A Blessing in Disguise?

Getting involved with Relay for some, will be the hardest things you will do. And not for the reasons you would think. When I joined the Relay For Life of Second Life committee as PR person back in 2011, I experiences my first go at this struggle.

I was barely part way into that first season, when a well know member of the Relay group passed away from their cancer and I was greatly affected. That was when my eye were opened to the true facts of virtual Relay.

It is so easy to forget that the typist behind the avatar is not a youthful vibrant people we see, but a good chance they are older, sometimes much older than one would think. There is a good chance they might have mobility issues, financial or other real life issues keeping them close to home. Which makes places like virtual world so attractive, as it gives them a place to be normal again. Once you enter the Relay world, enters the distinct possibility the Relay volunteer is a cancer survivor and living with the possibility of the 2nd worse word in cancer circles, “Relapse.”

On a large grid like Second Life, people come and go all the time, so sometimes, one don’t notice people, once they disappear. But on a small grid like InWorldz, one person gone missing, is noticed. Losing 3 or more in a few months is so very hard. Add the fact that most people don’t have a direct connection between their virtual and real life self, when the connection is cut, compounds this issue, those of of us left behind and dealing with, what happened to so and so.

When one becomes heavily involved in Relay For Life, the sad fact is, you will experience grief in ways only a virtual world can deliver. When I say I have lost count of the people I’ve lost, I’m not talking about a bunch I can count on my fingers, I mean 30-40 or more, wonderful and beautiful souls, for I have truthfully, lost count.

After last night’s memorial service for Digital in InWorldz, I dropped back into Second Life and opened a chat with the one person I could think of, that has probably experienced all of this, more than anyone I know. I ask him “how do you deal with all the grief that comes from being involved in Relay For Life and all the people you’ve lost?”

His reply was quick, simple and to the point “Focus on the good and the mission. I think we all forget about the victories. I actually get worn out with all the bad news IMs in volunteers. I personally don’t think it’s something we need to share with 3000 of our closest friends, but that’s me. We call it Relay family and in a way we are, but we don’t tell strangers in real life, we don’t walk down the street telling all our loss. I prefer to share the good news.”

I’m on the fence on this one and will take me a while to come to terms with it, mainly because Second Life and InWorldz are so polar in their makeup. I’ve compared Second Life to being in a large city and yes, one does have a level of detachment from the masses. But InWorldz is like a small rural town, it doesn’t take long to know most everyone and it doesn’t take long to notice when one it hurting or missing.

The virtual world is like nothing, we as people experience in the real world. Because of local and group chats, notices, etc., we can reach more people, share more experiences than one can do in real life. Add the fact we are also online junkies, we use social media, blogs and all the other tools available, we reach more people, make more friends, share more, than one can ever do in real life.

I am not the same person I was back in 2011, I have cried bucket and bucket of tears. My Facebook page reminds me of the fact every time I check my feed, as I follow so many cancer related sites and I see the grief and hardships everyone faces every day. But in that, it reminds me of why I am doing this, it gives me the strength to carry on, in the face of so much grief. But I also know, these Facebook site are focusing on the ones in the fight, to help generate support, and far too infrequently, don’t tell of the many successes people are living through, through the work we are all doing.

The people on the grids are caring souls. Some choose to spend their last days, hours, whatever, in doing something meaningful, rather than waiting to die. For that, we should rejoice with and for them, rather than weep. For people like Digital, who’s candle burned so bright, it could be that that she lived her life as she did, because she wish to live her life to the fullest, continuously or not.

We will never know, but this is what I choose to believe and will carry onward with these thoughts and feelings, because it is what they would have wanted. I choose to honor my fallen angels by living, by caring for my fellow brother and sister, more that I did before. I choose to remember them for how they lived their life.

Bain Finch

Digi's memorial

Memorial Statue Dedicated to Digital Pixal

Hi Bain,

Thanks for that touching note card you sent out. It touches all of us who have lost close friend on virtual worlds. What you said about most on virtual worlds are older folks enjoying what they can do here but can’t do in real life. One of the things that made me so happy with Hobo Amusement park on Second Life when it first started to get popular, was sitting on top of the zombie building and watching all those avatars running around the park, riding the spinning rides, driving the vehicles, throwing water balloons at each other, clicking the barf bag sack after getting off a ride and making their avatar barf, it was so so funny to watch and knowing that most of those people behind those avatars were probably very old or handicapped in real life, some probably having a hard time getting out of their chair when they logged out. This so warmed my heart to see these people living like children again at hobo park, and probably not even thinking about their illness, age, or handicap. How wonderful that was.

