If you hit that link and are confused by the picture of Jessica Rabbit at the top of the page, I wouldn't blame you. It's because Patty Ann used a pic of that cartoon character as her avatar online. I have no idea what she looked like, though I've been told she actually was a beautiful redhead.
I actually had kind of an ongoing "bit" with PA, where I would ask her "Patty Ann, why don't we ever talk?" She would give various replies, but it usually either boiled down to the fact that I was creepy or that I was too shy to actually talk to someone as sexy as she was. She was a good sport, and I know that at least a few people found our back-and-forth funny, myself included.
Something happened a while back where a member of our online community suffered a family tragedy, and she took it upon herself to organize donations for his family and the charitable organization that they subsequently set up. Her spirit really shone through during that trying time.
Patty Ann had been suffering through some health problems for a while, and she'd been hospitalized for a few weeks. Before passing away, she had to have one of her legs amputated, and she had to have another serious medical procedure involving her arteries. Thankfully, she had angels like Cathy and her family there with her throughout the ordeal.
We know people in different ways these days. I've interacted with a lot of people who I think of as friends, but I've never met them in "meatspace." There have been a few where that's overlapped. Would it have been better if I'd been able to give her a hug just once? Of course! But I'd still like to think that we were friends.
This comment from The Hostages is spot on:
Comment by Hotspur on June 7, 2011 10:04 am
You know how we joke about fake internet friends?
This does not feel fake.
Hopefully, if I'm good enough, we'll finally get a chance to talk someday.
Update: If you're so inclined, you can donate at a link here.