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A year in review 2016: Janine Fuller’s toughest fight

The legendary activist has inspired generations of queer Vancouverites

Janine Fuller stands on the balcony of her West End apartment. Credit: Layla Cameron/Daily Xtra

The phone hasn’t been ringing at Janine Fuller’s house. The legendary anti-censorship activist, bookstore manager, playwright and community pillar has been battling the late stages of Huntington’s disease.

Fuller has survived fire bombings at two of the bookstores that she’s worked for, but she won’t survive this. Huntington’s is a debilitating, terminal illness. 

Fuller, who has known her status for 20 years, left her position at Little Sister’s in 2015 to take care of her health.

Earlier this year, Xtra writer Layla Cameron spent time with Fuller, who opened up about how friends have distanced themselves, not knowing how to treat someone who was dying.

Fuller saw the same phenomenon happen to her mother, and now it’s been happening to her.

And despite the assisted suicide legislation introduced by the government, people with Huntington’s aren’t covered, and Fuller had to endure her twin brother’s suicide last year. 

The honest way in which Fuller and her partner Julie Stines opened up about their struggles, resonated with Vancouverites, leading it be one of the most read pieces from Xtra this year.

Fuller’s story inspired compassion and will hopefully lead to people reaching out to the ones they love before they’re gone.