We get so close to people and they just stop logging in one day or someone announces that they have passed and instead of being sad we should be very happy that got to know them and watch them really enjoy their final days in this world of virtual worlds.

I lost a very special person to me in virtual worlds. I first came to InWorldz as Patti Mallory and was married to my best friend from Second Life, Lander Mallory. Lander just stopped showing up one day, then he logged in and said that he was leaving virtual worlds and that he was sorry., and I have not heard from him since and that was more than three years ago now. Lander and I were very close and were together every day on virtual worlds for 2 years. You really get to know the person behind the avatar when you spend that much time with them. I knew that Lander was and older gentleman because of the way he talked and could tell when he wasn’t feeling well in real life because of the way he acted at times. Although I am not sure of what happened to Lander I know he must have passed in real life and that crushed me at first and then I thought of the days sitting on top of that zombie building watching all those avatars running around laughing and having fun and that made me think of all the fun crazy times Lander and I had together. My goodness!! How wonderful that is that older people can act young again and be so happy in their final days. How wonderful is virtual worlds?? and How wonderfully lucky I was to get to be with Lander in those days and we enjoyed each other so much even when the InWorldz sim crashed on our wedding day with only 8 people on it and the bride was Ruthed!! Lander was laughing so hard and so was I !!

Instead of feeling really down and sad when someone on virtual worlds passes, we should rejoice because of the wonderful times we had together, and just think, Wow we helped that person feel happy in their final days. WOW!! WHAT A BLESSING IS THAT??!!!!

Thanks again for that wonderful note card Bain it touched my heart deeply.

Judy Muircastle

My March 8th, 2015 Relay Moment

My very first Relay Moment was on Saturday March 12, 2011 at the kick off ceremony at this BOSL Stadium. I had just found Relay and had the good fortune to joined Harmony of Hope, as deer in the headlights volunteers, I mean completely oblivious to what I got into.

2011 RFL kickoff Celebrations1Well it didn’t take long for me to leap into the unknown, again, I mean within minutes of the first team meeting, when I ask how Harmony of Hope promote themselves on Social Media? Random who was the team captain, basically said they didn’t, but sounds like you will be our social media promoters and promptly volunteered me to the role, and I dove into it.

Next thing I know, I am now on the committee under Poppy Zabelin, in the co-chair of PR role and working with MamaP Beerbaum, Nikki Matherson, Dwen Dooley, Trader Whiplash and so many others wonderful people that first year.

I do remember how I felt, and what I first believed, about Relay For Life of Second Life’s potential could be, with the right pieces. I shared some of my insights and feelings in the end of season report Poppy and I wrote, that fall. I still have it. In it are suggestions to work with the ACS to get information on cancer progress and mission. Build of our Social Media presences, coordinate with all radio, streaming channels partners, photographers, machinimas creators and all news organizations all over Second Life. And that we need to push into the part of the grid that never heard of Relay For Life of Second Life and since For Life of Second Life is worldwide, we should focus on that too.

Since my time that first year, all my friends and mentor have matured on to other roles, on to other challenges, still spreading Relay, influencing new people, new teams, new ideas, as well all have because that is the nature of Second Life with server and view improvements. We embrace change. We fight through bugs, lag and keep coming. We are that unstoppable tide.

But today’s kick off was something special for me. One might say it a new entry on my Relay moments list. I was brought back full circle, just as one would lap a Relay track, back to that first Relay moment. Again I was moved by a similar euphoria from the crowd around me, over the words I was hearing. As cast an eye on the work everyone has done leading up for this seasons and the growth in promotions across so many media channels, Nikki recording the ceremony in video, Ishatar recording voice, media people and promotions everywhere, I just had to shared my silent giggle.

I truly believe, 2015 is going to be another record setting year, one that will make 2014 look like a warm up for the champion fight. The very heart of what I think that makes Relay For Life of Second Life, so flipping amazing, is that Second Life is essentially a social media network, on steroids. WE the users, are beautiful fanatical and passionate people, that chose to live in a world with no borders and able to create the unimaginable. How could we not succeed?

