One of our own is searching. May 1, 2006, aka “May Day”, was a day of change around Sailing Anarchy. On that day, a new Anarchist introduced herself to us with her thread “LOOKING FOR DAVID FROM MISSISSIPPI WHO SIGNED MY ASS AT THE NATIONALS”. The thread was remarkable on a number of different levels, some of which were apparent quite quickly, and some which would take some time to reveal themselves. Reveal themselves they have indeed and now she is searching for a cure for Cancer, and we can help her find it. Read on….
The “Nationals” in question was the 2006 J24 Nationals, held in Houston and sponsored by none other than Sailing Anarchy. The combination of J24 sailors and Sailing Anarchists would seem to be a volatile mix, and the stories (and pictures) from Houston certainly confirmed that suspicion, but the longest lasting product of that coupling for SAers world-wide is the Anarchist who started that thread, a young female J24 sailor (then) from Corpus Christi, TX named Catherine Connolly, aka “mainsheetgirl”. Almost immediately, it was apparent that this new Anarchist would be different, if only because she responded to the traditional SA welcome for newbies by essentially saying “Ok, here you go.”
Since that day when she joined us here on SA, “mainsheetgirl” has been a constant, and one of the most beloved Anarchists ever, even as her “search” evolved.
One would be hard pressed to find anyone on SA other than Mr. and Mrs. Clean, who have traveled more to meet more members of SA than Catherine. When not traveling from Corpus Christi to Houston, Corpus to Ft. Lauderdale, or upstate New York to Annapolis to go sailing with Anarchists, Catherine can often be found on Skype, talking with friends she made in Australia, Indonesia, and other points around the world. Catherine embodies the SA spirit, and is perhaps the only Anarchist on the entire site who is friendly with DoRag.
What began as a search for David has evolved over the years. Catherine’s journey has taken her from her hometown of Voorheesville, NY, just outside of Albany, and college at SUNY, to the Outer Banks of NC, Corpus Christie, TX, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and back to Voorheesville, all the while sailing in all or most of those places. Things were going well for Catherine in Voorheesville, with family near her apartment and a job working in a doctor’s office. She was making her way, earning enough vacation time to travel to Annapolis for the Down the Bay Race this past Spring.
The end of the Summer brought an end to Catherine’s pleasant situation.
On the morning of September 3, after a painful and sleepless night, Catherine went to the Emergency Room at St. Peter’s hospital in Albany, the hospital where she was born. Before long, she received the news that each of us dreads: she had Stage IV Cancer. A tumor that formed in her colon had spread, and her liver was 90% covered with lesions. The pain that led her to the ER was the first manifestation of any problem. Within a few days, doctors removed a 4.5 cm tumor from her colon and biopsied a lesion from her liver. Recovered sufficiently from her surgery, Catherine recently began Chemotherapy.
As you might imagine, that confluence of events made it impossible for Catherine to continue her job in the doctor’s office. On top of that, in a rather cruel twist of irony, the job in the doctor’s office did not provide health coverage. Yes, Catherine is one of 50.7 million Americans without health insurance. This leaves her with no income, and mounting medical bills that belie description on top of her regular living expenses.
Catherine is too proud to come to the SA community with hat in hand to ask for help, but we are not. Our little baby sister needs our help and we need to step up to do what we can to help her.Fundraising efforts have already begun and will be continuing in the coming days.
In the meantime, Catherine has started a blog, to document her journey through this incredibly difficult time. Please visit the site and read her story in her own words. She has a PayPal link on the site. Please give until it hurts, and know that your pain will not be as bad as hers. There are so many ways in which we are powerless to help her in this terrible fight, and so few in which we can indeed help. This is one of those ways. Please do so. – Sol Rosenberg.