In the late eighties, Cinamon Hadley was living in Salt Lake City where she was (and still is) a fixture of the local goth scene. Her dark, wild hair, her piercings, and her entirely black wardrobe, complete with ankh necklace are part of a signature look that, if you were to see it now, might be familiar.
There's a good reason for that.
Hadley has been described by those close to her as perpetually happy and bright, in spite of the assumptions stereotypically lobbed onto people who present themselves the way she does. In some ways, she's a study in opposites, simultaneously shocking and alluring. Which made her the perfect muse for the embodiment of Death.
Toward the end of the decade, Hadley was approached by a friend of hers, Mike Dringenberg and asked if he could use a photo of hers as a model for a character he was designing. Dringenberg is a comic book artist, also located in Salt Lake City at the time, and was working on a book you may have heard of with an author who would come to be known as one of this generation's most talented. The book and author in question were Sandman and Neil Gaiman.
Hadley agreed, never expecting that the book would become a classic and that the character for which she was serving as inspiration, would become equally so. Death, as portrayed in Sandman (and ultimately throughout the DC universe) is ranked fifteenth on Empire's list of the greatest comic book characters of all time.
Suddenly, Hadley was an icon, the living embodiment of a character beloved by comics fans on both sides of the great rivalry. Sandman is one of the great unifiers, like Watchmen, soft serve, or rolling in a pile of puppies. You don't have to be a dog person to appreciate the virtues of a puppy pile-on. Likewise, whether you prefer DC, Marvel, or you only read books with print runs of under a thousand, published in remodeled turn of the century institutions on 30%+ post-consumer paper, everyone agrees that Sandman rules, and Hadley found herself in a starring role.
The character went on to be an important part of the story as the series progressed and eventually had her own title, beginning with the series Death: The High Cost of Living.
For Hadley however, lately the cost of living has seen a steep increase. Recently, she was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor, inoperable and metastisized. Like many of us in the United States, Hadley doesn't have health coverage and finds herself in the undesirable position of facing the medical establishment on her own.
Cancer is a foul, vicious thing, an insult to the human spirit, a bastardization of all good things, a mutant abomination that has absolutely no place in polite society. But, as cancer has invited itself to our party and refused to leave, deal with it we must. This particular unwanted guest cannot be evicted at the edge of a surgeons blade, but it can be bombarded to the pre-cambrian period with targeted radiation and chemical warfare. Needless to say, science's best tools in microbiological warfare don't come cheap and those close to Hadley have reached out to the community to ask for help.
Friends of Hadley have set up a fundraiser page to gather resources to help her in her treatment and recovery. If you're not of the internet crowd-funding persuasion, there are also two upcoming events in the Salt Lake City area that will benefit Hadley in the same way. If the good feeling of helping a fellow human being isn't enough reward, these events will feature live music, auctions, raffles, and more all while giving cancer a swift kick in the face.
If my word isn't enough to motivate you, even Neil Gaiman thinks you should donate.
In short, if you love Death, but hate cancer we'd love it if you'd consider donating to Hadley's medical fund, or attending one of the upcoming events (you can find the details here and here) or just sharing with your friends.
And remember, go see your doctor early and often, hug the people closest to you, and enjoy things. You get what anybody gets, you get a lifetime, but you only get the one so take care of it.