If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, take ten minutes to see how the Visible Ink Writing Program empowers patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center by giving voice to their individual stories.
Established in 2008, Visible Ink offers patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering the opportunity to work individually with an experienced writer, editor, or teacher on a writing project of their choice, which need not be disease related. The program is free of charge and open to all interested inpatients and outpatients, regardless of their writing level or experience. To date, more than 500 patients have enrolled and 35 writers, editors, teachers, and graduate writing students have signed on as volunteers.
Visible Ink promotes self-expression, stress reduction, personal growth, and individual success for participants who have experienced a serious illness. Patients benefit from the opportunity to tell their stories in a positive, supportive framework.
Visible Ink participants have produced more than 15,000 pages of written work, including novels, short stories, blogs, personal experience essays, journals, letters, poems, stage scripts and screenplays, song lyrics, and articles.
While some patients choose to write for personal reasons, many wish to reach a wider audience. Pieces by Visible Ink participants have appeared in:
- Bridges, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering survivorship newsletter
- Websites, such as CaringBridge.org
- Personal blogs
- Online support group pages
- National publications, including Newsweek and the Huffington Post, as well as the “New York Observed” and the “Modern Love” columns of the New York Times.
Program volunteers and administrators respect the privacy of Visible Ink participants at all times. In addition, any work that you create through the program belongs to you. Visible Ink requires written consent to publish, produce, publicly read, broadcast, or publicize any participant's work.
Visible Ink Anthology and Annual Staged Reading
Each year, Visible Ink participants are invited to submit up to two written works from which a committee selects pieces to be published in our anthology and included in our staged reading. The anthology is distributed at the staged reading. Copies of the anthology are also sold in Memorial Sloan-Kettering gift shops.
Visible Ink, a one-on-one writing program for patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, offers opportunities for self-expression, stress reduction, personal growth, and individual success at a time when many participants face the considerable challenge of a serious illness.
Due to time constraints, only a limited number of works can be included in the staged reading, which features film, television, and Broadway actors, singers, and dancers, performing pieces written by Visible Ink participants. Watch the 2011 Reading of Patient Works.
The staged reading, launch of the anthology, and the reception that follows are designed to showcase the extraordinary accomplishments of our participants and to build awareness of the program throughout the hospital and the greater community. More than 450 people, including faculty, staff, participants and their guests, supporters of the program, as well as members of the general public, attend this event. Taped excerpts from the reading are used in informational sessions about Visible Ink.
For more information on the anthology and staged reading please contact:
Visible Ink Founder & Team Leader
Artistic Director & Administrator
Visible Ink and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Community
Visible Ink has established and continues to promote relationships with Memorial Sloan-Kettering faculty and staff in order to expand awareness of the writing program throughout the institution and encourage referral of interested patients. We have also established and continue to expand links in the community to writers' groups and graduate writing programs as a continued source of excellent volunteers. Visible Ink actively works with departments across Memorial Sloan-Kettering, including Volunteer Resources, Social Work, Integrative Medicine, Video, Medical Graphics, Photography, Development, Public Affairs, Patient Recreation, Survivorship, and the Patient Representative Office.
Joining the Visible Ink Program as a Patient or Volunteer
If you are interested in participating in Visible Ink as a patient/writer, or in learning about volunteering as a writing coach, please contact:
Visible Ink Founder & Team Leader
Prospective volunteers must complete an application, medical evaluation, and privacy training. Before becoming a volunteer, a personal interview by the Director of Volunteer Services is required.
Director, Department of Volunteer Services
Volunteer Resources Coordinator
For volunteers, Visible Ink offers a unique opportunity to work one-on-one in a cooperative, collaborative setting. The episodic nature of participant/writing coach interactions is particularly well suited to the variable schedules of graduate writing students and writing professionals. While facilitating the creative efforts of patient participants, volunteers hone their own writing, teaching, and editing skills.
Find out more about volunteering at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
Visible Ink Funding, Grants, and Donations
Visible Ink is fully funded through the generosity of grants and donations. Current supporters of the program include The Rona Jaffe Foundation, and The United Hospital Fund.
If you are interested in contributing to the Visible Ink Program or purchasing copies of our anthologies, please visit our Giving page.