Insane In The Brain: 'A subtle middle finger to brain cancer'

Words by Henry Sawbridge
Photos by Dave Court

All profits raised from 'Insane In The Brain' tees go to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and their mission to increase five-year survival to 50% by 2023.

All profits raised from 'Insane In The Brain' tees go to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and their mission to increase five-year survival to 50% by 2023.

So I’ve just gotten into town one night just over five years ago now in February 2012, I'm 18 at the time. After a huge pre-drinks session me and some lads are lining up for the club around 11pm. But something doesn't feel right and I’m just not feeling it that night, so I leave the line, get a cab and go home. I've never done that before, I love the club. I get home, drunkenly grab some left over tea and head to bed.

2am. Mum bursts into my bedroom “Henry! Something’s wrong with Phil!”

In not even half a second I go from drunken slumber to stone cold sober, more alert than I’ve ever been before. I rush to my parents’ bedroom to see my dad, both arms rigid in the air, his whole body more tense than you’ve ever seen. He’s bleeding from the mouth and groaning the most guttural sounds I never want to hear again. What the fuck.

An ambulance arrives and sedates dad, he’s taken to hospital and so begins one of the longest nights I’ve ever experienced. Tests are run, observations made. Dad was diagnosed with grade 2 Oligoastrocytoma, a form of aggressive brain cancer within the next few days. His diagnosis was worsened to grade 3 the following year and was given a twelve-month prognosis from his doctors. Incredibly, it has been three years since that prognosis and although dad is still terminal I live everyday stoked he is still alive.

Cancer sucks. Dad's medication and treatments have sucked and have changed his personality in some pretty weird ways. He has wildly vivid and sometimes terrifying dreams, his thoughts are constantly cloudy and his stories now seem to take a year to come together. But it's cool, he’s putting in the fight of his life and giving the most nonchalant “fuck you” to cancer along the way. Dad is just one example of how this insane type of cancer can change a kid, a man and his family. There are many like us going through something similar however, and so with the help of Dave Court at Created Range I’ve designed some tees to raise some much needed cash for the cause. Trust me, the traditional “help support cancer treatment” shirts I’ve seen online were more boring than waiting around for dad to finish radiotherapy for the thousandth time way back in 2013.

All profits will go to the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and their mission to increase five-year survival to 50% by 2023. Yeah, not even 50% of patients diagnosed with any form of brain cancer will survive longer than 5 years let alone beat it altogether. For me though, being 23, what’s even more insane is that brain cancer kills more people under 40 in Australia than any other cancer, and furthermore if the prognosis isn’t ridiculously short anyway, brain cancer costs more per patient than any other cancer. I figured I owed my dad, and those in a much worse position fighting this fucked disease at least a fresh tee and a few bucks in support.

Head on over to Created Range at Shop 13 in the Regent Arcade to cop one of two shirt designs and give a subtle middle finger to brain cancer while you’re at it.