FLEMING ISLAND – As soon as Talan Hausman learned his best friend had cancer, the 11-year-old started creating pictures of fish.
As long as Ian Bailey continues to fight his disease, Talan plans to keep drawing.
His pencils and paints have been busy since Ian’s constant knee pain was later diagnosed on Feb. 17 as Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Immediately, Talan decided he won’t stop drawing until Ian is cancer-free.
“A year ago, I didn’t like to draw,” Talan said. “But I do like fish. It’s the only thing I know how to draw.
“When I heard Ian had cancer, I was upset. I had to do something.”
So, he draws, with each completed picture being sold to help offset Ian’s hospital bills. To an 11-year-old, a $25 print is a lot of money. To 12-year-old Ian, it’s a gesture that is every bit as important and therapeutic as another round of life-saving chemotherapy.
“I’m touched,” Ian said. “He inspires me to be a better person. I want to give it back to him someday. He’s given me more than I’ve given him.”
Ian is surrounded by souvenirs from the Star Wars franchise. His favorite installment, “Revenge of the Sith.”
Talan would much rather be sitting on a river bank or coastline with a fishing line in the water. But for now, the only fish that matters are created by pencil, water color and pastel paint.
Talan carries a drawing pad in his bookbag. There are several new prints in various stages of completion. Some are in the early stages of pencil outlines; others already in the process of being painted. Instead of signing his name to each picture, Talan, who is blind in his right eye and making his own statement of courage, decided to scrawl a tiny message near the bottom: “Ian’s Army.”
And he promised to always be a loyal soldier in Ian’s tough battle.
“I want to help,” Talan said. “This keeps me busy. I want him to know I’m his friend.”
Ian got the first print, a beautiful rendering of a Mahi-mahi. But unlike others that have been sold, or already ordered, he added a biblical verse – Joshua 1:7-9 – to give his friend encouragement:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; Do not be discouraged, For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Ian is trying to be strong and courageous. Chemo treatments have been particularly difficult. He’s only had the strength to go to class three days at Orange Park Elementary days since he got his diagnosis more than a month ago.
“I’m going to get better,” he said. “When this is over, next Christmas will be the best one ever.”
Until then, Ian will keep fighting and Talan will keep drawing.