I’m a Western New Yorker. I was born at Buffalo Children’s Hospital in 1969. I’ve lived in and around Buffalo, almost my whole life. I spent a couple years at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I’ve led an active life and enjoyed many outdoor activities our area has to offer. As a passionate artist, snowboarder, mountain biker and music enthusiast, I have crafted some great adventures over the years. I’ve worked with 40 million dollar manufacturing companies, ski areas, mom and pop’s and my own retail business over the past 30 years. Check out my resume and portfolio.
September 13, 2019, I married my high school sweetheart at our favorite place in the area, Sprague Brook Park. It was a great day with most of our close friends and family in attendance. Many showed up on mountain bikes and the ceremony was held just off a trail that I helped build almost a decade prior. We camped and rode bikes most of the weekend until Sunday morning when I got rushed to the hospital.
Two days after the wedding I was told I had kidney cancer and they would have to remove my right kidney asap. They removed the kidney and the 2 tumors with it. They estimated the large tumor to be over 10 years old. The docs removed all of the cancer and I would have little adjustments to make, now having only one kidney.
Fast forward to February 2020. I started noticing a distinct ringing in my ears. I was having a hard time focusing and my balance seemed a bit off. Headaches followed almost daily. One day I was taking a break from the office and went up on the hill to do some snowboarding. I bent over to strap in and almost immediately fell over forward. Now I knew something wasn’t right.
I saw my primary doctor a couple days later. He though it may be sinuses combined with migraines. I got a prescription and was scheduled for some tests. The tests later reveled, through an MRI, a small tumor in my brain stem. That little sucker set up camp in the Pons area of my brain stem and was causing some chaos. Next thing you know, I’m scheduled for a gamma knife procedure to nuke the tumor. On it’s journey to my brain, the cancer dropped off a couple of friends. One in my lymph nodes near my lung and one near the original kidney location.
Now mind you, this was right when Covid-19 was starting to grip the world like something we have never seen. The gamma knife procedure was preformed in March and followed up by immunotherapy sessions. March 17th the ski areas went on lock down and the home quarantine period began.
Trying to fight cancer and the side effects from treatments is a big battle. Doing it during a pandemic seemed surreal. Working from home was exactly what I needed to distract my focus on the cancer. I could pour myself into projects and I was way ahead of the game for the upcoming season, if there was to be one. Unfortunately I was let go in July. So now I’m battling a cancer, that will most likely kill me, we’re in the thick of a pandemic and I’m unemployed.
The steroids I was on kept me up all night so I started drawing on my iPad. After a while I had quite the collection of cartoons, illustrations and sketches. Now it’s fall. The Buffalo Bills looked like real playoff contenders and the hype was huge. It gave us all something positive to focus on. I started creating Bills themed designs for my friend Mark. He was producing a variety of Buffalo football themed products and it was cool to see my designs put to use. I was also creating cartoons of popular people in the news. Anthony Faucci was one of my firsts, followed by a couple of Trump characters and of course, the Tiger King.
I was doodling one night and got the idea for Hot Wing Designs. The focus would be on chicken wing characters doing stuff people do in our area. Since I’m huge music fan, I was listening to my favorites and ended up doing a cartoon of Eddie Van Halen. Next thing you know I had almost a dozen guitar players.
My gears were now spinning and I thought about a freelance career. With my health limitations and appointment schedule, it made it difficult to hold down something steady. Currently, I’ve sent out over 80 applications for local and remote positions. I’ve got one call back and interview that went nowhere. SO, now I’m freaking out wondering how I’m going to make ends meet. I’m not the type to accept handouts so a home based business seemed like the best solution. Two local news channels got word of my struggle. I did Zoom interview’s with both stations and you can see the stories below.
Please take some time to check out my website and all of the work I’ve done over the years. Maybe you or one of the people in your network, could benefit from some of my work.
Thank you all for the support.
UPDATE: June 2021
Unfortunately my latest MRI revealed another tumor. This time it’s in my left Parietal Lobe. Immunotherapy is has just about erased the cancer in my torso but because of the blood brain battier, it does not treat the cancer in my head. The doc’s at Roswell will be using gamma knife again to treat this tumor. Luckily it’s not as risky as the brain stem tumor from last year. The scary part is that it grew to size (3mm) in less than 6 months and they can’t figure out the source.