Writing program for cancer patients - New York News

Writing program for cancer patients

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Director Susan Jeremy recalls the day she found out she had breast cancer.

"I scheduled this big rehearsal after the doctor's appointment, only to find out that I was diagnosed," she says. "My whole life just stopped."

It was around the time she heard about Visible Ink, a writing program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center that pairs its patients with writing mentors. Jeremy says it was a godsend during her daily radiation treatments.   

"I would sit in this waiting room, and I would be editing my work," she says. "So instead of thinking about cancer, I was thinking about writing."

Jeremy's original piece is being presented at an annual performance where Broadway actors and singers bring the patients' writing to life.

Patients in the program can write anything from memoirs to rap lyrics. Many have been published. 

Visible Ink was founded five years ago by Judith Kelman, an author and program mentor.

"When you're going along in life you have a certain story … then you're diagnosed with cancer and that story is completely derailed," Kelman says. "What writing does is it puts people back in charge of their story." 

The most recent chapter in Jeremy's story is that she is cancer free. She says this creative writing outlet helped her through her treatment.

"I took my life back, and I took control of my creativity again and I bounced right up," she says.

Right now 700 patients participate in Visible Ink. The program hopes to expand.

www.visibleinkmskcc.org

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