Monday, March 19, 2012

For Annie, With Love

Johnny with dear, lovely Ann Henriques 
at the Welcome to My World book signing in Clifton, NJ, 
on February 22, 2011. After she met him that night, 
Annie sent me an email and pictures, including this photo, 
to share her amazing experience with me.
The subject line read simply, "OMG....!"



A beautiful tweet from Johnny, 
posted early Monday morning.



UPDATE: Since this post first appeared yesterday, many fans have asked about doing a group donation in Annie's memory to a charity that was meaningful to her. According to her obituary in today's Journal News:

Donations may be made to: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Directed to Program: Ovarian Cancer - Research of Carol Aghajanian, MD, P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087-7106, or Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20036.

If you would like to participate in the group donation, please send your contribution via PayPal to misfitmimes@gmail.com. Any gift is appreciated; there is no minimum amount to be included. The deadline for donations is Monday, March 26, 5 pm CDT. Half the amount raised will go to Memorial Sloan Kettering, and the other half to HRC. The checks will be sent next week, and a card also will be sent to Annie's wife, Kathy O'Connell, with the names of all who contributed.

In addition, a bouquet has been sent to Annie's service, scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 21. A striking arrangement of blue/teal orchids was chosen because teal is the color of the ovarian-cancer ribbon. The card reads:

In memory of Annie, 
with love from all your fellow Johnny Weir fans. 
You touched our hearts 
with your courage, grace, and humor, 
and made something beautiful for all of us. 
We love you.

The cost of the flowers has already been covered, so all donations will go to the designated charities. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at misfitmimes@gmail.com

Thank you to all who have already responded so generously and with such an outpouring of love for Annie and Kathy.


Kathy O'Connell and Annie Henriques. 
Photo shared by Annie 
early in our correspondence.



My dear friend and fellow Johnny fan, Ann Henriques, has passed away. She fought long, hard, and bravely against ovarian cancer for years, and underwent a rarely used treatment to help give hope to other cancer sufferers. She and her equally lovely wife, Kathy O'Connell, were partners for more than 25 years, and were married in Massachusetts in 2008.

"Can you believe that Kathy and I have been together as long as Johnny has been alive? Funny," she once wrote to me.

Annie and I first started corresponding in 2010, when she happened upon the blog and found herself alternately laughing out loud and moved to tears, much to my grateful astonishment. She and Kathy saw Johnny perform live at Ice Theatre of New York in April 2010, when he premiered his "Heartbroken" program. For his 26th birthday in July that year, they made multiple donations to various charities, and presented them to him via the scrapbook page that they created for the Johnny's Angels' annual birthday scrapbook:


Please click twice for full-size view.



In January 2011, she had so hoped to meet Johnny at the NYC book signing, the kickoff event for his Welcome to My World book tour. Sadly, she was simply not well enough to attend. But then she received a happy surprise, and emailed to tell me about it that night:

I had been so thrilled when I heard Johnny's book signing would be on 1/11 because I knew I had chemo in NYC today and hoped I would be strong enough to get to the signing. But I wasn't ... Oh well.

Then, I got an IM from a dear friend who told me to check my email. It seems her teenage daughter went to the book signing FOR me ... [and] she told Johnny why I wasn't able to be there. Not only did he sign the book with a note to me, he told her, "Tell Annie we really missed her here today."

How beautiful is this incredible TEENAGER and this incredible MAN (who is barely beyond a teenager) that they both made a 54-year-old woman going through the most difficult time of her life easier? How do they know how to do it and then actually make it happen?

It's got to be love.


Annie's autographed book.



She finally did get to meet him about six weeks later, at the Clifton book signing. Her recounting of that night was so wonderful that I asked her if she would please let me publish it as a guest post, and she graciously agreed.

Here's part of what she wrote:

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.

She had hoped to see Johnny perform live once more at Skate for Hope last year, but by the time June came, she was again struggling with her health, and it was not possible for her to go. We continued to stay in touch, as always, and she was a beacon of light and laughter to me in all our correspondence.

In December 2011 she wrote to let me know that she had entered hospice care, and while she and Kathy still maintained hope, they were also realistic about what might lie ahead.

And now she's gone. 

And I am so very, very sad to say goodbye.

And everything I think of writing just seems painfully inadequate.

So instead, I'll let Annie speak, from one of our many emails back and forth to each other:

I want you to know what a positive impact Johnny has had on my life, so that if something were to happen to me, you could tell him how much joy he brought me (and Kathy) when it mattered. I know he doesn't consider himself an activist, but his supportive efforts of so many organizations has made a difference in our lives when it mattered most.

