A Bittersweet Tale

On Tuesday 14th August 2018 I sent the following message to the USA assuming it would be picked up by cartoonist, Randy Glasbergen. The reply wasn’t, unfortunately, what I was expecting and certain similarities to my own story are uncanny.    Malcolm’s Story


Hello from the UK.
Since surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest last year I have put together a team who now are teaching Basic Life Support to as many people as we can.  We are all volunteers and charge no fees (ie. no income/no expenditure). I was wondering if I might, with your permission, and occasionally, reproduce one of your cartoons from your ‘heart’ selection on our blog. They are so apt to our teachings. You can look at the blog at https://cprcounts.wordpress.com

There’s no harm in trying!

Many thanks, whatever your answer.

Malcolm Robinson

Good morning Malcolm, thank you for contacting Glasbergen Cartoon Service. It’s great to hear from you today!

Let me start by telling you that Randy passed away unexpectedly on August 11, 2015 at the age of 58. He left a huge hole in the freelance cartooning world when he died, but also left a huge online catalog of over 5,000 cartoons. His wish was for our family to continue marketing his cartoons until the world no longer needs to laugh and we are doing just that.

Your request for these particular cartoons is very close to our family. When Randy was 47, he had a cardiac arrest in our front yard while walking our dog. As fate would have it, a young couple known to our family was driving by, saw him laying on the ground and saved his life. We are in a very small Village where Randy grew up (pop. 1,100), everyone knows everyone, so when the ambulance arrived all of the people working to save his life were friends, high school classmates, etc. The 4th time with the paddles brought him back. He was down for over 30 minutes, but miraculously, he suffered no brain damage. He received a defibrillator/pacemaker and for the following 10 years it never went off. December 13, 2014 was the ten year anniversary of this incident.

Fast forward to August 6th 2015. A normal day, I went to work, he had already been up for 2 hours and working in his home office on the 3rd floor of our house. He called me at 10:00 to report that he all of a sudden felt like he had the flu. By 1:00 he asked me to come home. I immediately took him to his doctor which is on our same street. They could see his was in distress – high fever, trouble breathing and transported him to the local hospital. He was stabilized there then transferred to a larger hospital. The next evening while in the hospital (he diagnoses was sepsis – although he hadn’t been sick), he had a cardiac arrest. Since no DNR was in place (we didn’t think he would need one), he was revived once more. This time he lived an additional 4 days but had no brain activity and on August 11th when all of the machines were turned off his passing was in 3 minutes time.

Needless to say, his passing was a shock and having just seen the 3rd year of his leaving us, it is still very raw. Especially for those of us keeping his business alive. When I type his name and tell people on a daily basis that he is no longer with us, it opens up the wound again and again. I do not go into this long story as I have with you, but your request in very close to my heart.

With all of that being said, you have my permission to use whatever heart, cardiac, medical or other cartoons that are pertinent to getting your message out to help save more lives. We have made donations locally to purchase AED’s to be used for sudden cardiac arrests and we know that lives have been saved.

Bless all of you for the volunteer work you are doing and thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am glad you are a survivor.

Karen Glasbergen

Karen and Christie Glasbergen
Glasbergen Cartoon Service


That’s so sad Karen and also so kind of you. 

I only really came across Randy by name when I recently saw one of his cartoons and thought how appropriate it was to getting our message across. I had no idea of what you have just told me.

My survival was something akin to a miracle and if you feel like reading about what happened to me it’s all on our blog under ‘Malcolm’s Story’.

Our next course will be our seventh and will bring us close to 300 local people trained in CPR and other first aid for the unconscious person.

I would like to ask one more favour of you and that is for your permission to reproduce your reply to me, below, alongside a cartoon.

I am so grateful to you and wish you all the very best.

Malcolm Robinson

Malcolm, we would be honored if you shared his story. The more people that hear these stories the more they will realize the importance of learning how to save a life. Thank you and I am checking out your story now.


Comment sent by Karen to this blog: What a powerful story! My belief is that anyone over the age of 18 should learn CPR and learn it the correct way. In the US – most State and Federal buildings as well as churches, schools and other public places have AED’s to aide in getting the heart started as quickly as possible.




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