I would guess 3/4 or more, of the worldwide Second Life grid, still does not know about Relay For Life of Second Life. And I am also guessing that if every team made a sustained effort all season long, to reach out into that unknown grid and shouted our international message, I would NOT have to guess at what those results would look like.

In 2011 and I still do today, firmly believe Relay For Life of Second Life has the potential to have a million dollar season. My tears today, besides being wept for the wonderful words of people I admire, is that we will break half million dollars, in 2015.

For the love of life and the life of one loved

Sunday August 24th, 2014 the Relay Rockers held a special event and celebration to give thanks and to honor three very special people.

The first was a warm dedication to their co-founder and late friend Alliez Mysterio with the creation of the Alliez Mysterio Award followed by this years recipients. What follows was gratiously shared by Trader Whiplash.

The Relay Rockers are please to present the Alliez Mysterio Award to Honor our late friend and co-founder.

Alliez Mysterio came to Second Life in 2003.  A pioneering virtual explorer Alliez saw the potential of the nascent private island sims and in 2005 her first sim, Rue d’Alliez opened.  From that single island d’Alliez Estates spread over the grid, growing to more than 150 islands.  She established a system of ownership and rentals that has provided a home to many residents of Second Life regardless of their virtual manifestations, lifestyles or interests.  She made every effort to accommodate her tenants, was always there to address issues and was loved by all who came to know her.
Alliez_001In 2005 she joined with Trader Whiplash and Nuala Maracas and formed the team that became known as the Relay Rockers.  From 2005 until breast cancer took her from us in 2013 Alliez was a steadfast supporter of both the Relay Rockers and Relay For Life of Second Life.

Alliez_007This award will be given annually to the person or persons who, in the opinion of the team’s award committee, have exhibited “Relentless Dedication”  and have made an “Enduring Contribution” to the Relay For Life of Second Life.

Our first winner of the 2014 Alliez Mysterio award is also a pioneer.  When Relay began in 2005 Second Life was a different platform than it is today.  While it represented the most advanced 3-d communications platform ever, it was far less sophisticated than the Second Life of 2014.  Our Relay relied on simple scripts to collect donations.  Security issues, while not serious, were a consideration, and a means to sell items to benefit the American Cancer Society had not yet been developed.
 
Dwen Dooley,  began to find new means to improve our Relay tools. He created new ways to sell items and to spread the word about our teams and our events.  Dwen created the Event Boards that we see all over the grid,  he saw the need for Raffle Vendors, Dual Team Kiosks and Auction Kiosks.  He also created the donation givers and the halo givers and continued to advance all of these devices as quickly as Linden Lab provided new and updated means.

Dwen Dance OffDwen who began in Relay as a Relay Rocker,  served as event co-chair from 2010 – 2013. A survivor himself he spoke loudly in support of the Mission of the American Cancer Society and our very special Relay.  He even encouraged his good friend Stinky to become the Rodent of the Hour with the creation of Skunking and De-Skunking Kiosks.   He monitored convio and maintained the recording systems that enable the American Cancer Society and the Relay For Life of Second Life to continue to grow and reach ever stronger numbers each season.  

Alliez_002Therefore, the Relay Rockers are honored and proud to present the 2014 Alliez Mysterio Award to Dwen Dooley, for his  relentless dedication and enduring contributions to the Relay For Life of Second Life.

Our Second recipient this year has lead Relay For Life to two record breaking seasons.  A member of Relay For Life since 2007 she began as part of the TVCH teams.  In 2008 she formed the Relay AllStars and with her teammates began what is now an annual mega-event, the Home And Garden Expo.   

She came to the committee in 2008 as a Live Music coordinator. In 2009 she was invited to join the committee on the event day staff. She became a Co-Chair in 2011 and served with her friend MamaP Beerbaum as our Relay grew in size and stature in both the virtual and organic worlds.  In 2013 she was chosen to serve as Event Chair and shepherded Relay to another record season as the largest virtual event passed the $2,000,000 mark.   This season she was at the helm as Relay set records for teams, participants and raised an incredible $410,000!

NikkiNikki Mathieson graced Relay For Life with her steadfast determination, and her ability to find the right people for the right roles.  She took the lessons learned from her predecessors,  Fayandria Foley, Tayzia Abbatoir and MamaP Beerbaum and molded them into a vision of Relay that allows us all to Celebrate Remember and Fight Back as many teams walking together as one world!

