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Emmy Cherry - Brightspirit
Brightspirit is a very special Warrior Cats character, who was actually created in memory of Emmy Cherry (above).
Emmy Cherry and her parents Jimmy and Dana Cherry died on the 5th of Feburary 2008 when a tornado hit Central Arkansas. Emmy's cat Shasta survived the tornado, but lost the use of one leg, Shasta was later adopted by Emmy's best friend Harley.
Emmy was a huge fan of Warrior Cats, she read every book and even wrote all about her love of 'Erin Hunter' in a school project called 'My Favorite Author'.
Lynn Wiman, the owner of her local bookstore commented:
"Erin Hunter has no greater fan than Emmy Cherry. She has not only read every book, but insisted that we all read them. I am 50 years old, and reading them. Her grandparents are reading them. Her aunts are reading them. Every child in the Middle School is going to read them. Because they are Emmy's favorite authors."
Because of Emmy's love of reading, she and her parents were well known customers in Vintage Books in Russellville. The store owners Stephen and Lynn Wiman were deeply saddened by the incident and decided they wanted to do something special in honor Emmy and her parents. They decided to try and get a copy of a Warrior Cats book signed by all of the authors to donate to Emmy's old school. However at the time, no such book existed, any book signings done were by the individual authors and only under their pen name 'Erin Hunter'. Lynn contacted the series publishers HarperCollins and told them Emmy's story, who then passed the story onto the authors.
Lynn later commented after receiving a reply:
The authors were touched and wrote they were all going to sign a book and send it, along with an entire set of the books to the school. This is the first time all three of them will be signing one book together,
The authors and the webmaster of the popular children's website wandsandworlds.com Sheila Ruth posted a tribute on their Warrior Cats forum. Many people wrote in responses to pay tribute to Emmy and her parents and it was suggested that they should all receive their own Warrior names. The names chosen were Brightspirit for Emmy, Shiningheart for Dana, and Braveheart for Jimmy.
After seeing the tribute and the names, the authors decided to use the names in the upcoming book at the time 'Long Shadows' (Book five of the New Prophecy series, released in November 2008).
Brightspirit Relief Fund-This charity has now closed-
A charity was also set up in Emmy's name called the 'Brightspirit Relief Fund'.
The charity was set up by Emmy's Grandmothers, Kay Cherry and Elaine Kizer and was used to raise money for charities close to Emmy's heart such as animal and literacy organizations.
The authors wanted to help raise money for the charity so they decided to auction off several items. These included an autographed Warrior Cats set of books, a telephone call with the main author, editer and plot developer Victoria Holmes, lunch with Victoria Holmes, the pen that the authors used to sign books on tour, personal copies of the authors books with their notes written in their own handwriting, Warrior Cats earrings, signed pictures of the authors' cats who were the inspiration for many of the characters and autographed copies of other books written by the authors, as well as other famous authors.
Warriors Day was a special event that took place on the 10th of September 2008. It was set up in honor of the three Warriors Brightspirit, Shiningheart and Braveheart and to raise money for the 'Brightspirit Relief Fund'.
The day had many events including a book signing at Vintage Books, art contests judged by Victoria Holmes, writing contests, pet shows, and a baking contest, as well as several other events, fun and games.
Brightspirit, Shiningheart and Braveheart in the booksThe three warriors first appeared in 'Long Shadows', where they appeared to Jaypaw in StarClan in his dream. They were welcomed by Bluestar of StarClan who said it was an honor for them to visit. Brightspirit told Jaypaw to 'seek for the wind' which meant for him to look in WindClan for the much needed catmint ThunderClan needed at the time. Jaypaw later mentioned that Brightspirit, Shiningspirit and Braveheart were unlike any other StarClan cat he had seen and they smelled like the Clan, but that there was a different scent there as well that smelled like something carried by wind and starlight.
Brightspirit later appeared to Jayfeather when he became a full Medicine Cat. Jayfeather thanked her for telling him about the catmint, and she said that she was glad to help. She also said that she had once thought to set her paws on the way of a Medicine Cat, but then said that it was not the path StarClan had laid down for her. She went on to say she will do all she can to help those in need, belonging to Clan or Tribe. Jayfeather asked her if he would see her again. She answered that that is in the paws of the stars.
Brightspirit also appeared in the play 'Brightspirit's Mercy' (View the play here), along with Shiningheart and Braveheart. She told Jaypaw that he must share some of ThunderClan's prey with the other Clans to help them survive. Brightspirit tells Jaypaw to listen to his heart and show mercy to the other Clans. Later, Braveheart told Brightspirit that Jaypaw has a difficult path ahead of him, she replied that she will be with him every step of the way.
Brightspirit and her parents are very mysterious, it is clear they are no ordinary StarClan cats, and it seems that Brightspirit plans to help Jayfeather for a long time to come, so we will have to wait and see what secrets lie behind these special Warriors.
One thing is for sure and that is that although Emmy Cherry and her parents may no longer be with us, their memory lives on in Brightspirit, Shiningspirit and Braveheart in the pages of the Warrior Cats series.
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