Photos of the yard signs started showing up on Facebook, CNN and news sites, attracting legions of fans.

Share story

PLAINS, Ga. — First came the editorial cartoon. Next came the yard signs inspired by the cartoon.

And then, a day after they appeared all over Plains, the “JIMMY CARTER FOR CANCER SURVIVOR” signs are in demand nationwide and will be sold, with the proceeds given to worthy causes.

“There’s been overwhelming worldwide interest and support expressed in this,” said Jill Stuckey, a friend of the Carters. “What it’s a response to is not only the fact that President Carter has cancer, but also someone’s mother has cancer, or their sister or brother. This is inspiration on a large scale.”

It was just over a week ago that the Carter Center disclosed the former president’s cancer diagnosis. Mike Luckovich, editorial cartoonist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was saddened and inspired by the news, and quickly sketched out a cartoon depicting a couple pounding in a lawn sign of the sort favored by people running for office. On this sign, though, it read, “Jimmy Carter for Cancer Survivor.”

In Plains, the nonprofit Friends of The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site hatched the idea of making 500 signs based on the cartoon’s slogan and placing them around town. They wanted them up by the time Carter arrived home after a radiation treatment in Atlanta. When the Carters’ motorcade arrived late Thursday, the signs were visible everywhere and cheered their intended target so much that he later phoned Stuckey to tell her so.

By then, photos of the yard signs had started showing up on Facebook, CNN and news sites. Soon, calls and emails were coming in from Canada, California, Italy and Idaho. Many people were big fans of Carter or the frankness and humility with which he was confronting his illness. Others had experience with cancer; all the contacts posed a version of the same question: How can I get one of the signs? Or, in one case, 100 of them.

That prompted Stuckey to ask Carter on Friday: Would he be OK with them selling the signs, if the money went to a good cause? He agreed and proceeds are earmarked for the “Friends” organization and a cancer organization to be determined.

Plans call for the signs to sell for $25. As of Friday afternoon, about 50 of the original signs were available. In the meantime, more signs will be available in about a week.