Counseling & Support: Writing Program: Visible Ink

Pictured: Liya Khenkin & Sherry Suib Cohen Patient Liya Khenkin (left) discusses her writing project with Visible Ink mentor Sherry Suib Cohen.

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 one-on-one with an experienced mentor on a writing project of their choice, which need not be disease related. The program is free of charge and open to all interested patients, regardless of their writing level or experience. To date, more than 800 patients have enrolled and 65 writers, editors, and teachers have signed on as mentors.  To support Visible Ink or to purchase a copy of our anthology, visit our Giving Page.

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 35,000 pages of written work, including novels, short stories, blogs, personal experience essays, journals, letters, poems, stage 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
  • Personal blogs
  • Online support group pages
  • National publications, including Newsweek, the Huffington Post, and the New York Times.
  • Published book-length works of fiction and non-fiction.

Program mentors and administrators respect the privacy of Visible Ink participants. Visible Ink requires written consent from the author before it publishes, produces, publicly reads, broadcasts, or publicizes any participant’s works.

Visible Ink Anthology and Annual Staged Reading

Each year, Visible Ink participants are invited to submit written works from which a committee selects pieces to be published in our anthology and included in our annual staged reading.

Copies of the anthology are sold in Memorial Sloan Kettering gift shops. Book purchases, available on our giving page help to support the work of Visible Ink. 

The staged reading features film, television, and Broadway actors, singers, and dancers, performing selected pieces by Visible Ink participants. Watch the 2012 Reading of Patient Works.

The staged reading 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 community.

For more information, please contact:

Judith Kelman
Visible Ink Founder and Team Leader

Greg Kachejian
Artistic Director and Administrator

Joining the Visible Ink Program as a Patient or Volunteer Mentor

If you are interested in participating in Visible Ink as a patient/writer, or in learning about becoming a mentor please contact:

Judith Kelman
Visible Ink Founder and Team Leader

For our mentors, Visible Ink offers a unique opportunity to work one-on-one in a cooperative, collaborative setting. While facilitating the creative efforts of patient participants, mentors hone their own writing, teaching, and editing skills.

Visible Ink Funding, Grants, and Donations

Visible Ink’s sole funding is through grants and donations. Current supporters of the program include The Rona Jaffe Foundation, The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Skirball 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.