esther day celebrations

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(Illustration credit: bored-meetings)

Happy Esther Day, a holiday to celebrate love for family and friends! 

Tell a friend or family member that you love them: pick up the phone, make a YouTube video, leave them a voicemail, tell them over coffee. Tag posts about your #Esther Day to share them with the world.

Esther passed away from thyroid cancer in late August 2010, aged 16. The non-profit foundation This Star Won’t Go Out was established in her memory. You can find out more about Esther and donate to TSWGO here.

(Illustration credit: siriusly-though394)

Happy Esther Day, a holiday to celebrate love for family and friends!

Today, tell a friend or family member that you love them: pick up the phone, make a YouTube video, leave them a voicemail, tell them over coffee. Tag posts about your #Esther Day to share them with the world.

Esther passed away from thyroid cancer in late August 2010, aged 16. The non-profit foundation This Star Won’t Go Out was established in her memory. Find out more about Esther and donate to TSWGO here.

This image is not for Rita Skeeter’s benefit.

Rita Skeeter doesn’t get it. Love doesn’t have to be a tabloid headline. Love doesn’t even have to be romantic. 

In Harry Potter, platonic love saves the wizarding world. Mothers put their lives on the line. Teachers protect their students at all costs. Friends live and die for friends.

Harry loves Hermione. Hermione loves Harry. Their friendship is powerful. Their friendship is important. Their friendship is not scandalous.

It doesn’t have to be.

On Esther Day, we celebrate family, friendship, and love. Learn more and join us as we count down to August 3rd.

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I could never adequately put into words the emotions these two photos represent for me, but with the events of this past weekend, I feel the need to make some kind of post so here it goes.

The top photo was taken almost four years ago at my very first Harry Potter convention, which was Infinitus in July of 2010 in Orlando, Florida.  The Harry Potter Alliance had just won $250,000 from the Chase Community Giving Challenge with Esther.  The photo was taken at the end of the press conference where Chase Bank representatives came to present the HPA with the giant check.  Since Esther was not well enough to travel to Florida on such short noticed, she was skyped in and projected on a giant screen so she could share in the moment with all of us.  After all, it was through this campaign that she started to inspire people on a wider scale with her story and her love.  That day is such a bitter sweet memory for me.  I can still close my eyes and picture myself in that room surrounded by love and passion as Paul DeGeorge began serenading Esther with The Weapon, which then turned into the mosh pit of love pictured above.  It was in this moment that for the first time, I was starting to really see how big of a part of my life this fandom was going to become.  I was starting to understand that this community is more than just a bunch of people who love Harry Potter, it is a community of people just full of love, who will grow to become like a family to me.  But that day also holds another special place in my heart because it was also the last time I got to talk to Esther face to face (or rather screen to screen).  After the press conference was over, a line formed for people to talk to Esther.  I was in the front of the line, but just said a quick “hello” and “I love you” to her and let other people have their turn, since I knew I’d be able to talk to her on skype when I got home from the conference.  I didn’t know those would be the last words I spoke to her before she passed away about a month later.  I would frequently return to the moment in this photo when I was missing Esther and didn’t want to feel sad about her being gone, but wanted to be reminded of all the love and happiness she brought into other people’s lives.

The bottom photo, was taken just a few days ago at the book launch for Esther’s book.  As Paul and Joe invited us all on stage with them for their final song (The Weapon, of course), once again, I found myself sharing such a special moment of love with this fandom.  This time, however, I was able to share this moment with some of my best friends.  As the song opened with the words “We may have lost Sirius Black” no one was thinking of Sirius and the Harry Potter series, but of Esther and the love she has inspired in all of us.  Everyone started to put their arms around each other and just sway with the music.  Esther may not have been able to be there with us physically, but she was there in the hearts of her friends, family, and even strangers who had been touched by her story and her love. 

I love that in a way, singing The Weapon with Harry and the Potters and all of my friends on stage that night sort of brought me full circle.  In 2010 I still felt so new to the fandom, even though it has been over a year since I had discovered it, because it wasn’t until that moment that I stopped feeling like an outsider looking in and just let the love of the fandom take over me.  I knew then, this is where I belong, and this is where I want to stay.  I really really hope I can make LeakyCon work with my schedule this summer because it brings me physical pain to think that I will not be able to be there with my friends and share in this love yet again.  I have also yet to attend an Esther Day, and I think celebrating Esther Day at the close of LeakyCon is just the perfect way to end the Con.  It was loneliness that brought me into this fandom, but love that kept me here, and Esther’s love and the love of the rest of the Cats that played a huge part in that.  This community has taught me so much about myself and friendships, and that it is possible to be 1000% yourself in a friendship without having to hold back certain aspects for fear of coming off too strong or being judged.  I love that my friends understand me, and accept me, even when I’m major fangirling over something they don’t care about, because they know what it is like to be passionate and enthusiastically nerdy about things.

“There’s one thing that I’ve got
One thing that you’ve got inside you too
One thing that we’ve got
And the one thing we’ve got is enough to save us all
The weapon we have is love”
-Harry and the Potters