Life of Relay

The coffee finally waking me up from my first real life Relay, as a member of the Team Committee and was going to say my most moving Relay, but that’s not entirely true. Nothing as moving as one’s first Relay, especially if that Relay in a place, like Second Life.

We’ve joked and had serious talks about what makes RFLofSL so unique. The perfect weather, no bugs and mosquitoes, private kitchen and rest room steps away from the keyboard, with the “walk and talks” and never miss a beat, all the tools we have at our disposal, thanks to the like of the tech division and communications within Second Life groups IMs and notices, and just the endless creativeness of the grid, there are no real limits. As a newbie, pretty hard to have a more moving experience than a Relay For Life of Second Life, Relay.

But last night’s real life Relay For Life in a place called Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, I had my second most moving Relay.

Started by arriving 4 hours early to help set up, get everyone registered with the event kits and t-shirts, distributed to all the captains. With just over 70 teams to process with finalizing all their teams roster, funds raised, score cards tallies and goodies distributed, is one labor intensive process the virtual side doesn’t have. But it was amazing to meet all the captains face to face, after all the correspondence we’ve had.

Opening ceremony and survivors laps were delicious with everything I’ve come to know. I was struck by the fact our Relay was large enough, to field a full track of survivors and caregivers. I was a beautiful celebration in yellow. I kick myself for forgetting to take pictures, as I was too busy cheering and applauding all the survivors as they took the first lap. I was really was caught up in the moment.

Several busy hours later we arrive at the Luminaria Ceremony time, which for all of us, the roughest. We gather at the stage and are presented with a 40 person choir. They were amazing, wish I could share what they sang. They move off stage revealing the Empty Table Ceremony. This gets me excited, as I presented this ceremony to the committee during the planning stage; and they loved it. I gathered crowd loved it too, judging by their silence afterwards. After a thoughtful silence, the word is given to begin lighting the luminaries and the start of my longest hour.

Here is also a marked difference from the virtual of that in the virtual Relay, you know where you placed every single luminaria. I real life, with advanced luminaria sales, these were placed alphabetically around the track, intermixed with those of the team campsite. With my 19 advanced placed luminaries, I knew I had a lot of wandering to do. The first one I find, is in honor of my dad, I lose it. After a bit, I gather myself up and continue my quest, with a vague remembrance of all the people on my list. The lighting process begins with 15 minutes to give everyone a chance to find and light theirs; afterwards everyone fans out to light the remaining. I managed to get to about half of mine and a good number of the dearest ones, on both online and real side on my life, before the torch was past, to lit them all. I remember feeling sadden I could not get to all of them and rejoiced someone was caringly tending to them. VR never had that.

Over the next long while, well beyond the remaining of the Luminaria hour, I so slowly walk along that inside edge of the track, going around and around the track, from a to z, a to z, a to z, luminaria bags so numerous, they are right next to each other, in an endless procession. They are all there. Mothers, fathers, wife, husband, sons, daughter, uncles, aunts and grandparents, colleagues, lifelong friends and those that touch our lives, but for a brief moment; and never leave.

Sigh of relief, I find all of mine carefully tended to, but not surprised, I haven’t seen an unlit one in quite some time. After about the third or fourth lap on the inside track, I realized I was one of a group of people, circling the track, doing the Luminaria shuffle. Silently advancing, bit by bit, reading and reading, the outpouring of love, all mindful of each other, while the walkers are pacing their laps further out. After a bit, I find myself on that divide between the Luminaria shuffle lane and the walkers coming at me, just looking at all their faces. Right there, I could see it in their eyes that quiet connection of the soul.

IMG_0105

After a good number of laps with the walkers, I now find myself resting in tent, now no longer needed for Relay, alone with my thoughts and the cold. My thought wandered all over my Relay experience, Second Life, InWorldz, committee, captain, support and countless levels of volunteers roles, virtual Relay, organic Relay, American Cancer Society, Canadian Cancer Society, my indoctrination into the Relay, the representation of the day cycle of a Relay event, from daylight of health, through the darkenss of cancer and it’s treatment into the dawn of a new day of remission.

Last night’s Relay, I got cold. Far colder than the weather man predicted. We even had a light rain for a little bit in the wee hours, to add to the misery, when I realize how the unpredictable nature of weather, is the perfect symbolism, for all the unknowns and unpredictable nature of a cancer treatment. I never would have gotten that in the virtual Relay either.

I defy the cold, wind and dampness, and walk some more.

