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Local cartoonist travels to Oregon to help friend with health care

leigh rubin and friend.JPG
Posted at 7:48 AM, Feb 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-25 10:48:03-05

A Central Coast cartoonist is helping his best friend of decades with his recovery in Oregon after a heart transplant.

Leigh Rubin of Nipomo and Steve Ulrich have been best friends since the 6th grade. In November, Steve experienced heart failure and received a heart transplant in December.

Leigh, who creates "Rubes," a single-panel comic that's been featured in countless publications across the country, did what any best friend would do -- drop everything and head up to Portland for a few months to help Steve with his recovery.

Leigh has worked remotely since and says his best work may have happened during Steve's doctor appointments.

"When Steve was in the hospital, all these whiteboards and all the glass surfaces, I pretty much covered all the rooms with goofy drawings that the nurses loved," Rubin explained.

"When I finally woke up, I couldn't talk, I couldn't get up and pretty much lost my memory on everything," Ulrich said. "It's a slow road to recovery."

But Steve says he's doing well and Leigh will remain in Oregon to help his friend until the beginning of March.

"I'm enjoying this," Rubin said. "It's great to be able to spend this much time with Steve and know that what I'm doing is helping him heal."