For those of you who have been following Seth Kushner's struggle with aggressive onset Leukemia, and for the many, many members of the comics community who are his friends, it's been a season of hard news following a season of big struggles. Award-winning pop culture photographer and comics writer, Seth Kushner began an aggressive battle of his own starting last spring when he was admitted to the hospital after a serious flu failed to go away, received a shocking diagnosis of Leukemia, and immediately went into chemo treatment, round after round.
When this was unsuccessful in helping him reach remission, doctors tried to get his health in shape for a bone marrow transplant. That had its own setbacks and took much longer than expected, then a donor was found and he was ready for the transplant, had very promising results, and finally was sent home to be with his family, including wife Terra and young son Jackson. The battle seemed won, and all the superheroes and pop culture characters he'd drawn for Jackson while in the hospital, as well as the many comics scripts he'd worked on from a hospital bed stood as an extreme testament to his tenacious spirit. Two weeks after returning home, while being monitored by doctors, he received the disastrous news that he was no longer in remission. This week, as the couple celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary, Terra Kushner posted on Facebook:
Apologies that you have not heard any updates in a while. As some of you know, Seth's Leukemia came back after being at home for two weeks. He has been back in the hospital for a little over a week and he now has pneumonia. The doctors seem to be doing a good job of keeping everything under control & giving him a light chemo to keep him at bay while we look into a trial at Cornell. We should know more later in the week on this. Please keep Seth in your thoughts & prayers and please understand if we are not able to return your calls, emails and texts quickly.
Seth and Terra are looking into other options for treatment, but this is no doubt the darkest time of Seth's fight against a potentially fatal illness. Having had such hope of success in the transplant, and facing even more extreme financial difficulties due to months of treatment, Seth and his family are now, more than ever in need of support.
It's hard to know what to say or what to do as friends and family are also shocked by the fact that the hardest part of the journey is not over for Seth. If a man's wealth is measured in the friends that he's made, Seth is a rich man, but as a freelancer, like so many others who face medical need, he faces a wall of mounting medical costs he can't help to shift without the help of friends.
There has been a dedicated gofundme page for Seth and his family for some time, and when Terra released this recent news, there was a heart-warming ground-swell of spreading the word again about giving financial support to the Kushners in this time of need. When people ask, "What can we do?" that's the main answer right now. We can't fight Seth's battles for him, but we can acknowledge the immense things he's done for the comics community and the positive impact he has made on the lives of his friends by donating even a small amount to keep him in treatment and potentially save his life. So, please spread the word and be mindful of others, too, in the comics community who might need your help.
Seth's work has included the ground-breaking book Leaping Tall Buildings, and beyond, taking some of the most striking photo-portraits of comics creators created to date, like these:
He also successfully funded a Kickstarter for a comics anthology Schmuck featuring the work of 21 indie artists shortly before he fell ill. It features semi-autobiographical and uproarious stories of Adam Kessler's search for love before at last finding his soul-mate.
For a young man, he has accomplished a great deal and many of his projects have been strongly community-based and fostered an excellent spirit of friendship among comic creators and in his native Brooklyn and New York. More than ever, he needs his friends and let's hope the comics community remembers him in his hour of need.
You can find Seth Kushner's gofundme page here and stay tuned for future fundraising announcements that are currently in the works.