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?
“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 https://instagram.com/cancer_owl/ and like on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cancerowl. The comics can also be found onwww.cancerowl.tumblr.com.
People who are interested in other work Mewhorter has done can check out the website, www.idcreativestudios.com.
People who'd like to donate to him right now can find him on gofundme.com by searching for Matthew Paul Mewhorter.