Greetings from The Olathe Poste!

Artistamps to Celebrate Life!

The Olathe Poste celebrated Karen`s surviving cancer and chemo therapy on a commemorative artistamp! 2004 W. C. `Bill` Porter

You Need Not
Perish To Be
Honored On

Beating not only the cancer, but the chemotherapy. Photographed on Karen`s first outing to the mountains following 5 months of treatment. Story & dPhoto 2004 W. C. `Bill` PorterLife has it’s surprises and not all of them are good. Unfortunately, they can be quite devastating to a comfortable, daily routine. Surprises such as a checkup discovering the presence of lymphoma attacking one’s body is far more than disheartening. Add to that the idea of facing months of highly aggressive chemotherapy as the ‘best’ possible solution to the problem. Disheartening becomes a very gross understatement.

Just another real life situation that we hear about everyday; right? Not for Karen Gaffey. This obstacle in Karen’s life path presented it’s ugliness in March of 2004. Many, if not all, of Karen’s friends and family had similar responses after the shocking news settled. She’s a survivor, she’s going to make it through this. Which she has. With flying colors and only a few minor battle-scars visibly noticeable as a result.

While in real life situations such as Karen’s, there are no purple hearts awarded. No medals for bravery and valor. Karen and the rest of us common, everyday folks normally only get to pay the bills afterwards and suffer through the other ‘realities’ associated with situations like this.

Common folks surely do not receive any recognition by large postal authorities belonging to bureaucratic governments either. Which is one of the most compelling reasons by-and-large, that artistamps have a definite place – and role -- in the realm of philately.

Consider, if-you-will, that while artistamps continually receive somewhat less than flattering press in the various journals relating to philately. While quite frequently they also are referred to as a catchall sub-category to Cinderella stamps, and again, just as frequently in a less than flattering tongue. These little pieces of postal decor have the distinct ability to commemorate the good things that occur in our time here on earth.

In Karen’s situation, for example, she would have had to meet an untimely end from her battle with cancer, or it’s cures. Then the stamp collectors of the world, and her family, would have to wait no less than ten years for the United States Postal Service to even consider her likeness to flatter a real U. S. postage stamp. Which would be highly unlikely in this example. Because Karen hasn’t won a Pulitzer prize, written the world’s greatest novel, or founded a better cure for the cancer that stole five months of her life away.

Under the USPS 10 year rule of eligibility to be commemorated on a U. S. postage stamp, she could be honored in just over a year. If she was in office as President of the United States, at the time of her death. Of course since Karen is very much alive, well, we won’t be seeing her on a real postage stamp anytime soon.

But thanks to artistamps, Karen, along with her friends and family, will be able to celebrate her conquering cancer and the painful chemotherapy every time a piece of correspondence goes into the mail.

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