Friday, February 25, 2011

Annie's Story

I love the headline on this poster.
"Johnny Weir!" just kinda says it all.

The following was originally sent in as a comment on yesterday's blog. But it is so beautiful that I couldn't bear to leave it in the comments, where people may or may not find it. So I asked the author, the lovely Annie featured in one of yesterday's photos from the Clifton book signing, if she would be willing to be today's guest blogger. And all our lives are richer because she said yes.

Johnny announced yesterday that he is asking fans to donate just $1 each to Skate for Hope, the charity show this June for which he is one of the headliners. Skate for Hope is a premier figure-skating event benefiting breast cancer research and awareness. Johnny's goal is to raise $10,000--but if all his Facebook fans donate just $1 each, we could raise more than $50,000!

As Annie explains below, she has a different type of cancer. But, as she so graciously said to me, "Research for one cancer helps all cancers." So please read her story, and then please consider helping Johnny meet his goal by visiting his Skate for Hope donation page.

Johnny Live: The Experience of a Lifetime
by Ann Henriques, guest blogger

I am rarely able to see Johnny Weir perform live, even though I live only 30 miles north of New York City. I admit to giving in to the too-tired, too-nervous, crowds-scare-me issues. But that's mostly because I have cancer. Ovarian cancer. And it's incurable.

Here is why I think you MUST experience Johnny in a LIVE performance and / or meet-n-greet venue whenever and as often as possible.

We all know that figure skating is beautiful, and no one makes it more so than Johnny. My wife, Kathy, and I have seen Johnny perform live just once, at an Ice Theater of New York event. We saw "Heartbroken." Johnny makes figure skating fluid and dramatic. But I cannot tell you how blown away I was when I saw him do a JUMP LIVE. Yes, beautiful. Yes, skilled. But I literally felt an explosion of POWER in my chest when he took off and then landed a jump. Like a firework. BANG. I had to see him LIVE to feel this. The power that it takes him to propel himself into the air and land while rotating was incredible and can actually be felt. But the BANG is something you have to see LIVE to feel.

Johnny's world premier performance
of "Heartbroken," Ice Theatre of New York,
April 29, 2010.

Then there is actually meeting Johnny in person.

I'd missed Johnny's first New York City book signing because I had chemo that day. So Kathy made Clifton happen for me. And Tuesday this week I found myself face-to-face with Johnny Weir for the first time.

Johnny has an ethereal beauty. I saw it on TV in the first moments of his Fallen Angel free skate in Vancouver during the Olympics. And I saw it when we walked up to the table at Barnes and Noble in Clifton, NJ, and introduced ourselves. When you meet Johnny, he looks you straight in the eyes and never becomes distracted. I was so nervous, and Kathy later told me my voice was turning into a whisper. But even though Johnny could barely hear me, Kathy said he just leaned closer and closer so he could hear me. He makes your time with him all about YOU.

At some point in your few seconds with Johnny, he WILL smile that disarming, warm, kind, and fun smile. He did with us. WOW. Then I started telling Johnny about missing his New York City book signing, which included my personal chemo / cancer conversation. And I told him how he had inspired me over the last year and gotten me through so many difficult times. I looked at my Kathy for confirmation, and she had tears rolling down her cheeks. Then I looked back at Johnny, and there was such pain in his face that it broke my heart. I told him not to be sad. But it was as though he could feel what we were feeling, which so surprised me. Remember, we're in a line with SO many people waiting. But he stopped the world for us when we met.

I also met Tara, who is sweeter than sweet, happier than happy, and kinder than kind; and her boyfriend, Josh, who is a patient and lovely man.

And then Johnny stood up. I tried to tell him not to, knowing how busy he was, but he looked at me like, "Are you kidding me?" And he walked up to me and gave me a hug. And then he hugged Kathy. And then he asked the B&N folks to take our picture. And Kathy took out her iPhone and he put his arm around me.

So here's something else you will never experience if you don't meet Johnny in person and have that amazing moment of having your photo taken with him. You are putting your arm around an Olympic athlete who is one of the top athletes in the WORLD. And he FEELS like an Olympic athlete--strong like steel.

But his arm around you feels like an angel protecting you.

And suddenly Kathy and I became THOSE people whose iPhone camera was not working right. So I told Johnny not to worry and tried to walk away. NOT. He calmly said, "We are going to make this happen." And he stood there till we got it right. And he stood there till the B&N folks got a photo of Johnny, me, and my Kathy.

Johnny, Annie, and Kathy
at the Clifton, NJ, book signing.

