By Julie Bartel: MaryAnn Harris, wife and creative partner of legendary author and musician Charles de Lint (and an artist and musician in her own right) fell ill on September 6, 2021. After many months of suffering from brain stem encephalitis, MaryAnn was diagnosed with Powassan virus, an extremely rare tick-borne illness. MaryAnn spent 8 months in ICU before being transferred to a complex care facility, where she is still recovering. She is still dependent on a ventilator to breathe, and fully paralyzed except for a toe.
In order to make a full recovery and go home (which her doctor believes is possible), MaryAnn needs significantly more therapy than the Canadian healthcare system can provide. In addition, due to the severity and long term nature of her condition, Charles and MaryAnn will start being assessed a co-pay for MaryAnn’s room and board that could be as high as C$4000 per month, an impossible figure at this time. As a result, fundraising efforts are now underway to help Charles and MaryAnn raise the funds needed to move forward.
Having mustered through almost a full year under the most difficult circumstances, Charles has agreed that additional fundraising is the best way to ensure that MaryAnn gets the therapy she needs to make a full recovery. Last week he launched a long-awaited and much anticipated Patreon which has been incredibly successful and has already given him the breathing room to schedule additional physical therapy sessions.
Charles and MaryAnn also gave their blessing to a GoFundMe campaign which has been started on their behalf. The goal of that campaign is to raise the funds necessary for the additional intensive rehabilitation therapy along with the monthly copayment they are expecting from the hospital. In addition, when MaryAnn recovers enough to go home, she will likely need mobility aids, potential renovations to their home to make it more accessible, ongoing rehabilitation therapy and possibly private home care to help her with activities of daily living.
An online auction is also in the works for later this fall. Organizers will be reaching out to members of the science fiction and fantasy community for donations shortly, and hope to create a marketplace of items and experiences for bidding on shortly before the holidays.
To follow MaryAnn’s recovery, a Facebook Page – “The Newford Star” – has been created; updates and announcements will be posted there regularly.
The August 19 Facebook post shared this news:
A fairly recent development has been her ability to use voice commands to make phone calls in the late afternoon and evening, which has been a delight. She called me yesterday and asked that I pass on to everyone here her overwhelming gratitude for the outpouring of support and well wishes. She feels them, she said, and they mean the world. Thank you.
Updates will also be posted on the Go Fund Me page. Contributions or Patreon subscriptions are gratefully accepted, but we also encourage the community to buy a book, download a tune, or leave a review. And, as MaryAnn says, “If you’ve been adversely affected by COVID, or anything else for that matter, please just send your best wishes, which we will treasure with all of our hearts.”
Please, contribute what you can here. Check out Charles’ long-awaited and much-requested Patreon. Buy a book, download a tune, leave a review. Share their story, raise awareness, reach out to your own communities.