Between the busy tourists and the congested roundabout sit a small Café espresso.
Very few people know that, that man who owns the café also owns the ‘I Draw Childhood Cancer’ Facebook page. Not only is Angus Olsen talented in making what many say are the best coffees in Katoomba, he has also gathered a world-wide audience on social media. Angus’s younger daughter at just two-years-old was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive and rare cancer that arises from skeletal muscle progenitors. The Facebook page previously named after his daughter gained global attention after Angus’s decision to relaunch it as ‘I Draw Childhood Cancer’.
When approaching a drawing of a child Angus explained:
“I’m going to show what they look like free of cancer. Because cancer messes with faces, I went through old family photos to reconstruct what they would look like at this age, free of cancer”.
In the audio-visual piece Angus speaks of the unspoken pain of a child passing away.
“I sought to address that by saying yes, you did everything you could. Your child fought like hell. There is nothing else you could have done”.
“These kids fight too hard and it’s not fair”.
“People mustn’t think any child that fights that hard has done so in vain”.
Based on a very popular Iwo Jima image, the children raising the cancer ribbon flag is one of the most popular images on the page. When breaking down the drawing Angus said,
“The ground the children are raising the flag on is the same colour as a tumour… they’re actually raising a victory flag, on top of a cancer”.
“All the children are different nationalities, because cancer doesn’t care where you’re from,” Angus went on to say. “It just wants to murder your children or maim them”.
With an initial reaction described as “disbelief and a lot of confusion” UOW student Benn Rubain was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 14. Too sick to do many activities Benn found Lego and movies the main source of his entertainment during his treatment. Always leaving the Hospital as soon as possible Benn still spent months at a time there, describing the whole period as “a shit situation”.
For any child who might be undergoing treatment or are trying to wrap their heads around the diagnosis Benn finished by saying:
“Don’t blame the world. It’s shit, but you’ve got to push through the fog”.
“Surround yourself with those that love you and most importantly, accept what has happened”.
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I’m Paul and this is my sleepless blog.