Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Editor-in-Chief Emerita, Pennsic Independent
As many long-time readers of the PI will know, not all battles at War take place on the battlefield. Eight years ago, at Pennsic XL, I wrote an article about Pennsic Independent Publisher Despotissa Hierusalem’s daughter Patty (or Fauna/Myra, in the SCA) and her fight with Stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer usually limited to young children. Patty lived for over eight years with this disease, confounding all expectations and predictions, but last week, her journey came to its end, and I wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to her.
Patty was born on February 23, 1999, and was twelve when she was diagnosed just past her birthday after complaining of pain for a number of months. The expansion of healthcare during the Obama administration literally helped save her life, making it possible for her to receive treatment without bankrupting her family. She received several surgeries to remove tumors, underwent numerous rounds of chemotherapy, and had her immune system “restarted” through ablative chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. Throughout this time she consistently beat the odds—after being told she would likely never walk again, she did just that, and she repeatedly survived each subsequent challenge the disease put in front of her.
Over the years the PI and its readers also supported her fight against this pernicious foe, both financially and through many kind words and deeds. In particular, the baronies of Brendoken and Rivenstar provided both fundraising and personal support for Patty and her family, and Auntie Arwen’s merchant booth helped coordinate efforts at Pennsic, as did a number of PI staffers past and present. The PI also sponsored a photographic scavenger hunt for young people so that Patty could see some of the Pennsic sights she never got to experience firsthand. For a few years Heirusalem was unable to attend Pennsic as Patty went through many rounds of treatment, including several experimental approaches. Heirusalem described her this way in the second year of her fight: “She is fearless...she just accepts each new thing and all that comes with it.”
Against all odds, the cancer was kept at bay through continuous treatment long enough for Patty to grow into a talented young woman, known for her artwork and her quirky sense of humour, and to graduate from high schoo. However, the cancer recently returned in a more aggressive form. After about three weeks in hospice Patty passed away the evening of September 3 at the age of 20 years.
Over the years, the Pennsic Independent always encouraged people to donate blood at the Pennsic Blood Drive in Patty’s honour, given the amount of lifesaving blood she received during her many surgeries. I can think of no better way to honour her memory, but do not wait for Pennsic—there is always a need for donations close to home, wherever you may live.
Our hearts are with Heirusalem and all who loved Patty or were touched by her fight over the years.
The service is next Sunday (the 15th of September) at 3:00 pm at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 610 Jackson St., Mulberry, IN 46508.
Artwork by Lady Muirne Ultach (Mary MacVoy), PI's longtime artists