‘Two weeks ago I went back to the doctor and they said they’re not going to treat me anymore. They said I’d had enough radiology and enough chemotherapy and I still had it so I don’t know…
‘I feel quite active though. My lungs are good and my kidneys are OK. And I really don’t feel like it you know – to be saying goodbye just yet.
‘I was Preschool Cook at Australia Street Infants School in Newtown. I started off in 1973 only for a week or two while I filled in for someone. At the end of the next week, the Principal came down and said I can have the job. So I stayed there as Preschool Cook for 39 and a half years. In that time, I cooked over 7,000 meals for the children and I cuddled them every day.
‘I was made redundant in Xmas in 2012 – it was really stressful. Not long after that I was diagnosed with cancer.
‘They reckon I might last until Christmas but that’s about all. And that was a “might”. They said it depends on how much it grows and how much I deteriorate. Last week was pretty tough because I really don’t want to say goodbye just yet. I find it very hard.
‘I still get kids and adults coming up to me in the street. It feels very good. It’s hard to remember them because they change so much from when they’re little but they come up and say, “Miss Fay, I gotta give you a hug!” and that feels very good.
‘I don’t expect anything in return because you do what you have to do. I was working and everything and I did it all for the kids. I just loved them so much.’
‘I work in children’s television and see a huge inequality on screen between genders. I’ve worked on almost 20 kids’ animated TV series now and none of them have had a female lead character. That’s insane to me. Television thinks that it’s quite a progressive industry and we talk a lot about evening out genders and being inclusive but it just doesn’t really translate to the screen.
‘Whenever I’ve brought up these issues in TV studios, you can tell people are like, here we go again, or you just get a lot of push back. You get all these old-fashioned reasons like, young boys don’t like watching girls as much as girls like watching boys on screen.
‘When I was growing up I really liked comics. I loved them for the combination of their illustrations and stories but I couldn’t find anything that I connected to. There just weren’t any female characters and, if there were, they were highly sexualised.
‘It’s natural for kids to want to see themselves reflected back in stories. Young girls want to be able to see themselves as potential heroes – just like young boys do. All kids do. I think it’s important for boys to see girls as equals too.
‘I’d always wanted to write a book with a lead female character especially one that was an adventure story because there’s a lack of them. I’ve just published my first graphic novel called Opposite Land. It’s about a young girl called Steve who has the worst day ever in her entire life and she just really wants everything to be opposite and she accidentally gets that wish.
‘I hope both boys and girls who read this see a female character that they can relate to. I don’t think I make a point of the fact that she’s female – it doesn’t really make any difference to her character but I just think the fact that that exists in another book is great.’