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Twist Out Cancer

"Ikigai: A Portrait of Resilience" Folded Cards

"Ikigai: A Portrait of Resilience" Folded Cards

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Inspiration: Stephanie 

Artist: Angelica Colantuoni


Stephanie's Twist on Cancer: Cancer is sneaky.

It appears out of nowhere.

If you survive, it leaves a cloud over your head all the days of your life.

It changes you forever.


Cancer gives you a better understanding of what truly matters.

Of who to pour your time and energy into.

You are grateful for each day.


Cancer is a mental battle.

A tightrope of feeling grateful and cursed.

The Brca1 gene. I have it in my DNA.

Why? Where did it come from? It was lurking in my body all my life and I didn’t have a clue.

The benign tumor on my tailbone at age 18?


The painful lump that appeared at 26?

The malignant growth on my cervix at 31 that went dormant for 20 years and appeared again 4 years ago in my opposite breast?


A lumpectomy, 30 radiation treatments, 4 rounds of chemotherapy (all while planning my wedding at age 27.)


At 31, a full hysterectomy while cherishing my firstborn son. It all became a distant memory.


At 51, I woke up one morning, to stabbing pain in the opposite breast. It was back, this time right before the world shut down for Covid.


6 months of a clinical trial, a double mastectomy, 4 rounds of chemotherapy and then reconstruction.


I am still alive and after 4 years, I am finally thriving again.



Cancer has riddled my life.

Shot holes through my rose-colored glasses.


Now on the other side of the 5 tumors discovered in my body …. I know God has a plan for me. My time on earth is not in vain.

He is in control… always.


I’m thankful.

I’m grateful.

I am blessed.


Angelica's Artist Statement: In "Ikigai: A Portrait of Resilience," I embarked on a creative journey with Stephanie, a remarkable individual who has faced cancer three times due to the BRCA gene. Her story is one of unwavering strength and the emotions of fear, uncertainty, and isolation. Battling cancer has led her to question the fairness of her fate, creating a longing for her past life filled with innocence. This emotional journey often leads to feelings of isolation. Stephanie's unique struggles stir a mix of anger, sadness, and confusion about her life's purpose. She longs for the simplicity of life's joys but carries the weight of her medical condition. According to Japanese philosophy, everyone has an "ikigai," a reason for living. It's the key to a happier, longer life, where each day is infused with meaning. Stephanie's quest to discover her ikigai has been a complex journey marked by unexpected challenges, a testament to her enduring spirit. The painting itself is a symphony of emotions and symbols. White, star-like bursts represent her bright and happy soul. Amidst dark shadows, a delicate white, pink, and fuschia entity emerges, symbolizing resilience and beauty emerging from adversity. A larger white, pink, and fuschia section takes the form of a graceful koi fish swimming in a tranquil pond, representing the harmony of her pursuit—a life filled with love, talent, purpose, and joy. This artwork encapsulates Stephanie's profound journey and the universal experience of confronting life's hardships. It reminds us that in our darkest hours, the pursuit of purpose can illuminate our path forward, and finding a community of understanding hearts can alleviate the weight of solitude. "Ikigai: A Portrait of Resilience" inspires us to reflect on our own reasons for living and find the strength to face adversity with unwavering determination.


These high quality paper cards come pre-folded, packed in cello sleeves per 10 cards, and includes a white envelope for each card. Works well with regular ballpoint pens after short drying time.

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