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Cancer Sells

December 9, 2020 in Comment, General

Tat Effby writes:

Cancer isn’t funny. I wouldn’t dream of making jokes about it. Or so I thought until I got it, after which point I’m afraid it was open season.

I’ve written about my experience of breast cancer in a graphic short story called Cancer Sells. It was my entry for the Jonathan Cape / Observer graphic short story competition and I’m pleased to share it here. I wasn’t a cartoonist when I was going through treatment but I was a writer, so all the appalling, demeaning, disgusting and absurd incidents got squirrelled away where they percolated for a long time. It’s now 10 years since my brush with cancer, although it was less of a brush and more like being beaten about the body with a broom.

I actually have quite a lot to thank cancer for; first it didn’t kill me, second it led, in a round about way, to me becoming a cartoonist. It was one of those crossroads moments (not a Crossroads moment – that involves a lot more wobbly scenery) where the simple act of not-dying made me consider a change of direction. So I left my job as an advertising creative and eventually evolved into a cartoonist, and let me tell you I’m glad I did: I’ve never had so much sex or money.

This story won’t be to everyone’s taste, cancer is an awful disease and I couldn’t countenance making jokes about someone else’s experience, but this was mine, so here it is.

All artwork and story © Tat Effby

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Cancer Research UK

by Royston

Love and survival at charity exhibition

February 14, 2011 in News

Ronald Searle's Mrs Mole drawings

Valentine’s Day seems like an appropriate time to mention an exhibition of drawings created by a cartoonist out of love for his wife.

Les Très Riches Heures de Mrs Mole, which features cartoons by Ronald Searle drawn for his wife Monica during her chemotherapy, opens at the the Cartoon Museum in London this Thursday (February 17).

In 1969 Monica was diagnosed with breast cancer and given only a few months to live, but she was offered a course of experimental chemotherapy. Searle sought some way of supporting his wife during this time. “I have only my talent for drawing,” he said. “So I drew”.

He produced a series of 47 drawings, one for each treatment. As Monica lay on her sick bed in Paris the drawings transported her to the world of her alter-ego, Mrs Mole, who busily potters about a dream home in a Provençal village. “I would lie in bed, living the life he created in the pictures,” Monica said.

The complete 47 drawings, which were never originally intended for publication, will be on display. They follow Monica’s journey from 1969 to 1975, chronicling a story of survival against the odds.

The museum will be working with Breast Cancer Campaign, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support and Wellbeing of Women. Information on cancer, the work of the charities and how people can support them will be available in the gallery.

The exhibition, which was previously seen at the Foundling Museum, as reported on Bloghorn last month, runs until March 20