Out Of Pain, Inspiration
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Out Of Pain, Inspiration

A cancer survivor finds a second career creating a collective for artists with disabilities.

A cancer survivor finds a second career creating a collective for artists with disabilities.

When Ira Harrison-Rubin survived thyroid cancer several years ago, he emerged from the life-threatening ordeal with a permanently swollen neck from the thyroidectomy that was necessary to remove his cancerous tumor. At the same time, he was diagnosed with a compressed spine that causes him pain throughout the day and forces him to rely on a cane for balance when he walks. But despite the physical challenges he now faces, Harrison-Rubin considers himself a lucky man. And when his pain gets him down, he’s found the best antidote is laughter.

As Harrison-Rubin works to expand Bageltoons’ creative product, he has called on a team of artists that he’s connected with over the Internet — specifically, artists who have disabilities. “Because of coping with my own physical disabilities, I have empathy and concern for people who have challenges,” Harrison-Rubin said. “I see the potential for creating work for cartoonists and artists who are struggling.”

One of the artists who created the Bageltoons images is Edward Freeman, from Wiltshire, England, who was born with no arms and no legs and who paints and draws using a device that he holds in his mouth. Another artist who has created some of Bageltoons’ digital media has Kallmann syndrome, a genetic condition that affects muscle control.

“After connecting with Edward and seeing the quality of his work, I began to think about the ways that Bageltoons could support artists who have disabilities,” Harrison-Rubin said. “My goal is to become successful enough that I can supply laptops and technologies to other artists like Edward who have amazing capacity for creativity. Technology could help them to create what they are able to visualize.”

For now, Bageltoons is in its start-up phase and Wallace and Harrison-Rubin are working to get their products out in the world. In addition to their digital content, they are developing scripts for comic books and animated cartoons for the bagel characters. Their interactive 3-D clocks are available for download at iTVclock.com.

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