Then he hugged us each again. The Olympic athlete. Who smelled so nice. Whose physique radiates power. As he hugged me and I tearfully thanked him (into his shoulder) over and over for all he's done for us, how grateful I was to him (and I heard myself say, "and your mom," who is an inspiration herself), I felt as though negative energies were flowing out of me and love was filling the space. It was a "healing" hug. Gentle AND powerful. From Johnny Weir. A man I'd never met before that night. He touched our hearts.

So I find myself also grateful to the Johnny Weir fan community for promoting love. It's everywhere I turn. It's healing for me.

Thank you, Binky (my sparkly fairy godmother-tress), for knowing how to live and teaching me what you learned. ♥♥

Thank you, Tara, for your exuberance and kind soul. You are a good daughter, Tara. Your mother must be so proud. ♥♥

Thank you, Josh, for caring for Tara and for patiently sharing her with Johnny's fans. And for being so nice to us when you meet us.♥♥

Thank you, Barnes and Noble, Clifton, NJ, for organizing such a lovely event that gave Kathy and me such a moving experience. ♥♥

Thank you to Johnny's fans who I missed in Clifton :( and all of you who send me virtual love DAILY: @DauphineDW, @JEKitten, @Moo58, BSonTwit ... Who will I see at SFH? ♥♥

Especially thank you, Johnny, the Olympic Athlete and Angel who is gentle AND powerful and gives the best healing hugs. You stand up for our equality and you help us fight cancer. Your amazing gift of love on Tuesday will stay with Kathy and me forever. You are our hero. ♥♥

OH, and if and when you can ... SEE JOHNNY LIVE. Your heart and soul will be better for it.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes ...
--1 Corinthians 13:7

Please join Annie and Kathy in seeing
Johnny LIVE at Skate for Hope
on Saturday, June 18, in Columbus, OH!
(Same weekend as the Annually Awesome
And yes, a VIP package is available!
Get ticket information
or make a donation today!

Johnny tweeted recently:
"Buy my single,'Dirty Love' via iTunes.
Tell all your friends to as well. The more copies sold
takes me one step closer to making a video! №1!"
You know what to do.
Please buy the song from Johnny's website,
or just click the "Buy" button on the player
at the top of the blog!

Hey, Welcome to My World also is available
as an eBook! More info on Johnny's website!

Yes! You can own a fine art print of Johnny
perfect for any/every room in the house!
Prints of artist Peter Jurik's "Showtime!"
are available for purchase from his website.
More info here!

copyright 2011 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved


Maggie St. said...

This is why I keep a box of tissues on my computer desk. Thank you for sharing your story Annie. ♥

I've been in line a few time waiting to see Johnny. Yes, he gives you all of his attention, never rushes you along; and I've never heard a single complaint from any of the waiting fans. We know how precious each moment with him is.

Seeing Johnny live, both on and off the ice, is a must for everyone. You'll never be the same afterward.

We're all out there, praying for you and enjoying reading about your "Johnny experience". Keep feeling those healing vibes Annie.

germansoulmate said...

That´s such a beautiful story you tell here, Annie, and I´m so happy for you (and your Kathy) to have had that time with the man you admire so much and, especially, to draw strength and courage from meeting, talking to and hugging him. God knows, you need it. I´m so happy for you.

Thank you, Binky, for providing the space for Annie to tell about her experience.
May many people find such a place and a person who gives so freely from his/her strength and joy of life, courage and support...and smile.

Vicky said...

Such a beautiful, moving story, thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...


This is such a beautiful story! I am so glad you got to meet him in person and experience this!! Your descriptions are totally on and its inspiring to read! Johnny is so amazing on tv but thats exactly it about the power, you can't feel the full powerful energy of his jumps unless you are watching live. Thank you for sharing this on Binky's blog. Sending you much love and hope! XOXO


aaaack said...

Thanks so very much, Annie, for sharing your beautiful story. Here's sending some love your way.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix And a lot less cancer, too. Right now am reading "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell about the links between diet and cancer. Highly recommended and, for me, life changing.

Annie said...

Binky, I have spent the entire day overwhelmed by love, support and sweetness all given by fans of Johnny's. I've always watched Johnny's FB from the sidelines and I've not been a very good Twitterer, but I am being lifted up by all the loving comments on FB, Twitter and here on your blog.

Somehow I felt those FOUR tweets from Johnny telling people to come to Clifton and your Sparkly Godmother-tress-ness were my message to "Get Thee to Clifton, Annie."

And now I'm being told to "March On" as Johnny signed in my book and everyone who loves him picked up the message and reinforced it.

