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I'll always remember Susan the way she looked when I first met her outside NBC studios in New York City one frosty cold Friday morning in March 1997. There were a bunch of Xena fans there dressed in costumes and/or waving Xena signs. When I arrived I was on the wrong side of the crowd and she came over and got me. "Hi, are you bjStranger? I'm Alaska." "Yes, hi! How'd you know it's me?" "Your sign says ROCanuck on it!" It was the New York Xenafest and showing up at The Today Show was all part of the festivities. After having read her witty online posts to `Xenaverse’ it was exciting to meet Susan in person. The sign she was carrying said, “NYC XENA FEST” and mine, “Gabrielle & Xena Forever.” She introduced me to Mist, Bonnie, Brooke and some other New Yorkers. Everyone had a ball that morning and we made it on TV for all of about ten seconds. Later that day Susan showed up at a party in the hotel room I was staying in. There were a bunch of women there from one of the online Xena mailing lists we belonged to. I got to know Susan a little bit better. She was sweet and unassuming. She was itching to finish med school and get out of NYC--to eventually start doctoring up in Alaska, the state that she’d fallen in love with. She told me a little about her life—leaving home when she was a teenager and putting herself through school. I marveled at her perseverance--that she was going to graduate as a doctor despite all. I told her about some of the trials and tribulations of my good friend Jane, a doctor who’s cared for the Innu population in a remote community in northern Labrador since 1986. Later that same year I saw Susan briefly in Valley Forge, PA at the 1997 Xena Convention. She told me summer in NYC had been a hot sweaty experience. We traded stories on how heat gets down into subway systems, whether in NYC or Toronto. We hoped to cross paths again at the next Xena Con. in San Francisco but never did. In fact we never met face to face again but in the years to come we kept running into one another on the same online mailing lists. Whatever the topic, Susan’s posts were always well written—at times serious, at times riotous and irreverent. Of the many things I admired about Susan, her courage and determination stand out the most. She had a heart of gold, a wry sense of humour and a spirit of adventure. After 9/11, and when the war in Iraq commenced she wrote many a passionate post about politics. After she adopted Shubert and the rest of her Boxer fur-kids I enjoyed reading about their adventures and escapades together. Like the time they met the moose on one of their walks, and the time the girls ran into trouble with the porcupine. I'm so sorry that Susan is gone now. I'll miss reading her email posts about being a doctor in Alaska and about life with her girls. She had a short life but that life was FULL to the brim. Rest in peace Susan. I'm really glad I met you. bjStranger
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