Advertisements

RFL of SL One Team Blog Spot

I’ve always knew the folks of Relay For Life of Second Life are unique in the global fight against cancer, but it wasn’t until I started volunteering for my home Relay For Life with the Canadian Cancer Society that this uniqueness became apparent.

In the 4 years I been doing social media work under the Relay For Life of Second Life banner, I’ve connected with 1,000’s of people’s avatars on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Pinterest, Plurk, Flickr and many other main stream social media sites. I also followed every single Relay For Life group out there, from Australia, Japan, Europe, Canada and the States. I can say that there is no group of people that have embraced Social Media as the members of Second Life.

They created Facebook team pages, team twitter accounts and created blogs on top of their avatars sites. They like making noise, proud of their accomplishment and rightly so. In the 9 previous seasons, they have raised over 2 million dollars and what they are doing this years is nothing short of amazing.

To help these wonderful people reach out to the larger online world, last year I had the idea of creating a blog that just list all the blogs connected to Relay For Life of Second Life. It is a simple one page blog, listing the all the blogs I had found and grouped them into 3 distinct sections. The first bunch are the official blogs related to the Relay For Life of Second Life committee, second are all the team blogs followed by bloggers that support Relay For Life of Second Life in some fashion. Each section is sorted by the latest posting at the top of their sections, with a snippet of that latest post.

Last season in the first year this blog was up, it received over 1,200 visit. I can only assume these 1,200 visitors went on the read all the latest post since their last visit. I can only guess this 1,200 visits multiplied by all the blogs, generated a lot of extra traffic for everyone.

This year, I have added several more bloggers to the roll call and hope to inspire more teams to get blogging too. When it comes to Relay For Life, we are truly one team, standing shoulder to shoulder, each of us doing our little bit. We really are, collaborating for a cure.

OneTeamBlogPlease bookmark rflofsl1team.blogspot.com and visit it often to hear what our teams are doing and feel the heart felt stories about their “Why I Relay.”

My Relay For Life

In life I am know as Ronald Trepanier and I am the puppet master of Bain Finch.

MeTwoI am 53 years young, but like the most of you, cancer has touch a great number of people I know and have known, thought out my life. When I found Relay For Life of Second Life and experienced my first kick off in 2011, over the course of that first hour, I knew, I had found something that I could be part of, to help make a difference.

Since that first hour, I have lived and breathed Relay, right here in virtual world, online with social media and in my real life, to the point I am an active member in 2 different Relay For Life organizations for the American Cancer Society and 1 for the Canadian Cancer Society were I live, because I know, it doesn’t matter how and were you relay, all goes to the same place. Relay was and still is a life changing event in my life.

I am not the same person I was not to long ago and I have watched that change in others. I Relay for so many reasons, I Relay to share the hope we all have, I Relay to stop the pain and anguish cancer causes to those we hold so dear, I Relay to promote Relay, to share the amazing work we all doing around the world and help grow our ranks.

But I mostly I Relay for that 1 in 3 persons that are still being told today,
“There Is Nothing More We Can Do.”

Imagine_001

 

A Journey of Promise

Relay For Life of Second Life 2014 is a few short days ways from kicking off the 2014 season of A Journey of Promise on March 8th, 2014

2014 RFL of SL Logo square 1024x1024

There have been a lot of changes since last years amazing season. First they have a new site at http://relayforlifeofsecondlife.org and a wiki pages in the works, much like the one that was set up for Relay For Life of InWolrdz last year. Thanks Jessii Warrhol for your hard work doing this for both Relays.

And thanks to Dwen Dooley he had a heap of work to do to all the technology with these changes and some how found the time to make a few cool additions like the dual team kiosk for team can team up for a fundraising event and have the donation shared without the need to place out separate kiosk. Very slick, Dwen!

Another change to the season makeup is Paint SL Purple is not a week long activity in mid season, but a month long precursor to announce to the grid we as about to kick off the 2014 season.

Other notable changes to the season schedule are the mega events. May can now be considered Mega May Month with a bit of rollover into June.

Fantasy Faire ~ May 1-11
Fiction for a Cure ~ May 16-26
The Sci-Fi Convention ~ May 30 – June 8
Fashion For Life ~ June 7-20
The Breedables Fair ~ TBA

There are a ton more changes, but you will just have to follow along to find out more. Better yet, why don’t you visit the http://relayforlifeofsecondlife.org site and click on the orange Register You Team and find out first hand the joy we have in Relay For Life!

DR. WHO PARTY Commemorates 50 Years

The Relay for Life Tri Group threw a Dr. Who party September 15 on a wonderful set created by Team Captain Banker Ibor. The party commemorates the 50th anniversary of Dr. Who.

