featurebanner_h1n1JESSE PARRINO 04-MAR-2014 Hello, This is Jesse Parrino again, this time I’m writing on a very somber topic. In the interest of full disclosure this is purely an opinion piece.  I was not at Katsucon this year nor do I know the affected parties beyond reputation.

katsuconCon Plague. If you’re any sort of con goer you know the term. People get sick at cons all the time. But because of the expense of them nobody ever wants to miss out on a con due to what they view as a minor illness. Sadly this attitude had a tragic outcome at this year’s Katsucon. Christine Larson, a well known and well liked staffer/organizer/jack of all trades for Katsucon has passed due to N1H1 that was contracted at Katsucon this year. She and her family had second full time jobs to help run fund the convention. It meant that much to them.

When I intially heard the news I was shocked. First that someone died from “con plague” and secondly that someone was sick enough to have the N1H1 and still decide to go to the con. I admit I understand the logic of not wanting to lose the money you spent on a con but is that worth the possibility of someone’s life? I think given the range of people who go to cons, some with comprised immune systems, this should be a wake up call.

What can be done to avert such a thing happening again? Perhaps conventions should start to look into the idea of refunding and/or offering badges for attendance next year’s convention if an attendee does not claim a badge. That’s a start. But I also think there needs to be more awareness on the part of the con goers as well. I don’t think we’ll ever find out who patient 0 was for this con. I also think that’s probably for the best. But I think what needs to come from this is that we as con goers have a responsibility to each other. Cons are for the most part tiny and cramped spaces. We’re on top of each other. If someone has a communicable illness we all have the potential to get that illness, Just because it’s minor to you doesn’t mean everyone else will react in the same way. We all need to think before we go out to con and to keep each other safe.

This Go Fund Me was created while Christine Lawson was still fighting for her life. Her surviving family still has to pay those medical bills. Every little bit helps. Thank you.

Go Fund Me Link: http://www.gofundme.com/779x2s

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3 Comments on Katsucon claims victim of H1N1

  1. While I agree with you on nearly all points about this complete tragedy, I don’t think last minute refunds or next-year transfers are a good idea. Given the bad weather this year, there would have have been a quite significant number of refunds. The attendance was already noticeably less than year when it was expected to grow. If they lost the funds by issuing mass refunds, how would they be able to pay for the con at its regular size next year? They are a non-profit with extremely tight pockets and no paid staffers and panels almost entirely by fans. They’ve already on the hook for the money that year to the hotel, guests, etc. Even if they allowed transferring to the next year, it would just delay the inevitable by a year.

    Unfortunately, bad weather happens. No sickness should be slighted in favor of attending a con. That falls on each individual’s responsibility.

  2. If a convention doesn’t offer a refund due to illness or poor weather. That convention is sending a message of money is more important then personal safety.

    The person who went to the con with the virus is probably not feeling any personal responsibility because they “would have wasted money” by not going. I know there were a great many people who were very upset at the con not offering a refund/transfer due to the weather.

    I personally think that offering it would have created enough good will towards the con that would set it apart and that would have just upped attendance in the future.

  3. I think a refund, or at least future year transfer, should be required if some one has a severe enough virus or medical illness keeping them from attending the convention or claiming their badge. Deactivating a badge number isn’t that difficult and such a procedure will help keep future con goers safer. I was at AAC a few years ago, and had to leave mid day when I got a rather quick onset of flu like symptoms and they didn’t hesitate to refund me for my day pass (I’d only spent like an hour on site). It keeps everyone safer and sick people away from everyone else. 🙁 It’s so tragic. I was hoping so much that this wasn’t true.

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