Leon Edler launches a 'Charity Shop' for Movember and wants us all to check for lumps
This year has been challenging for many but for some, it's been life-changing. In July, award-winning illustrator and cartoonist, Leon Edler, was diagnosed with testicular cancer but was quickly treated and is now making a full recovery. He now wants to raise money for the Movember Foundation by selling some of his wonderful prints.
Through a new 'Charity Shop' on his website, you can get your hands on one of his bright and colourful artworks, full of his renowned confident style and hand-drawn humour which have thus far attracted clients from all over the world, as well as international recognition. The New Yorker, The Guardian and Time Out are amongst his regular customers.
If you purchase a print, one hundred per cent of the profits will go to Movember this month, which funds medical research, groundbreaking tests and trials, life-changing men's health programmes and innovative treatments. You can also donate here.
"I want to try and help raise awareness and funding, and to encourage anyone who finds a lump or bump to go to their doctor. It's scary, especially during a pandemic, but the reality is not always as bad as your fears," says Leon, who's based in Brighton.
"I felt a lump on my left teste and called the GP, who was actually pretty ropey. She said on the phone it was probably cancer and then Googled it! I was, like, holy moly. She referred me for an emergency scan and while that lump turned out to be a benign cyst, they found a tumour in the right teste. So it was complete chance."
How has Leon coped on top of everything else this year? "Okay really. I mean, just totally fed up like everyone else. But we've been luckier than most (apart from getting cancer) as we can both work from home, we have twin 5-year-olds, so they play with each other and don't hate us yet. We have a nice dog. Lockdown 2 is a bit much. I've spent the downtime making robotic busts out of desk fans."
"Physically I'm fine, but I'm struggling mentally," Leon continues. "I found that once the terror, followed by the overwhelming relief subsided, I was just left with a kind of lingering fear. I'm a lot more worried about my health, but also my kids' health. I feel more vulnerable."
What has Leon learnt from the experience? "I'm not sure I've learnt anything, really. I think some experiences can just be really shit. And the experience isn't completely over. I have to have scans and blood tests for the next five years. But I appreciate that I have been a lot luckier than others who are diagnosed. I don't take that for granted at all.
"I still haven't completely got my head around it I suppose, and don't feel totally comfortable doing this, but I know that fewer people are going for screenings and that I was scared about not being treated properly, so I felt obliged to tell people about my positive experience with the NHS. It's really scary, but they really look after you.
"I've also realised that men don’t talk about this and that there is embarrassment talking about testicles and only having one of them. But I'm not really bothered. I'm more than my testicle(s) and if one of them is killing me, chop it off. I told the consultant that he could take the other one, too. But he said he wasn't in the business of chopping off testicles willy nilly."
Leon Edler's Charity Shop is open for business. Go give him your love and support by purchasing a print and helping to raise lots for the Movember Foundation.