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

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New group leader for Cancer Caregivers group

Willow Lundquist has stepped up to take over from Marissa Goodliffe as group leader of our sister organization SL Cancer Caregivers. Here's what Willow says about herself in her introduction:

"As for me--I am an emeritus caregiver---having had two in chemo simultaneously in the 90's. I have also been a therapy dog handler---you may have seen me at the last RFL---I was the boxer. Feel free to IM me if you need to talk and I am online., please."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Makeover Magic!

The completely rebuilt American Cancer Society island will be officially unveiled at a Grand Re-Opening on Sunday, November 2. The event starts at 10 am SL time. Go to:

The official ACS representative in Second Life, Stingray9798 Raymaker, will talk about the ACS future plans in Second Life, and the program will include a "Makeover Magic" fashion show sponsored jointly by the ACS and FACES.

Cinders Vale, the official liaison with FACES, and I, were both treated to a fashion makeover last year and we took part in the fashion show at the official opening on September 23 2007, so we know just how exciting and special it is to be pampered in this way. This year's show features five members of the Survivors Group, along with their fashion mentors, so be sure to come and support them!

The makeovers program is the Second Life equivalent of the ACS "Look Good, Feel Better" program, a free, community-based service in the USA that helps survivors to restore their appearance and self-image during treatment.


See also Cinders' blog:

Below, the spectacular invitation (designed by MamaP Beerbaum) and an aerial view of the new island.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Aryon does battle with breast cancer

On Sunday, October 12 Aryon Dagger led a session on how she has fought her breast cancer. The session was organized by Making Strides in Second Life as part of its program to raise awareness for breast cancer in the month of October, and it brought an audience of nearly 30 people to Hope Haven.

I wasn't able to be at this session myself but I heard from some of the people who attended that it was a truly inspirational story, and Aryon shared her talk with me.

She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2001. The advice: a double, radical, bilateral mastectomy. "I sat there and went numb, became a robot of sorts in my responses, got up and walked out ... I phoned the one person in my life that I needed most right then ... my wife. My life flashed in slow motion before my eyes but it wasn't over yet."

Aryon made the choice to fight. To "... stand toe to toe with it, stare it in the eye and tell it where to go ... I wanted to see my son happy, to hold my first grandchild, to spend time with the woman I loved enough to leave my life as I knew it behind and move to a place I had never been to before."

Aryon's partner loved and cared for her, but she couldn't face the scars and Aryon never knew why. She passed away several years later. "My wife never got to hear the "all clear" given to me. But I fight on, to repay the debt I incurred by bargaining. I fight on by trying to make women AND men aware of this tragic killer that if caught early enough, can be treated."

She came into Second Life to heal from the loss of her wife of 26 years, and from the immense trauma of fighting the breast cancer. It was several years before someone other than a doctor, nurse or Aryon herself actually touched her scars. Not only touched them but looked at them, and said the words that she had said many times before, without having seen them … “it doesn’t matter”.

Aryon considers herself to be one of the lucky ones. "I don’t know why one person wins their battle and another loses it. But I do know that everything happens for a reason ..." So now she shares her story, in the hope that by making people aware, she is serving a purpose. And she now takes pride in her scars and campaigns through her blog for lesbian women to 'get to grips with their nips" because, as she writes there, "... lesbian women are almost twice as likely to suffer from breast cancer than women generally". See:

She concluded her talk: "If through my survival, through my standing here and speaking to you all today, through my fundraising in the name of breast cancer awareness and research ... I can save one life ... by making someone aware of regular self examinations, of regular mammograms ... then I will be happy but not fulfilled. We MUST find a cure. So, I will continue to battle, wearing my scars like a medal won in a war, for life ... mine and everyone elses."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Teleport raises awareness for breast cancer

The new Teleport magazine owned by Terrell Merryman and edited by Moonshade Pastorelli decided to feature breast cancer in its October issue.

Moonshade was moved to devote her Editorial to breast cancer because her mother is a BC survivor of 18 years. Quoting from the American Cancer Society's website, she writes: "An estimated 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur in women during 2008; about 1,990 cases are expected in men." She refers readers to Tam Hyun's notecard display on breast self-examination to be found on HealthInfo Island.

Moonshade concludes her article with the words: "Let's all be aware in October and year-round, so we can then celebrate the increasing numbers of breast cancer survivors."

The magazine also includes a contribution from me on "Artistic Fimicoloud - An Inspiration to Breast Cancer Survivors" and three pages of pictures taken on the ACS island and at Fimi's gallery.

Thanks Terrell and Moonshade for raising awareness for this important issue.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Synergy Devonshire --- the SL coordinator of Making Strides, the ACS breast cancer awareness program --- is organizing the Fighting Spirit sessions this month, on the theme of breast cancer awareness, and she is also organizing several awareness talks on ACS island, dates and times to be announced. If you go to the island you'll see the "Strides" donation kiosks at the information centers on both levels, along with some goody bags and a perfectly wonderful pink pumpkin which you can grab for free!

Also on this theme, Vera Zhaoying who is a student intern at the Anne Myers Medical Center (AMMC) is organizing a breast cancer awareness event called "Time for You" on October 11 at 10 AM. It is at the woman health clinic, AMMC. Please contact Vera for details.