Negotiating the Family Gathering
About this comic
An infectious diseases doctor is being treated for cancer during the first wave of COVID. Though she takes every precaution to stay safe while immunocompromised, some of the people in her life are not as careful, and this leads to tension in her personal and professional relationships.
Maria Varmazis is an illustrator and comic book artist exploring science fiction and autobiographical narratives about resilience, alienation, and self-discovery. She has published several comic books, including Liminal State, her comic on grief and post-partum anxiety, which won a Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) grant in 2019. For over a year and a half, she documented her life with a young child during the COVID19 pandemic in a comic-style visual journal called Extraordinary Times, and received both a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant and MICE 2021 honorable mention for this work. She lives in Waltham, Massachusetts and has a B.A. in Journalism from UMass Amherst.
Jessica Ericson is a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Penn State Children’s Hospital. She studies ways to improve the diagnosis and treatment of invasive bacterial infections such as meningitis and sepsis in infants and children. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she developed infection control, testing and treatment protocols for children with COVID-19. She recently finished treatment for breast cancer. She is thankful for everyday that she gets to spend caring for patients, making healthcare a less scary place for children and their families and spending time with her own family – her husband and two wonderful children.