In 2007, Kate Beaton began delighting readers with her webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant. Beaton has since become known for her masterful comedic timing, seamless blend of history and poignant cultural commentary. Her impressive body of work includes the 2015, Step Aside, Pops and the children’s title, The Princess and the Pony. I’ve never met Beaton, but in interviews she’s always come across as thoughtful, authentic, and caring. She’s a rare creator who speaks earnestly and honestly about life and creating comics. Beaton’s work resonates with avid comic readers, literature buffs and nearly everyone in between.
In a Twitter post on November 14, Kate Beaton announced her sister Becky’s fight against cancer.
Hello my friends. There is no easy way to put this out there. This is my sister Becky. Since two years ago, everything has changed in our family. We are asking for help now, we love her more than I could ever tell you. https://t.co/gLmLafetKB
— Kate Beaton (@beatonna) November 14, 2017
Making this public announcement, asking for help, was not a decision that came to Kate or the rest of the Beaton family easily. Becky’s YouCaring page provides more details about her health and treatment options:
Many of you may not be aware, but our dear friend and sister Becky Beaton was diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2015.
Christmas dinner and New Year’s eve were bookended with chemotherapy and radiation treatments; and a year later, Becky was told that the radiation had successfully eliminated the tumour. We celebrated, breathed a sigh of relief, and toasted to a second chance at life.
But unfortunately, Becky’s fight is not over. Just a few weeks ago she was told this aggressive form of cancer has spread further. Her doctor’s prognosis was “incurable,” meaning she has reached the limit of radiation and chemotherapy treatments, as she has already been through as much as safely permitted.
The post goes on to say:
Like so much of cancer treatments, you do not know until the 11th hour what to expect. So, although we don’t yet have all the information regarding specific details around potential trials and treatments, we need to act fast. Things will move quickly once she is accepted into the programs, and international patients at renowned hospitals like Sloan Kettering in NYC are required to provide the funds up front. We want Becky to have every single option available to her; and even if Becky does not get accepted into these trials, she will still need money to live and rebuild her life. Because of the physically taxing nature of cancer treatments, she hasn’t been able to support herself financially in over 2 years.
Access to healthcare, especially clinical trials based in the United States are extremely costly. The struggle to cover medical expenses is one far too many families are familiar with. Each of us understands the desire, the need to provide our loved ones with every possible chance at life. This could explain why the family’s initial fundraising goal $150,000 was met within only three days. In an update on Becky’s YouCaring page on November 19, the family and Becky expressed deep gratitude for the outpouring of support they have received.
I am so incredibly overwhelmed and touched by the outpouring of love and support I’ve received from everyone. Your generosity has filled my heart to the brim with hope! I hope to be able to pay it forward some day. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart!!
– Becky Beaton
Kate Beaton is also used her platform on Twitter to ask her supporters to help fundraise for others fighting cancer or dealing with the own healthcare crisis of their own.
Only three years old. https://t.co/1OYwt0aIup
— Kate Beaton (@beatonna) November 23, 2017
She worked at a women's transitional home, another one of the world's helpers https://t.co/upwd07Q72i
— Kate Beaton (@beatonna) November 25, 2017
Over the past few weeks Kate’s Twitter has become an homage to the special bond between siblings. Each day she posts a comic, a photo, a story about her relationship to Becky or their family. It’s a beautiful, intimate portrait of love and family.
— Kate Beaton (@beatonna) November 23, 2017
— Kate Beaton (@beatonna) November 29, 2017
— Kate Beaton (@beatonna) December 1, 2017
Kate Beaton is collecting all of her Twitter posts on Flickr which you can view by following this link. The family has increased their fundraising goal to $225K in the hopes that this will provide Becky with a greater chance at a full recovery. You can head over to Becky’s YouCaring page for more information or to donate. On behalf of all of us at The Beat family, we wish Becky a full and speedy recovery.
Andrea Ayres writes about comics and representation in pop-culture.