Firefly project features live reading of letters from patients and their teenage pen pals on May 31

By Nancy Chan

Members of the public are invited to attend a live reading of letters composed by critically ill patients and their healthy teenage pen pals at the annual Firefly Project Adaptation on Wednesday, May 31.

The event, with works read by the actual letter writers, takes place at the Hoytt Theater, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro Road in San Rafael. It will begin at 7 p.m., and admission is free.

The Firefly Project brings together adult patients coping with life-threatening illnesses, such as AIDS and cancer, with healthy teenagers living in the Bay Area.  The pen pals correspond with one another throughout the school year. 

The results are dramatic, emotionally charged letters as adults tell stories of their struggles, hopes and fears while students learn what it feels like to cope with a serious illness, according to UCSF Clinical Artist and Art for Recovery Director Cynthia Perlis, who created the project in 1992. Bridges are built and friendships are created as students open up about their own lives and feelings about their future, she adds.

Participants will include adults who are being treated at UCSF Medical Center and their pen pals who attend Marin County and San Francisco middle and high schools. The 46 teenagers who participated in the program are students of Brandeis Hillel Day School, Branson School, Marin Academy and Terra Linda High School in Marin County.  In San Francisco, the students who participated attend Urban, University, Gateway, Oceana, Mission and El Camino high schools.  Patient participants live throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

The Firefly Project is part of Art for Recovery, a program of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCSF Medical Center.

For more information, call (415) 885-7221 or visit Art
for Recovery