How Art Can Empower and Support Cancer Patients and Survivors

Art, regardless of the form that it takes, is said to have the power to educate, inspire, and heal. For those on a mission to bring positive change to the world, harnessing the power of art can result in amazing progress and impact.

Ramzi Mansour knows this well. He is a pioneering photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa, who combines his love for photography with a passion for philanthropy. Since retiring from a successful business career, Ramzi has dedicated his life to photographing women, free of charge, in a way that captures, promotes, and celebrates their natural beauty.

Ramzi’s latest project is a book titled “Resilience” that leverages the power of art to bring healing to those who are living with cancer, as well as those who are living with the memory of loved ones who were lost to cancer. The book tells the story of 42 women who have battled or are currently battling cancer. It combines Ramzi’s photos of the women with stories curated by his wife, Nicole, about their unique journeys.

“Our intention was, and still is, to bring those who find themselves facing the challenge of sitting in a room with their own cancer diagnosis to a place of hope,” the book’s introduction says. Ramzi and his wife donated 2,000 copies of “Resilience” to doctors’ offices and hospitals around the world. Free copies can also be downloaded from Ramzi’s website.

“Our goal was to put these books in the spaces where people are engaging in their own cancer journey,” Ramzi says. “They can pick up this book and read the stories of everyday people who have battled cancer. If just one person gets inspired by this and decides to fight it, then, for me, I’ve done my job. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

The power that flows through “Resilience” comes in large part from the work Ramzi does to communicate to his subjects that they are valued, showcasing their beauty as authentically as possible.

“I treat my subjects the way I want to be treated,” Ramzi explains. “With that comes connection, and with connection comes safety, comfort, and trust. Trust is the most important thing; when there is trust, there is magic.”

Dr. Mona Jhaveri is another person who understands the power of art. She is the Founder and Director of Music Beats Cancer, a crowdfunding platform that partners with musical artists to raise funds for groundbreaking cancer treatment innovations.

“We see music as our torch for change,” Dr. Jhaveri explains, “and we see our partnered artists as a grassroots army.”

Music Beats Cancer partners with independent artists who participate in fund-raising challenges. Those who raise the most funds get unique exposure orchestrated by the organization. To date, Music Beats Cancer has partnered with more than 200 artists from around the world.

“It is inspiring for me to see that the artists we partner with represent different genres, ages, countries, and languages, but they are united under one purpose: to fight cancer,” Dr. Jhaveri says. “This underscores that cancer is a global burden — it is a disease that can affect anyone, in any location, and at any age. Therefore, raising awareness requires a diversity of micro-influencers who care and want to see progress in the war on cancer. For our partners, their artistic skills give them the power to make a difference.”

Music Beats Cancer recently hosted a networking event at the Biotechnology Industry Organization in San Diego that drew more than 1,000 RSVPs. The event featured the band Dandelion Dreams, which debuted a song written by a band member just before he passed away from cancer. The event was hugely successful at bringing together early-stage startups working on promising cancer-fighting technologies.

Part of the mission of Music Beats Cancer is to disrupt the influence of the “Valley of Death,” which is the term used to describe how promising anti-cancer projects often fail because of lack of funding. Dr. Jhaveri, who has a doctorate in biochemistry, experienced this problem first-hand when she worked as a scientist researching innovative treatments for ovarian cancer. The funds that are raised by the organization are used to keep projects out of the “Valley of Death.”

“Music Beats Cancer is the first not-for-profit organization of its kind that directly connects individuals who care about fighting the war on cancer with biotech entrepreneurs who are actively working on cures,” Dr. Jhaveri explains. “Through online crowdfunding, our model enables the public to play a greater role in shaping a more innovative approach to fighting cancer.”

Music Beats Cancer is launching a campaign in Fall 2022 that will have musicians judging the value of proposed anti-cancer technology. The winning biotech companies will get cash prizes to support their work. More information is available at

Written in partnership with Ascend