Cartoonist Fighting Cancer … Again

Chicago cartoonist Ed Siemienkowicz is fighting the battle of his life yet again. A little over two years ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which it seemed like he had pretty well beaten by having part of his pancreas, intestines and lymph nodes removed. Then it came back and his entire pancreas was removed. Now it’s back again and Ed is in the fight of his life yet again. He has documented part of his battle over on his crowdfunding page, Team Ed. This article about Ed is in three parts, my personal feelings about Ed and his battle, how you can help, and a soapbox.

I met Ed around 2002. He went to college with my friend Joel, and had relocated to Orlando. Ed struck me as one of the funniest guys I had ever met with an attitude that seemed optimistic no matter what looked to be on the horizon. I saw him develop as a cartoonist and at every opportunity reach out for new experiences. This took him to Japan to teach English right before I needed to relocate to Orlando, and I took over his room in the apartment that he shared with another fine cartoonist. Ed’s presence was constant, especially since he painted the room bright red before he moved out. Over the years, I kept up with Ed through social media, although admittedly, I wasn’t as close to Ed as our other friends since we’d never been in the same city for more than a few days at a time. Before I moved to Orlando, I had followed his podcast, Voice of the Republic religiously, inspiring me to podcast myself. Ed inspired me to try a few new things over the years, and I considered him a friend through comics, to borrow a phrase from Chris Staros. When he was first diagnosed, I wasn’t financially able to help, The first chance that I could donate, I did.

How can you help? Go to his crowdfunding page, Team Ed, and donate. You don’t have to donate a lot. If I can make a suggestion, next Wednesday don’t buy one comic book. Then take whatever you would have spent on that comic and send it to Team Ed. The concept of crowdfunding is that individually, we can’t cover any of the massive expenses that come with fighting cancer, but together, every little bit helps, especially with the things that insurance doesn’t cover, and that’s where the soapbox comes in.

This is your warning, it’s about to get political.

We live in one of the wealthiest nations of the world and unlike any of our peers, we do not have universal health care. If Ed lived in one of those countries, we would only need to give him our moral support. However, this is not the only travesty in our healthcare system. We live in a society where Ed’s quality of care is a matter of profit for someone. There are people that Ed has no interaction with that are making money on him fighting for his life. If they are even aware of him in the most abstract of ways, they may even be hoping that the fight is as prolonged as possible so their profits are maximized as much as possible. Our healthcare system is an obscenity, and it needs to change. I urge to read about how it works, the proposals to change it, the alternatives being proposed, and then get engaged to change it, because the way it’s being done now is immoral, and people like Ed shouldn’t have to ask for strangers to become friends just to survive, they should ask strangers to become friends because they’re a good person and that’s why I’m helping Ed. He’s a good person, and we need every good person in this world that we can get.

Note: The opinions in this article are solely those of Stan Ford and do not reflect on other contributors to the site, or its advertisers.