For and about Cancer Survivors in Second Life, and for anyone who has been touched by cancer

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

RFL of SL 2008 Survivorship Awards

At the Wrap Up party for RFLof SL 2008, I announced two Survivorship Awards.

It was hard, very hard, to single someone out. Each and every one of our Survivors Group as well as all our unnamed survivors deserves an award for the way they deal with their cancer. But I reviewed the names with Marissa Goodliffe, who runs the Caregivers Group, and we came up with two names. Two very special people who each in their own way are an example to us all.

We decided on giving the awards to LadyKay Gable and (posthumously) to Artistic (Fimi) Fimicoloud.

As many of their friends were unable to attend the wrap-up party, we held a separate party on Sunday, August 24, in the new Hope Haven on the new American Cancer Society island.

LadyKay Gable, or Kay as she likes to be known (above left) is a very special lady. A long term breast cancer survivor who is a regular and caring participant in our peer support meetings, she is devoted to Relay For Life, and above all a team player.

When Marissa and I were up to our ears in the preparations for the survivors and caregivers art auction for the halfway there fair, she stepped up to help, as she has helped in countless other ways throughout this past year. She has, quite simply, a heart of gold.

Artistic (Fimi) Fimicoloud was not able to Relay with us this year because she is sadly no longer here. But so many of us relayed for her and she has touched and inspired so many people both in first life and second life that we wanted to make this award posthumously. And I am delighted that so many of Fimi's friends (pictured above) from the Park Gallery, the Passionate Redheads, and the Sunweaver Islanders were able to join us for the presentation.

Fimi, as she liked to be known, had advanced metastatic breast cancer. She knew that she would have a tough battle. And she chose to fight it with her paintbrush and crayons. Her painting kept her from spending every moment wondering if her disease has spread to this part or that. Instead, her mind was filled with thoughts on how to portray the nature she so loved.

Although I am quite sure that Fimi knew she was dying, she was able to set it to one side and focus on her art and her family and friends to the last. She taught us quite simply ...

... how to live.

After celebrating we visited the new 'heroes gallery' memorial on the ACS island, where Fimi's friends paused at the memorial to Fimi and placed the award by her picture.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The long path of support

The July 2008 issue of Percussion magazine carried an article about support groups in SL. Freyaschild Lovencraft admits that when she first joined SL she saw it as many do as a game, a fun place to visit, but "... then I began to discover it was so much more than that, especially for those suffering from a wide variety of illnesses and disabilities."

Freya set out on a journey around Second Life. She first visited Synergy Devonshire and myself in Hope Haven where we talked about the activities of the Cancer Survivors Group. She went on to visit the Heron Sanctuary, where she interviewed Gentle Heron and Pecos Kidd; Healing Hands, which is headed by Kaznats Oh, where people in the last stages of their life can spend time with friends and family without the restriction of their hospital beds; and Ouchies!! - a support group for and by people suffering chronic pain, led by Gemini Glitter.

Freya concludes: " What strikes me the most about all of these groups is how positive the environment they provide feels. I can certainly see how one could benefit in many ways by being in the presence of others with such passion and impetus for their cause. Of course I was only able to touch on a handful of groups on my short tour, but lucky for us, and others we know, the path of support us much much longer."

I learned a lot from the article, including the fact that our groups have much in common in the way we reach out and provide both informational and emotional support. And I'm sure we can continue to learn from each other. Thanks, Freya, for drawing attention to this important way in which Second Life can make a difference!

Friday, August 1, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

For the curious coming across this blog, who haven't experienced Relay for Life of Second Life, this picture says it all. It shows Dwen Dooley, an avatar member of the Relay Rockers RFL of SL team and cancer survivor, next to a picture of Dwen snapped at his real life Relay for Life. Verrrry coooool.

Thanks Dwen for sharing. (And I like the cap!) And here's a link to Dwen's blog on the Relay for Life website (you will need to register if you haven't done so already).