Young artist uses cancer diagnosis as inspiration
A young New Brunswick artist, who was inspired by a cancer diagnosis last year, is using his art to convey a message of hope and renewal.
Mathieu Francoeur was told he had testicular cancer in May of last year.
“Moved to Calgary for work, go see the doctor, diagnosed with cancer, four days after that I get an operation, a few days after that I am back in New Brunswick to start chemotherapy,” says Francoeur.
Francoeur couldn't work, be outside in the sun, or have a cold beer on a hot summer day.
Instead, as a type of therapy and a way to pay the bills, he dove into creating art.
“Whenever I went into the garage and painted, I painted how I felt and at first I would paint trees that were dying, that were leafless because I was losing my hair and I felt leafless myself,” says Francoeur.
Those paintings formed an exhibition that opened last October.
The day of the opening, Francoeur learned his cancer was in remission.
“It was a good feeling,” says Francoeur. “I had my hospital bracelet on me that day and I got to cut it up in front of people and say ‘I don't need it anymore.’”
Francouer says his treatment could have been very different, less invasive, had he been diagnosed earlier.
Oncologist Dr. Mahmoud Abdelsalam agrees. He says young men with a family history of testicular cancer, or who've had it themselves, need to be tested regularly.
“We need to examine children for the position of the testicle early in life, so if there is a malposition testicle, we reposition it,” says Abdelsalam.
Francoeur says he hopes other men will listen to his message and get tested.
“If you see or feel anything weird down there just go and get it checked. Ask your girlfriend, ask somebody in your life, or just go see the doctor, it’s very quick and easy,” says Francoeur.
Francoeur’s exhibit will be on display for the next two weeks at the Centre Culturel Aberdeen, in Moncton.
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell