Cancer survivors write, work in arts, to help heal

Aug. 2, 2013 at 2:00 AM
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NEW YORK, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- New York City playwrights and other artists are teaching cancer patients how to write plays sharing their experiences in exchange for healthcare, officials say.

Recently, a special writing workshop was conducted by Bridgette A. Wimberly, a playwright and director, who said she was one of dozens in the arts who have been sharing their creative services with patients via the Lincoln Art Exchange, a publication of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. said.

The program began in January 2012 and has nearly 60 artists enrolled, with dancers, painters, singers and playwrights.

Wimberly was inspired to start the playwriting program in 2009 when her sister and mother of two, Bernadette Scruggs, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Wimberly said her sister kept sharing stories from her support group and she thought she could teach women to channel the stories of triumph, survival, love and life into plays.

The cancer survivors are amazed to see someone perform their words, and it's not just a cathartic experience for them, it's empowering and life changing as well, Wimberly said.

"I would have taught the playwriting workshops regardless of whether I received healthcare in exchange, but I appreciate that I do have these credits that I can use for health care if I need it," Wimberly said.

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