On the Origin of EmPat Stickers
by EmPat Sickers Creator, Nina Beaty, artist and current cancer patient
I came up with the idea of creating ‘cancer emojis” about 3 years ago when I was under going chemotherapy treatments as a small cell lung cancer patient. I would sit in the chair, tethered to the treatment pole, trying to keep those who loved me up-to-date by texting on my cell phone. Though I very much wanted to be in touch, I found I was too overwhelmed both physically and emotionally to respond to each one of them.
Which is when I heard myself wishing, ‘Oh, if there were only emojis just for cancer patients that I could send out instead of having to write what was going on with me, it would be such a big help.’ Soon thereafter, I started drawing little cartoons in a black sketchbook that illustrated some of the funny, sad, frustrating moments I had been experiencing at the treatment clinic. Then I became curious, and began asking other cancer patients “If you had one emoji to express yourself, what would you want to say or show to others?” and I got wonderful answers such as “Mainly the fatigue” or “Sad. I’ve lost the life I used to have.”
So that’s how the EmPat Stickers came into being.
Currently, there are two characters in the sticker pack. The tall one with the aqua headgear is “Pat” (shorthand for PATient) and Pat’s friend, “Em” (shorthand for EMpathy). Hence, EmPat!
I had an incredibly warm and creative team to thank who spent their after-work hours to make my dream happen: project director Amory Millard with me here in NYC as we Skyped with our producer Kevin Smith and our animator Cindy Blakney in far away New Brunswick, CANADA. Below is an example of how Nina’s original sketches were transformed into the animated characters by Cindy.
EmPat stickers are currently available on iTunes and Google play.
Until then…yours truly,