Hello, I’m Angus Olsen and welcome to idrawchildhoodcancer.com
I live in Katoomba NSW Australia with wife Rachel and our daughters Holly and Jane. Together we own and operate CafeXpresso, a kiosk cafe located outside Katoomba Railway Station. In-between making coffee for customers I create visual resources for children and their families facing childhood cancer.
My daughter Jane was just 2 years old when in August 2016 a radiographer discovered a dark mass and Jane was rushed to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Sydney. There Jane was diagnosed with abdominal Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma or ERMS (an aggressive connective tissue cancer). Jane underwent 54 weeks of chemotherapy, months of hospitalisation, multiple infections, ICU twice, experimental HIPEC and a 700 gram tumour surgically removed. Jane has been in remission since May of 2017.
I have a history of working artistically including a short time with Walt Disney Television Animation. While living in hospital with Jane I began to draw what it felt like and the Facebook page (I draw childhood cancer) was created. I drew and shared the images on Facebook as a way of communicating the things about cancer there are no words for, a diary of images to share with friends and family.
I began meeting other fathers through Facebook groups with children facing the same cancer as Jane. A friend asked me to draw a picture of his daughter also facing cancer. I went onto draw many children facing RMS cancer in a way I felt would reflect their strength, beauty and character.
One afternoon I drew a simple book about Nasal Gastric Tubing or NG Tubes. NG Tubes are a frustrating necessity for most cancer children and a source of great stress. I hoped that a simple book might help children and their families better understand the importance of NG Tubes. ‘My NG Tube’ was very popular being freely shared and quickly going viral. Since then I’ve created 20 books on various pediatric oncology subjects and are available in many languages thanks to the passionate work of volunteers around the world. Due to financial donations I’ve been able to develop and expand this resource making all we’ve done accessible to everyone.
I love to see my work being used amongst the global paediatric oncology family and I invite you to explore this page for tools that might be useful to you and others.
Photo by Benda Cunningham Blue Mountains Gazette