Like many other late 20/early 30's peeps, I did not yet have a solid sense of human mortality when I heard the terrible news. Kevin K Griffith, a friend, coworker, and fellow artist who was barely older than me was diagnosed with a rare and devastating form of cancer. It seemed almost improbable for someone who was so fit, happy, and full-of-life to suddenly be facing death. I read his and his wife's optimistic, touching, funny, and heart-breaking journals as they navigated through physical pains, emotional hurdles, medical procedures, and crazy insurance roadblocks. I put logic aside and believed that somehow things still might work out fine.
I was high on Jet lag and beer when I checked my facebook, late last year. The news of Kevin's passing hit me like a hammer to the face.
I thought about the time he sneaked me into a company learning event when I was just a nervous noob waiting for my interview. I thought about the jokes we shared at sketch groups, the rapidly improving drawings he was making, the kindhearted relationship advice he gave to another friend even as he was dealing with some of the heaviest stuff one can imagine. I thought about how happy he looked with his equally brave wife in their recent wedding pictures. I thought about how young he was, just hitting his prime. Yet he was almost doomed from the start. There are a lot of great awareness and funding surrounding some of the more common diseases. For a patient suffering from a rare disease, the lack of funding and researches often mean there is no cure. It can be monumentally difficult to even figure out what options there may be.
When Kevin was battling cancer, a grass-root movement started thanks to a few good friends who founded a non-profit organization, Gamers for Good. They began planning for a fan art book for Kevin, filled with nods to his favorite games. Painters, photographers, sculptors, costume makers... all kinds of artists, friends or strangers, began to contribute. Thanks to all the effort, Gamers for Good was able to put the book together and present it to Kevin in his final months. It is their hope, and mine, that the book can carry on to have even more meanings. Maybe it can become part of Kevin's legacy, a continuation of his giving spirit. Maybe it will help many more people.
To learn more about Kevin's story, and to help with cancer research fundings, please check out the indiegogo page below:
Thank you for your time!