Benn Shersher, an ambitious advocate stays on-trend.
ON HER NIGHTSTAND
“As a mom of two girls, Lilou (16 months) and Noa (7 years old), it is hard to find time to read for pleasure. The last book I read was Between Two Kingdoms, written by my dear friend Suleika Jaouad. Suleika’s stunning and heart-wrenching account of what life is like living between the kingdom of the sick and the kingdom of the well resonates deeply with me. On my nightstand, you will also find The Orchid and the Dandelion: Why Some Children Struggle and How All Can Thrive, written by Dr. W. Thomas Boyce. This book has provided me with important insights on how best to parent an extraordinary child who beats to her own drum.”
ON HER MOBILE
“In the morning, I wake up around 5:00 a.m. so that I can enjoy some peace and quiet before the rest of the house wakes up. I often read The New York Times, listen to NPR, and follow a few key influencers on Instagram. One of my favorites is Kate Van Doren, an extraordinarily talented artist based in Mexico whom I was matched with during Twist Out Cancer’s 2021 “Brushes with Cancer” event. Her ability to capture the human condition is unparalleled. I also love following my dear friend Ethan Zohn, a two-time cancer survivor and the winner of Survivor: Africa. He is a tremendous advocate in the cancer space and a wonderful mentor.”
IN HER EARBUDS
“I am a music fanatic. Before my career in nonprofit organizations, I managed bands and booked tours for some of the world’s leading artists. I can be found listening to Melody Gardot, my dear friends Sam Barsh and Jesse Palter, Leon Bridges, Jon Batiste, Bon Iver, Ray LaMontagne, Paul Simon, Arooj Aftab, and Idan Raichel. My playlist reflects that I am a big lover of jazz and world music. If you follow me on Spotify, you will of course find me listening to some Blackpink, Spice Girls, and Raffi to appease my little ones at home.”