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The Optimistic Outlook Of Cancer Owl

Written by  Published August 25, 2015 12:12
Everyone is familiar with the phrase, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. It's suggesting you take the optimistic outlook on life by taking something bitter and turning it into something sweet. So when life handed Matthew Paul Mewhorter cancer he made Cancer Owl. Cancer is hardly lemons but the sentiment is there. He took something negative and turned it into something positive not only for himself but to share with others who are going through a similar experience. Cancer Owl isn't just a form of release, it gives great insight to what he's going through and what other cancer patients are experiencing. Those who have never had cancer and never gone through chemotherapy would have a difficult time walking in the shoes of someone who has. Cancer Owl gives a lighthearted look at the experiences and emotions that go with cancer. Lighthearted in the sense that it's explained in comic form with an owl but the content is real and honest.

cancer owl the news 2

Matthew Paul Mewhorter is a 36 year old husband, father of a 2 year old girl, therapist, cartoonist/illustrator and currently undergoing cancer treatments.

“ I'm post-surgery with a second round of chemo and, at this time, have no evidence of cancer (or lymph node negative as my oncologist called it). I was diagnosed almost a year ago with colorectal cancer, and later was staged at an early 2.  I was poisoned, burned horribly in the worst places by radiation, and came severely close to losing my anus.  I have a temporary ostomy bag that is set be reversed close to Christmas time. I still have over a month of chemo treatments to go. I'm almost there!”

He has always had dreams of becoming a cartoonist and has never stopped drawing. Once given the cancer diagnosis he channeled his energy and skills into journaling his experience which ultimately turned into Cancer Owl.

“Even in my life's detours, I never stopped drawing. So basically, after I was diagnosed with cancer, my therapist encouraged me to use my skills to journal my experience for self care. So I did just that, and it hit me that since it was so therapeutic for me, it might be therapeutic for others. But I promised myself that I would be honest about my experiences, no matter what. Comics are also such a powerful way to fit a whole thesis is something that can be read in seconds.

And the reason I made myself an owl is pretty simple: owls are my favorite animal. But I also considered that owls are popular internet animals, like cats and sloths, so it'd be easier to share across the internet.”

Cancer is not an easy topic of discussion for a lot of people. Unfortunately it makes some people uncomfortable and it can be very scary. Cancer Owl does a nice job of putting the topic into perspective. So what does Mewhorter hope to achieve with Cancer Owl?

chemo strikes again

“Laughter! Lots of Laughter...and hope with some good feels sprinkled in.  I also want cancer patients and survivors to have the same kind of therapy reading the comics as I do creating them. I hope they laugh and it relieves them for even a moment. And I also want them to share the cartoons with their non-cancer friends, especially the clueless ones. There are so many well-meaning, but completely obtuse people out there that just don't have a clue of what it's like to live with cancer. I try really hard to put the reader in my position, of what it's like to be a cancer patient in a busy world full of healthy folks who just don't know how to act around us.

But I also hope readers will see that cancer patients aren't victims. Cancer patients and survivors are some of the most bad-ass people I've ever met, with a wicked sense of humor and a thirst for life. People with cancer know what life is all about, more than most people.”

Currently Cancer Owl is exclusively online but there are plans to publish and create greeting cards and other gifts that can be given to patients and their caretakers.

“I've only been making this comic since May, and already I'm overwhelmed by the response, mostly from other cancer patients. They thank me for creating the comic, how it has given them comfort, and how I must keep going.”

He's currently setting up a Patreon page which will give readers a place to donate to help support Cancer Owl.

You can follow on Twitter with the handle @cancerowl, on Instagram at and like on facebook at The comics can also be found

People who are interested in other work Mewhorter has done can check out the website,

People who'd like to donate to him right now can find him on by searching for Matthew Paul Mewhorter.

Jessica Kirby

It was a cold winter day when we had decided to play hide-n-seek in the house. I hid in a dark closet in the attic. That's where I found my first comic book. I have never returned from that dark closet in the attic. They have tried to drag me back into the light. But they cannot. I will forever be on the DarXide.

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