Firefly Project Features Letters From Patients, Pen Pals

May 05, 2006
News Office: Nancy Chan (415) 885-7277

The annual Firefly Project Adaption, featuring the reading of letters composed by critically ill patients and their healthy teenage pen pals, will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31.

The free event, with readings by the letter writers, will be held at the Hoytt Theater in the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro Road in San Rafael.

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

Cynthia Perlis, a clinical artist and director of UCSF Art for Recovery, says 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. Perlis created the program 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. Patients 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.

This news release has been modified for the website