Snapshot _ Relay for life Tri Group  PG Onl, Marina-Del Ray (61,

Banker was the DJ for the party with a great mix of theme based Dr. Who music and dance party classics.

Nancy Back is the Co Captain for the Team. Nancy relays because she lost her Dad to Cancer. Banker’s Mom recently had her breast removed from cancer and will start treatment in October. We wish her the best.

Thank you to Banker, Nancy, TomTom and RFL Tri Group for this fun and meaningful event!

Snapshot _ Relay for life Tri Group  PG Onl, Marina-Del Ray (62,

Why We Relayers, Relay

Under the pseudonym name of Bain Finch, I Relay For Life of Second LifeRelay For Life of InWorldz and in my Relay Life.  This is the speech I delivered at the Kick Off Ceremony of Relay For Life of InWorldz 2013 season for Many Worldz For A Cure, August 24th, 2013.

RFLofIW 2013 kickoff_002

Photo provided by Wildstar Beaumont

There are words that Cancer fighters the world over would love to eliminate, and the first ones that spring to most people’s minds are, “you have cancer.”

When I first got involved in Relay For Life, I felt the same way. But in the 3 plus years I have been Relaying, I now know, there are other words that are far worse. I have said it many times in my “Why I Relay” statements, “you just have to look into the eyes of a cancer survivor, or into the eyes of a parent, whose child is fighting cancer, to know Why I Relay.” The core of that statement is that there are words far worse than “you have cancer,” and that is “your child has cancer.” I cannot imagine being a parent, having those words spoken to me, and how devastating it would be. Which is the root of another “Why I Relay” statement that I make, and that is “I may fly the purple banner of Relay For Life, but my heart weeps for the golden ones.” Gold, being the color of childhood cancers.

But it does not end there. As someone that uses social media to voice our collective hopes and wishes, I read blogs and I read stories. The ones that “completely” move me to tears are the stories of lives lost, to this unbiased beast. As the American Cancer Society celebrates its first 100 years, I find it more poignant than ever, that we do not cease to lose hope. I would also remind you that the Canadian Cancer Society is also celebrating its 75 years of existence, along with Cancer Societies around the globe. And thanks to Dr. Gordon Klatt, who 30 years ago became that one voice, initiated a change with the birth of Relay For Life, things have improved substantially in this global fight. From a sure death sentence not so many days ago, up until today, where 2 out of 3 people that are touched by the terrifying finger of cancer, are now surviving and living from their encounter with this beast.

This is amazing and worth celebrating. And we DO celebrate it with millions of “More Birthdays” every year. But still, there are those other 1 in 3 people, that are being told the worse words ever spoken, that is “there is nothing more we can do.” I know that the words “You have Cancer” or “Your child has cancer” are not the death sentence that it was once was, and we may never get rid of those words from our collective vocabulary, but I know in my heart, and I firmly believe in my soul, that we are so very close to adding these words to the first two quotes “but we can cure it now” and thus eliminating “there is nothing more we can do”, forever.

I would like to believe this is the core of “Why We Relayers, Relay.”

Just as Cancer is a Journey, one that no one wants to imagine taking, a trip down that supposed path of no return, where the outcome is unpredictable and anyone that has not travelled this way cannot predict how it will change them as a person. Many in Relay for Life, be it a Survivor, Caregiver, Fighter or Relayer as myself, Cancer is a life altering event, just as Relay for Life becomes a monumental moment for many, I for one, will never be the same person I was before.

Bain

Why I Relay InWorldz

Creating/recreating the “Why I Relay” piece is always a time of introspection and reflection. Traditionally, I post on Mother’s Day in memory of losing my Mom to cancer many moons ago. She, like many Moms, was my best friend…missing her was and still is my greatest loss.

This season I Relay for a colleague, BWR. Her loving husband and father of their two kids was diagnosed with leukemia 18 months ago.  BWR became the a caregiver and the bread winner for in one fell swoop.  I Relay to celebrate her spirit and the spirit of all who fight this fight.

Please take a moment and send your thoughts and prayers along.

RFL Many Worldz Logo

Relay for Life of InWorldz season kicks off InWorldz on Saturday, August 24 at 9AM InWorldz time. Additional information ~ RFLofIW.org

http://places.inworldz.com/Paradise by Design/115/62/22

Media inquiries ~ Wildstar Beaumont RFLofIW.PR@Gmail.com

If you would like to submit a “Why I Relay” piece for the blog, please contact me at Tee.Auster@gmail.com

We Celebrate Life and We Fight For The Cure