Emily McDowell designed the cards that she wished she received when she was battling cancer.
Emily McDowell was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins lymphoma at the young age of 24. After nine months of difficult chemotherapy and radiation treatment, her cancer went into remission. Now 38 years old, McDowell’s her harrowing journey with the disease has inspired her to create a line of what she calls “Empathy Cards.”
The greeting cards have messages specifically directed for those struggling with cancer that are communicated with kindness, honesty and humor. McDowell, a designer by trade, was inspired to create cards that communicated the messages that she knew her friends and family couldn’t otherwise say during her cancer battle.
“The most difficult part of my illness wasn’t losing my hair, or being erroneously called ‘sir’ by Starbucks baristas, or sickness from chemo,” McDowell wrote on her website. “It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it.”
When it came to coming up with a design plan, McDowell stayed true to the same style she had used on previous projects. The cheery colors and trademark font gives the card a sweet and personal feel.
“I feel like people with an illness are people first,” she told Slate. “So I didn’t want to treat the aesthetics of these differently from the rest of my collection.”
McDowell says her goal for Empathy Cards is “to help people connect with each other through truth and insight. I want the recipients of these cards to feel seen, understood, and loved.”