WOW .. just wow! We had an amazing event in Second Life last weekend. Yes, the 10th Annual Relay For Life of Second Life event opened at 10am on Saturday July 19th and we had 24 hours of CELEBRATING, REMEMBERING and pledging to continue FIGHTING BACK!
From the first moments, you could feel the excitement and passion in the air as the crowds gathered at the ceremony sims and all along the track for the Opening Ceremony which was full of thank yous, remembrance, dedication and ended with words from Trader Whiplash about his renewed journey and personal fight against cancer. The audio was streamed over the T1 Streams and filmed and broadcast by the RFL Telethon Team via AView TV. The volunteers were raring to get on the track and we started as always with the CELEBRATE lap… this is the time we give the track to our heroes – the Survivors and the Caregivers. These special people are who we all come together and fight for, and they are right there with us! Our Opening Ceremony went a bit long so we didn’t get to the track until about 11:30am and we fought lag, and sim crossing issues, and sim communication issues as we always do. We did not have as many sim crashes but instead had those that just stopped accepting the throngs of people moving across the borders.
At 12:30pm SLT, we asked the Team Members – the Volunteers to join our heroes and start the team appreciation lap. At 2pm, our theme laps started and throughout the day/evening and through the themes, we saw some funny fun, silly, crazy and happy costumes as the avatars walked around the 8,853M track (equivalent to around 5.5 miles). At 9pm SLT, we took time to REMEMBER those that we have lost to cancer during the luminaria lap. Prior to this lap, Relayers are encouraged to donate to the luminaria bags along the track to honor or remember someone. During the REMEMBER ceremony, the lights are lowered and the glow of the luminarias light the way for relayers as they silently walk or stand in campsites while dedications are read over the audio stream. Definitely the most emotional time of relay and actually one of my favorites because it very much reminds us why we need to get out here year after year.
Soon after the dedications were completed, the Planning Committee entertained us for an hour for the 10th Anniversary ONE Team lap which was to commemorate the 10th year of RFL in SL! Special anniversary shirts were created for the lap! Relayers stayed on the track throughout the night and at 6am SLT, the teams gathered for the FIGHT BACK ceremony! This year brought a different view of the ceremony with recordings of relayers pledging to fight back in a number of ways and with a chant to get us out on the track to solidify the pledge! It was a good invigorating way to refresh our journey around the track.
At 10am SLT, all relayers were asked to attend the closing ceremony either at the stage, via the telethon video link or just by listening in from any track location. The closing ceremony started out with a poem read by Saffia Widdershins and Rik Merlin. Then we heard from our Planning Committee – Sting Raymaker (ACS Staff Partner); Nikki Mathieson (2014 Event Chair); Dawn Dreamscape and Random Padar (2014 Event Co-Chairs) who shared their thank yous and reflections about the season and weekend. Sting and Dwen Dooley (2014 Tech Division Chair) presented some amazing numbers from our season that included how many kiosks were rezzed, how many vendors, and even how many Gotya transactions had taken place. Gem Sunkiller (2014 Internal Support Division Chair) presented her thank yous and the Cancer Education Awareness awards. Serina Juran (2014 Public Relations Division Chair) was given time for thank yous and presented the Best Theme Decorated Campsite and Inventive and Creative Fundraising Campsite awards. Then I took the time to thank my amazing Design/Events Division team and also our Mega Events partners. I was blessed to also announce the new and existing team participation awards. I got choked up during my presentation…it is always an emotional day and with the fact that I had been awake for over 29 hours by that point, I was just drained. Dwen then gave his thanks to all and presented awards for the Designer Sim and Exhibition Campsite. Sting took back over and presented words of gratitude over the way that the season had been handled and spoke about the success that RFL had seen during Nikki Mathieson’s reign over the two years. He then went on to announce that the tradition would be carried on by the 2014 Event Co-Chairs would take on 2015 with a strong presence. Nikki then delivered her closing ceremony thank yous to the committee, the teams, the planning committee, mega events, participants and all. The closing ceremony then focused on The Empty Table as Sting provided the reading and significance of each item from the table, and the event was closed and it was time for our Victory Lap where the committee stands on the sidelines cheering and greeting everyone as they pass by. What a weekend, wow!
Our goal of 401K ($401,000 USD) was met during the night; by the time we held closing ceremony, I think we were up to $406,000 USD. Today, the total raised for the season is just over $411,000 USD! The season doesn’t end until Wrap Up which will be held in late August.
During the weekend, it wasn’t just about the walks around the track. The teams continue fund-raising and educating in and about their campsites. We had three stages of musical entertainment on the activities regions. We had Raffle for Relay, Silent Auction, and Snail Races. And we had s silent auction for Art pieces as well. Everything just went very well. The interest in events was great, the camaraderie between the teams was warm, the excitement stayed high and people were dedicated to making a difference and supporting a cause they truly believe in.
Thank you to all that visited, participated, supported, enjoyed, performed, walked, ran, donated, explored, snapped pics, danced, fished, bid, greeted, helped, volunteered, supported, worked, built, designed, and experienced the 2014 RFL of SL event weekend!
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Relay For Life of Second Life website