A Glasgow calligrapher and illustrator who lost her brother to cancer last year has launched a special range of satirical greeting cards, raising money for Cancer Support Scotland in the process.
Jen Fisher (pictured) and her brother Han felt, like many people do, that sometimes ‘get well soon’ just doesn’t cut it and it was this realisation that marked the creation of Bing Bong Mail.
Wanting to provide her brother with authentic, meaningful and down-to-earth words of support, Jen began devising colourful cards each featuring a straight-talking, humorous message of comfort that acknowledged the gruelling experience of life with cancer.
With backing from The Awesome Foundation, Jen has put the collection on sale for others to buy.
Championing her brother’s dark sense of humour, Bing Bong Mail cards feature a protest placard with slogans like “Bring on the drugs”, “Well this sucks” and “Apparently swearing helps”.
The overall design was inspired by a strong feeling from Jen and her family that cancer was not a ‘journey’ as it is so-often referred to, but a ‘war’ – a sustained attack on someone’s body, mind and soul that demands a protest.
Jen explained what the cards are all about.
“Bing Bong Mail is all about spreading positive vibes, hope and humour and lighting up the dark corners people find themselves in.
“These cards are a way for people to show love, understanding and solidarity to people with cancer.
“It can be hard to find the right words but we know people don’t want to be pacified with a wishy-washy message.
“Let’s say it how it is and put a smile on each other’s faces in the process.”
A vivacious and free-spirited man, Jen’s older brother Han was diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer in January 2020, undergoing extensive treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.
He passed away in November 2020.
Covid-19 made access to emotional and other forms of support extremely difficult, but throughout the year and in the months since his death, Cancer Support Scotland provided invaluable help to Jen and Han’s wife Sarah.
“Throughout the hell of Han’s war with bowel cancer, Cancer Support Scotland were a massive help.
“There’s no way I could have been there to support Han as fully as I did if I didn’t have access to the counselling and stress management services the charity offers.
“I wanted to use the cards to support this amazing cause, so they can continue to provide this vital support for other families in the future.”
Emma Connor, Fundraising Manager, Cancer Support Scotland commented:
“We are absolutely thrilled to be supported by the lovely Jen and her amazing project Bing Bong Mail in memory of her very special brother, Han.
“Jen’s creativity and humour are wonderful and we are looking forward to seeing her cards fly out the door.
“Humour can play such an important role in remaining positive and looking after your wellbeing and we think that Bing Bong Mail will bring a special smile to the recipients face.”
Jen feels putting the Bing Bong Mail cards on sale is the perfect way to remember Han, sending some of his effervescence, humour and thirst for life into the world and keeping a part of him and his name alive.
Through these cards, Han is saying “you hate cancer? Me too – in all its forms.”
A talented illustrator, Jen went to Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen to study 3D Design and Craft and now juggles a day job with her calligraphy business, Toasty Type.
With a passion for creating and drawing, Jen loved putting her skills to use with the birth of Bing Bong Mail.
She draws the original designs by hand before digitising them, taking anywhere from a matter of minutes to several hours to create the images.
Bing Mong Mail cards are priced at £3 each, with a third of funds going to Cancer Support Scotland.
Jen hopes to use profits to create, print and release even more cards including ranges that speak to people going through a variety of hard-hitting illnesses.