Alliez_003Therefore, the Relay Rockers are honored and proud to present the 2014 Alliez Mysterio Award to Nikki Mathieson for her relentless dedication and enduring contributions to the Relay For Life of Second Life.

Trader Whiplash

I never had the honor to formally meet Alliez Mysterio before her passing, but I did have the immense pleasure to witness the outpouring of love and grief at her wake. And to witness her legacy by following the antics and effort the Relay Rockers since my involvement with Relay For Life of Second Life from 2011. The Relay Rockers are a dedicate group of warm, hard working and supportive people, that I am delighted to call family, as do for so many other on the grid do.

I had the pleasure to work with Dwen Dooley during my time on the committee during 2011 and 2012 seasons and there is no one person that I can think of, that has worked harder to make Relay For Life of Second Life the success it is today, by his creation of all the fundraising and promotional tool we have on the grid. Tools we are now being emulated as others grow Relay For Life of InWorldz in the foot steps of the tireless effort Dwen blazed. He is in my humbled option, the strongest candidate for the Relay For Life of Second Life Hall Of Fame and have no doubt what so ever, he will grace that special place of honor someday.

And Nikki Mathieson. She stands right next to MamaP Beerbaum was the two people I adore the most in Relay For Life of Second Life. When Nikki laughed, you laughed, when she cried, you cried. Need I say more?

Because of these people and groups mention in this article, and countless more all over Relay For Life of Second Life, that I will always smile warmly, when move on from all this and think back on my time with all these wonderful and amazing people, doing this thing we do for HOPE and the CURE. For they are all such wonderful people.

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.”

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!

13 Hour Encore

13 hour event 1_002

The 13 Hour Encore held on Sunday August 4, 2013, was a multi team event to try to get us up and over 400,000 US Dollars for the 2013 Relay season. The event was staged at multiple venues with T1 Radio and RFL live DJs hopping site to site.

There were a ton of challenges. One was to “wipe” the name off the kiosk of the person who just hit that kiosk with their donation. This caused a bit of a frenzy with a lot of chatter in local and Volunteer’s chat!

Serina Juran and friends
Shay Sunnyside and Corkie Houston

.

The event was sponsored by Relay Rockers. Trader Whiplash says, “it was a perfect example of what has made this season just so amazing… there were people from all different teams.  More than 20 kiosks were rezzed at the various venues. 

The Rockers had a phenominal season..and as the Legacy Team, as we have been called by Relayers, we wanted to do more for the one team that matters…and for all the other teams too! T1’s RFL DJ team stepped up and hit the ball out of the park with great music all day and the venue owners were so generous! It really was a great success!”

A special shout out to Nuala Maracas who put a trememdous amount of energy into organizing the event!!!

One World, One Fight – Foundation Org

I would love to showcase one of the many amazing teams taking part in Relay For Life of Second Life, a team from Brazil called Foundation Organization for Life.

Foundation For Life_002

This is their second year participating in our Relay group and I have attended many of their events.  I do have to say, they bring a very unique flavor and style to their events.

Like all of us, they too have been touched by cancer, and like all of us, could not stand still.  They chose to fight alongside all of us.

Foundation For Life_003

Foundation Org is captained by Luna Portio (lunavonrandolf Kenin) and is a tightly knit group of friends.  Geez, do they know how to party!  They bring some of the best music to the fight which has you asking: who needs a vacation when you can TP to a Foundation event.  Absolutely wonderful.

For me, what is amazing about Foundation Org is the noise they make on Facebook and I strongly recommend you check their group out and given them a “Like” at this group link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/166247130149474/?fref=ts

Foundation Org has also created a website, where they host a pile of info about the team, pictures of their events and even video.  http://foundorgforlife.webs.com

Coming from Brazil, English is not their native language, so communications doesn’t come easy to them, in a group populated mostly by Americans, Canadians and Europeans. But like all of us in Relay, we stand tall to challenges.  Some of us are learning Portuguese, others use the tools at hand available in SL, in the way of translators. One of the ones I found is from Metanomics available on Marketplace for $20L and has come in very handy on more than one occasion during my time on the committee. https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Metanomics-Translator-v21/4416485?id=4416485&slug=Metanomics-Translator-v21

Foundation For Life_001

I urge you to stop by a Foundation Org event, fill their kiosks with your Linden Loving and support a very hard working and caring team of Relay fighters. What better way to demonstrate our understanding that we understand, cancer is a world fight.