And if something were to happen to me, life should be celebrated with joy. Happy. Beauty. No sadness.  That goes for you, too. ... I am following Johnny's lead and hope to leave a legacy of love and FUN! Maybe with a splash of champagne. :)

Dearest Annie, you will be desperately missed. You touched many, many hearts with your humor, your honesty, your courage, your example. You and Kathy were amazing together. Your commitment to one another through so many years and so many challenges is exactly what this life is all about.

Yes. This:

It's got to be love.



In honor of Annie, 
please take a moment to read her blog post 
from February 2011. 
She and Kathy also are featured 
in a photo in this post.



Just announced!! Johnny will be a special guest 
at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards 
in NYC next Saturday, March 24! 
More info on his website!



Get tix now!! Johnny is an Honorary Chairperson 
for the Imperial Court of New York's biggest annual fundraiser, 
This year's beneficiaries are PFLAG-NYC and 
New Alternatives, a group that helps homeless LGBT youth. 
Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 31, 
and get your tickets!
Special thanks to ICNY's Gary Cosgrove 
for this amazing poster! 



Why yes he is!! 
Landing quads and kicking ass!
Read his comeback statement 
on his website!



It's not too late! Subscribe now 
and get the entire Johnny Weir perspective, 
including his never-before-heard free skate commentary 
available exclusively on icenetwork.com!



Q and A! Go read it now!




Johnny's Glitter and Ice collection 
with MAC is pretty much sold out, 
but I'm leaving this video on here 
for a little while longer 
because I love it so much. 



Yes! Johnny's dresses are now available
for purchase only on eDressMe.com!



At last: Pop Star On Ice is now available on DVD!
Order yours today from the Pop Star On Ice website!



Johnny tweeted:
"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!"

IN THE SAME WAY THAT IT NEEDS AIR.
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!


copyright 2012 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved

8 comments:

germansoulmate said...

I´m sitting here crying. Thank you for this post. I knew you would do that and honor Annie as she deserves to be honored. Thank you for that.

Annie...may you rest in peace and be happy and without pain where ever you are. You will be remembered dearly. In honor of you, I will light a candle today in memory.


To Kathie, I send my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family. May you be strong in the hard time to come.

Nancy Knisley said...

I was so sorry to read of Annie's death.

Although I never met Annie, like so many of Johnny's fans, she seemed like someone with a beautiful spirit.

I remember reading of her meeting Johnny and how happy I was for her that she finally was well enough to meet him.

I send my deepest sympathies to her wife Kathy.

f2579600-71bb-11e1-99ac-000bcdcb2996 said...

I too never had the opportunity to meet Annie in person, and we spoke very little, but the very little we spoke meant more to me than I can possibly express.

She took one of my ornaments, and while I was not expecting, suggesting or asking for it, she made sure that I was recognized. Just that small gesture had such an impact.

She was indeed a wonderful person, and my heart is sorrowful for her family and her wife, Kathy. May God give you comfort in this hard time.

Jen Warfield said...

What a wonderful tribute, MM! I met her only once but was touched by her courage and her zest for life. What a great lady...

My thoughts go out to Kathy...

Debora Walsh said...

Thank you MM for this lovely tribute to a great lady. In our correspondence I found her to be a sweet, caring person with a great sense of humor. Moreover, she was a fighter.
Anyone who has been in the proximity of cancer knows what an insidious disease it is, where the pain of the affliction is matched only by the debilitation of the treatment. But she was always positive in her messages, and always looking forward to another day. She never failed to ask about my own mom's health, which I was always grateful for.
And so...even though she wanted no sadness when she left, I can't help but shed tears, for someone who suffered so much, but always worked to help to make life better for others.
Rest in peace, dear Annie. Thank you for the laughs and for the friendship. It was my pleasure to meet you, even if only through a keyboard.
Kathy, you and your family have my heartfelt sympathy. I know your memories of your life together will keep you strong. The love goes on.

aaaack said...

Annie was such a sweetheart. It is for the sake of folks like her that I hope against hope that a suitable afterlife exists.

Her words and spirit touched me many moons ago, and her birthday card does also now.

Thanks for sharing and letting us know what a wonderful person she is/was. Mourning her passage but celebrating her soul.

Princess Johnny-Love ♥ said...

I never had the chance to meet Annie, but I do feel that I know her a little bit from reading your blog.

How lovely for her to be honored here, in such loving words.

Hugs,

Robin

M Lockhart said...

This was very touching and brought tears to my eyes. A lovely tribute to Annie. May she rest in peace and my sincerest condolences to Kathy.