The World According to Tim: The TLC (Together we Live with Cancer) Supportive Community – A Bit of History As Seen Through A Logo!

The World According to Tim: The TLC (Together we Live with Cancer) Supportive Community – A Bit of History As Seen Through A Logo!

By Tim E. Renzelmann (June 8, 2021)

NOTE: To view mentioned images and logos, scroll down and open the PDF that contains this article.

A few issues ago I mentioned that I thought my position of 21-years has (if only by default) made me a bit of an historian in our Local Cancer Community (especially from the “survivor” perspective). So... allow me to take this time to share a bit of history of the TLC Supportive Community logo.

In early 2000, about the time I started this position, Dr. Matthews had commissioned an artist by the name of Robert Leland Pence to render a painting. As part of the creative process, Robert submitted this line drawing (see attached PDF).

“I've always been amazed at the majesty of a large tree that stood alone (certainly not to dismiss the importance of being supported by a group),” Dr. Matthews reflects. “Several words come to mind including strength and resilience -- not just solitude but self-sufficient and self-supportive.

“An interesting aside story about the importance of 'community' which some trees need and others perhaps not,” Dr. Matthews continues. “The largest tree in my new backyard on Lake Michigan 20+ years ago had a several foot diameter trunk and the branches and leaves when present provided a 15 yard or more diameter shade circle. To build my house they had to cut down a handful of full grown white pines just to the west of this giant Poplar tree. Before house construction even started a few thunderstorms from the West rolled through one day-not much worse than the usual storms we get every summer.

“The giant Poplar blew over pulled out by the roots!”

Robert L. Pence presented Dr. Matthews with this piece, which currently hangs in his office (see attached PDF).

“It wasn’t exactly what I had imagined,” reflects Dr. Matthews. “It was a little gloomier than I envisioned, but I like it. I think it represents what I was looking for along with the artist’s personal understanding of cancer. When I look at it, I see the looming darkness, but I also see something beyond that is much brighter.”

NOTE: Sadly, as I was putting this article together, I learned that Robert Leland Pence had passed away earlier this year. You can view his obituary here:

The tree in this painting was then incorporated into the original TLC logo later that year.  (See attached PDF)

A few years after that, when Dr. Bettag joined the clinic, I took it upon myself to create a new logo for the TLC Supportive Community and came up with this simplistic (and rather amateurish) logo that, to my surprise and delight, lasted over 15 years!  (See attached PDF)

More recently, in late 2019 Matthews Oncology Associates and Sheboygan Cancer & Blood Specialists launched a new website ( and, with it, a new logo. (See attached PDF)

After a few months went by, it was suggested that we update the TLC (Together we Live with Cancer) logo as well. Initially, my plan was to introduce it in May of 2020, which marked the 20-year anniversary of TLC! Then COVID hit... and I just couldn’t deal with any more change than was already occurring!

Now, as we begin to consider resuming some in-person indoor group activities of the TLC Supportive Community... and there is a sense of “newness” and anticipation in the air, I thought this might be a good time to introduce the new logo!  (See attached PDF)

I know... it’s not a big deal... it’s only a logo! But all of it is part of a story that is meaningful to me and, I think, has been meaningful to others.

As I begin to update our flyers, you may still occasionally see the old logo - I’ll probably forget and use the old logo from time to time and I have some apparel with the old (now “vintage”) logo that I will continue to wear! 😊

As I reflect on TLC, it is similar to that original Robert L. Pence painting that was incorporated into the first TLC Supportive Community logo. Over the years people have expressed to me what they are looking for in a supportive community. I have tried to listen and understand and create what they were envisioning. But I surely have contributed my own personal understandings. In the end, together, with some shared likenesses and unique differences, TLC has become it’s own work of art. Unlike that painting in which the paint has long-since set, the paint that makes up TLC is still wet... the piece is unfinished... as, TOGETHER, we continue to work on this living and breathing piece of art. It may not be “exactly what any of us had imagined.” But maybe, just maybe, beyond the “looming darkness” of the disease that brings us together... some have been able to “see something beyond that is much brighter.”

To get more involved in the TLC Supportive Community (and to add your own brush strokes to our work of art) simply join us at any upcoming events and activities!

NOTE: I am anxious to get back to some of our traditional TLC group activities that took place indoors and in-person! At this point I don’t have anything specific scheduled but I expect to cautiously do so, while also providing hybrid (either in-person or virtual) options whenever possible. More to come!!!

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