James F.

For Emily

January 12, 2022

When we met James FitzPatrick and his wife Karen in late 2021, they were still reeling from a series of events that changed the course of their lives. But through that uncertainty, one fact remained the same - they had a loving marriage of 30 years and two daughters, Caroline and Emily, who were providing support and care for their dad during his medical journey.

In James’s story, we talked about the unexpected trials he faced when first becoming ill a few years ago. James had a rare blood disorder called essential thrombocythemia, a condition that causes bone marrow to produce platelets beyond safe levels. His hematologist, a professional he trusted, confirmed that he was asymptomatic and didn’t proceed with treatment. That decision changed his life. 

James would experience numerous life-threatening medical events as an effect, resulting in major surgery and a global ischemic stroke that nearly killed him, limiting movement on his right side and completely eliminating it on his left. 

It was a long and difficult road, but with Karen and his girls by his side, eventually, James was well enough to be released into rehabilitation. 

“After my discharge, my wife and daughters cared for me at home with the help of some terrific home health nurses and therapists.”

Chive Charities and our family of donors funded a new bathroom for James and Karen to help accommodate his new equipment, and his daughters, Emily and Caroline, lived with their parents and helped with his daily care. Life was different, but it was good. 

When we heard about James and Karen’s daughters, we were immediately blown away by their care and compassion. For their dad, yes. But also for countless people they cared for during a time when frontline health workers were more exposed than ever before. Caroline is an operating room nurse and Emily worked as a pharmacist, both juggling demanding careers during a pandemic and still making time to put their family first. 

Right before the holidays, the girls even teamed up to surprise James and Karen with a 30th-anniversary party. A family coming together once again to be there for each other.

It seemed like the worst was behind them. But tragically, unthinkably, the worst would happen on December 30, 2021. 

Emily Grace FitzPatrick, James and Karen’s bright and compassionate daughter, died from injuries sustained in a car accident. She was just 27 years old. 

While our Chive Charities team never had the pleasure of meeting Emily in person, we saw the impact her life had on her family and those lucky enough to know and love her. Messages of support and care flooded in from communities near and far. 

“Emily was such a brilliant and beautiful young lady who will live in your hearts forever…”

“Emily was such a warm and caring girl…”

“Emily was an amazing, sweet, kindhearted woman…”

On and on, the messages expressed the same sentiment. Our hearts broke with James, Karen, and Caroline, and for everyone touched by her life. 

But in true Emily fashion, she continued to impact lives just as she always had. James and Karen elected to dedicate donations to Chive Charities in Emily’s honor. We were humbled by the act, but not at all surprised to see the immediate reaction from her friends and family. Donations began arriving in her honor within minutes, more than $2200 and counting. 

One, made by Emily’s grandmother, included a photo from her memorial alongside a beautiful and poignant poem.

The individual recipients who become part of the Chive Charities family often share their children, spouses, and other beloved family members with us. When we welcomed James FitzPatrick into our recipient family, we also welcomed Karen, Caroline, and Emily. Their family is now part of ours - their loss is now part of ours. 

Emily didn’t just leave an impression, she left a legacy. And now, those donations made in her honor will be designated to future recipients who are waiting for their own life-changing aid. Even in her absence, she continues to impact the lives of others. 

“Emily was such a brilliant and beautiful young lady who will live in your hearts forever…”

“Emily was such a warm and caring girl…”

“Emily was an amazing, sweet, kindhearted woman…”

She was. And she will continue to be. 

From the Chive Charities family, our deepest and most sincere condolences to James, Karen, Caroline, and all who knew and loved Emily. May her legacy live on forever. 

If you would like to make a donation to Chive Charities in memory of Emily, please click on this link and in the “Donation Dedication” box, type Emily FitzPatrick.