How Love, Art, and UPS Driver Got Bushwick Artist Allie Olson Into Breast Cancer Treatment
‘I love you. I love me. I love us.’
This is how Allie Olson, who has lived in Bushwick for 10 years, wraps up each of her informative (and often hilarious) videos, where she shares her journey with breast cancer through wacky songs and funny stories.
When diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer early in the pandemic, she took the opportunity to educate and connect with others, including with his UPS delivery driver, who she learned was also a cancer survivor.
Connecting with others is part of what keeps her going, she said. Life in Brooklyn too. She chose to stay in her fun and colorful apartment in Bushwick instead of moving in with her family in Indiana.
“Of course I could have moved in with my mom, but I live alone in New York and I love, love, love it!” Olson said.
“Breast cancer can’t take that away from me. Plus, I have an amazing team of doctors here.
The feeling heals
The Instagram account where Olson documents her cancer journey is full of made-up songs, hopping on the bed in her colorful apartment and sharing her daily life and the facts she learned from her doctors and nurses.
She also includes videos where she feels worse or depressed, for the sake of transparency. Olson said that part of what makes cancer difficult is depleted energy, financial stress, depression and anxiety surrounding strangers in the future.
“I don’t think we need to have positivity all the time – that’s not possible,” Olson said.
For its more than 2,000 followers, Olson’s Instagram is an essential guide to knowing what to expect during cancer treatment and how to cope with the changes.
“I always say you have to recognize the suffering and illuminate the joy,” Olson said. “
I can’t take the pain and the suffering away – it’s very important to feel it because to feel is equivalent to healing – but what I can do is bring more joy to the world. We have to honor every feeling.
This attitude is also part of Olson’s professional life.
Welcome to Alliéville
Olson is a visual artist and the creator of the silly and educational YouTube series, Allieville, which encourages children to be themselves, to explore their emotions and the world around them through humor, kindness, curiosity and art.
Last year, Allieville won a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council to continue building her web series and delivering Zoom classes and virtual art parties to kids, as so many other youth arts programs were cut. when schools switched to distance learning.
“If I can bring an aspect of delight or whimsical joy to the world, that’s what I want to do,” Olson said.
On her Instagram and website, she regularly posts videos and photos of the paintings she creates, which are usually bright abstract works.
She has a set of pencils, called Crayon-cer, which, in Olson’s fashion, is a perfectly awkward combination of the words cancer and pencil.
She also sells earrings, notebooks, and candles with her prints on the Etsy store.
The proceeds from her sales, which take place on Instagram and Etsy, in addition to funds raised on GoFundMe, help her pay her medical bills and rent.
Olson’s viral friendship with his UPS driver
Al Rodriguez started taking Olson’s packages up the three flights of stairs and leaving positive notes on the delivery slips when he realized she had cancer.
Rodriguez had survived leukemia twice, so he understood Olson’s predicament and pain.
“Going up three flights of stairs would really tire me out,” said Olson.
“I couldn’t get out much, I had to protect my immune system during those first few days of COVID. So [Rodriguez] delivered straight to my door. He left little notes for me when I wasn’t home, and I left him snacks.
The friendship deepened over time and she also connected with Rodriguez’s wife via social media.
Then, she posted an article about lasting friendship on her Instagram, which quickly went viral and was picked up by the Kelly Clarkson show.
“I always thought I was living in the moment before, but it really taught me to embrace the unknown and the unpredictable.”
You can follow Olson’s journey on his Instagram account and his GoFundMe page, which raised over $ 27,000 for his treatment.
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