All I know is that while my fight is getting harder, my heart is getting stronger because of all of you.

Thank you to everyone who is sharing their love with me. Maybe we can turn it into a "cure." ♥♥

Debora Walsh said...

Thank you Binky, for subletting your space to this absolutely lovely woman!

I am beyond joyful that she and Kathy were able to finally meet Johnny in person. Her descriptions and impressions of being face to face with him are as close as you can come without being there. His humor, patience and intelligence are very much in evidence throughout the encounters...I like to think it's his small town roots that keep a talent and personality such as his so grounded, but I can't say...Annie has captured him beautifully. are every bit as inspiring as Johnny. As you know, my father is a survivor, and my mother is still fighting, so I understand the monumental struggles and pain you and Kathy deal with on a daily basis. That you fight every day to find the good and positive in life, whether it is tweeting a happy thought to all of us or coming face to face with the extraordinary; is a testament to the power of the human spirit, and as healing as a Johnny-hug.

I can't wait to say hello to both you and Kathy in person someday...I can't believe we were feet from each other and didn't meet up!
Next time just throw something at me and jolt me out of my Weir-haze! ...and yes, Binky is a truly a sparkly fairy godmother-tress!

Deb Walsh (@DauphineDW)

PumaJ said...

"I saw him do a JUMP LIVE..Like a firework. BANG...I felt an explosion of POWER in my chest...has an ethereal beauty...he looks you straight in the eyes and never becomes distracted. He makes your time with him all about YOU...You are putting your arm around an Olympic athlete who is one of the top athletes in the WORLD. And he FEELS like an Olympic athlete--strong like steel...But his arm around you feels like an angel protecting you..."


Annie, thank you for allowing Binx to share your story with us, my heart has been touched deeply. I plan on being at the Skate for Hope show in Columbus. Hopefully, I will then have the opportunity to thank you in person:-) But, for right now, huge healing energy hugs for you and Kathy.

I've chosen to quote the words of yours that most match what I've experienced when I've watched Johnny, seen him live and spoken with him.Though, I'd been aware of him as a figure skater since early 2005, it wasn't until the Fall of 2009 that I really opened my mind and heart to the power of his creative genius. In particular, it was his skate of Fallen Angel that had the most transformative impact on me. Having the opportunity to see him live and speak with him a few times, since then, has served to reinforce that change within me in very profound ways. It hasn't been one particular thing that he has said or done,really. It is the Wholeness of himself that he brings to everything that is the key, I think.

Johnny triggered a transformative change within me, that as allowed me to be able to let go of and step out of the terrible health destroying behaviors that the grip of Binge Eating Disorder had been holding me a slave to for the past 5 or so years. I feel as though I have come home to myself after being away, or asleep during those years. To be feeling whole and truly alive again is fabulous and amazing. Slowly my physical self is changing to match the changes within.

I read your words, Annie, with tears streaming down my face in recognition of the powerful truth your words describe. Again, I thank you and again I thank you, Binx.

God's blessing upon you both, and upon Kathy.

One more thing, because of Johnny a wonderful and powerful community of people has come together via his FB page. Fellow Weirlandian Kittens I salute you, for in truth the love and support I've received from some of you have been integral to my own healing journey.

Annie, perhaps you can join us there:-)

julie98 said...

Wow. That was an intense read. Definitely tearful.
Thank you for sharing your story Annie. Wishing you love and support and so glad for you that you got to share a moment with the beautiful and heart-sharing Johnny.

WheresMyKoppy said...

Thank you MM for allowing Ann to be your guest blogger! Thank you Ann for writing such a wonderful and heartfelt accounting of your meeting with Johnny. I am sorry you are dealing with chemo and all of that; I watched a close friend deal with it and I know it's so difficult... I'm hoping things will get better for you!

Ann you met the real Johnny, the Johnny that so many fans have met and gotten to know. Those who criticize Johnny Weir and say certain things about him either have never met him, or if they have been fortunate enough to meet him they have not bothered to get to know him. They make assumptions based on what they think they know or chose to believe, and they miss out on getting to know the wonderful, caring, intelligent young man and Olympic athlete that you met. Pity. Sad for them, isn't it?

Once again, thanks MM! And thank you Ann for your beautiful words!

Kathy said...

Thank you MM for sharing my Annie’s “story” and for your friendship to her(us)…and thanks to all for the beautiful and supportive comments to my Annie. Your reading of Annie’s words has provided you but a glimpse of how amazing she is… she is my hero. ~Kathy