Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Angel Has Fallen: HepCnet's Sad Loss

I would like to pay homage to a woman whom I admired from a far.
On December 7th 2010 the HCV community lost an extraordinary woman who was the co-founder of the Hepatitis C website HepCnet .

Her name was Vivien but went by Lyric online, her brave story can be found on HepCnet's website.
The website has always had a very unique way of communicating via a heppo? Here is a little of what I mean written by Lyric and her partner; the founders of HepCnet
(Jerry aka aBigSAM and -Viv- aka Lyric )
"In some of our pages you will notice various hippopotamus figures. We call them "heppos", an idea one of our founders had when he resented the word "hepper" for someone infected with Hep C. It was noted that the word "hepper" was uncomfortably close to the word "leper", which indicates a disease that is so highly contagious and feared that people were shunned and banished to islands. What started as a fun joke, and a varied signature avatar, has now increased in scope. We envision people in heppo costumes carrying our message to schools and children. Cuddly stuffed heppos could be sold to promote awareness in a positive way and to raise funds for research. We imagine a massive Hep-C awareness campaign where heppos become a mascot. We imagine McDonalds and other such organizations including heppos in their fun meals along with informative leaflets on how children can avoid ever becoming infected.
We have all sorts of wild ideas on promoting Hep C awareness, but we, like many, have no personal wealth with which to implement them. We hope this site, and our future efforts bear fruit in this regard."
The members of her forum are a very close humble group of people who share many things in common including this sometimes tragic disease called Hepatitis C.

A dear man and member has written a touching memorial to Vivien and placed it on her forum. If I may leave a quote from the lovely tribute ;
"With Jerry as your partner you conceived of and created a HAPPY place that those of us who are sick with a much despised disease, Hepatitis-C and its MANY companion illnesses can visit, meet others with the same afflictions and actually feel good about ourselves."
Vivien was one of the early HCV advocates who helped thousands of people find their way after being diagnosed; while making an enormous difference in their lives.

What I personally remember were the emails I received from her years ago. I was working on a website and asked for her advice, she gracefully sent numerous emails offering help. I went on to do other things in the HCV community but admired her work from the very beginning.

The people who spend countless hours giving support online are often never given the recognition they so deserve. However, the majority of them wouldn't have it any other way.

Lyric was not only loved, she was also admired. She will be remembered fondly by the many people she supported and gently cared for over the years.

I respectfully send my heartfelt condolences to her family.

Thank you Vivien (Lyric) for giving so much of yourself for so long.

Tina AKA (Myer)

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