Firefly Project Hosts Dramatic Reading By Extraordinary Pen Pals

April 20, 2007
News Office: Kristen Bole (415) 502-6397

A dramatic reading of letters between critically ill adults and their teenage pen pals will be performed at the fourth annual Firefly Project Adaptation on Wednesday, June 6.

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 is open to the public. 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 via hand-written letters throughout the school year, but do not meet in person until 10 days before the live reading.

The results are dramatic, emotionally charged letters, as adults tell of their struggles, hopes and fears, while students learn how it feels to cope with a serious illness, according to UCSF Clinical Artist and Art for Recovery Director Cynthia Perlis. Perlis, who created the Firefly Project in 1992, facilitates the program during the school year and adapts the material for the stage presentation.

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. This year, 40 teens participated from Brandeis Hillel Day and Branson schools in Marin County; Carpe Diem High in Petaluma; and Urban, Mission High, San Francisco Day and the French-American International schools in San Francisco. 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 at Mount Zion.

UCSF is a leading university that advances health worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences and health professions, and providing complex patient care.

For more information, call (415) 885-7221.

This news release has been modified for the website