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QUILT STORIES

One of the wonderful things that My Girlfriends Quilt song inspired is this story about Diane Skibinski, who actually organized her friends to create a "girlfriends quilt" for another friend who was diagnosed with cancer...read about it and watch the video here: Channel News 9

You've heard of the "Vagina Monologues," now there's a performance about people diagnosed with cancer. The Albany, New York non-profit group, Pen & Palette, is reaching out to the public with its first time reading of their script based on the experiences of cancer survivors, or in the words of one of the play's main characters, cancer "alivers." The group's "Alive, Alive, Oh!" will be performed on April 17th, 2005 at 1:30 PM at the Academy of Holy Names in Albany, New York.

With over ten contributing writers, "Alive, Alive, Oh!" weaves together stories about how cancer survivors and their caregivers have endured this disease, and the continual questions they face when planning for their futures. Over a 14 month period, the women shared their personal stories and created a fictional plot and colorful characters that depict many survivorship issues.

Pen & Palette's mission is to use the arts to raise awareness of cancer care issues and to foster personal expression of people affected by cancer. Since 1997, Pen & Palette has held art workshops free of charge to people wanting to express themselves. During the two year "Theatre Project," professional writing and theater instructors came in to help the women draw upon some of their most significant and memorable experiences since being diagnosed with cancer. Members of Theater Voices, a Capital Region theater group that has performed staged readings of more than 60 traditional and new plays since 1989, have adapted the script to make it more suitable for a staged reading.

Executive Director of Pen & Palette, Margaret Roberts, says The Theatre Project "provides a platform for the public to understand living with cancer, a disease that often is uncomfortable to talk about." The reading will be co-directed by Jim Yeara and Susan Caputo, well known in the Capital Region as an actor and accomplished singer, and who was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2004.

There will be a discussion with the contributing writers, breast cancer "alivers" and the actors after the reading, along with refreshments. The "Alive, Alive, Oh!" reading on April 17th is being sponsored by Pen & Palette, Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB!) and Theater Voices. It is also made possible through a grant by the New York State Department of Health. Registration is required, by calling CRAAB! at 518-435-1055.

For more information about Pen & Palette's "Alive, Alive, Oh!" please contact:

Margaret Roberts, Executive Director at 518-482-1314 or Deb Shufelt, Publicist at 518-588-9008

Or visit: www.penandpalette.org

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