Our beautiful friend, Anita York (May 27, 1953 – Feb. 7, 2019), was honoured Feb. 17, 2019 in a private family ceremony. HepCBC, for whom she worked for many years as a key volunteer and as a Coordinator of Volunteers, is mourning the loss of this outspoken peer advocate, always ready to battle for anyone fighting hepatitis C, or to prevent even one more person from suffering from this debilitating disease. Anita was tireless, always in the trenches, and a great example of what a volunteer should be; in particular, we valued her great sense of humour and hearty laughter.
We first met Anita at a memorial for another strong Hep C peer advocate, Kelly O’Dell, in 2011. Anita and Kelly had partnered to organize World Hepatitis Day Vancouver events in 2009 and 2010. When she joined forces with HepCBC, Anita helped organize several more large, public Vancouver World Hepatitis Day (WHD) events as well. We referred to her and the other women on the WHD Committee as “The Hepatits,” in grudging acknowledgement of how the disease is so frequently mis-spelled. Over the next few years, Anita made wonderful signs to encourage the HepCBC Liver Warriors team and other participants at the Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon, even though she was unable to do such strenuous activity herself (Run like you Stole Something! Run, Awesome Stranger! The End is Near…). Anita was a real trouper, and though she felt unwell most of the time, she never complained, even when it was obvious she must have been in pain.
You can see Anita in the movie Deal With It at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9TZo3hFaYk.
Anita inspired countless people over the years with her enthusiasm, humour, and persistence, always willing to share her personal battles in the hope of helping others. She was the one who kept the Lower Mainland pamphlet holders full of HepCBC pamphlets, and was always ready to give a rousing World Hepatitis Day speech, straight from the heart. Are there any more Anita’s out there? If so, HepCBC would love to hear from you.
Anita graduated from Kitsilano High School and has a partner, Eero Taivainen, who brought her much joy particularly in her last months of life, and a beloved son, Sean York, of whom she was very proud, particularly as she raised him as a single mom.
So please Rest in Peace, you will be greatly missed, Anita – from your friends and colleagues at HepCBC.
Anita at Vancouver Pride
Anita at the Victoria Marathon