On the road with MSBMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39482.586505.DE (Published 07 February 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:331
- Colin Martin, independent consultant in healthcare communication, London
“I have been fighting a horrible and brutal war over the past seven years,” shouts Johnny Hicklenton, furiously propelling his wheelchair through the doors of a lift, in the opening sequence of a new film documenting his battle with multiple sclerosis. Some patients with chronic diseases write about their experiences, but Hicklenton is a talented artist, well known for his horror comic illustrations. So he collaborated on the artwork and animation for Here’s Johnny, made by UK film production company Animal Monday.
He is definitely not an avuncular Rolf Harris, wielding a paintbrush and asking “Can you see what it is yet?” The “cancer journeys” written by oncology patients often record their genteel self discoveries in the face of adversity. Here’s Johnny establishes a more radical genre, providing a cathartic, full-on road trip through the progression of the protagonist’s disease. Think Jack Kerouac with a sketch pad instead of a typewriter.
For Hicklenton, his diagnosis with MS was …