Way back in 1999, I was part of a fandom forum for a mostly forgotten Sega Saturn game called NiGHTS into Dreams. I hadn't actually played the game back then - I have now that it's been remastered for Playstation 3 - but my friend brought me into this group and the community was so welcoming because most of them hadn't played the game either. It didn't have much of an actual story, but still it somehow managed to draw artists, writers and weirdoes to it like a magnet and part of that is thanks to the Big Name Fan of the time: Lynne Triplett.
Lynne was relentless in her love for NiGHTS, so much so that I firmly believe she deserves some credit for the sequel that came out for Nintendo Wii some 12 years after the first game. She worked for SEGA for awhile. She got Yuji Naka to sign fanart she'd made of the characters from the game. In many ways, she was the fandom.
More so, she was - and still is - a loving, caring person who didn't care if you were an awkward 15 year old because we're all in this together. She's the person who made me keep at this drawing thing. I had her art printed out and taped to my wall when I was in art school, and although I've been out of the fandom for close to a decade I still find myself drawing Nights from time to time. That explosive creativity that Lynne brought to the community has carried me well out of my teens and through my twenties and now into my thirties. Without her, I don't know if I would've had the guts to begin an art career, let alone continue when the goings got tough.
Lynne now makes the wildly imaginative webcomic Engelbaum about dreams and creativity. You should go read it. She's pretty awesome.