Thursday, January 24, 2013

Goodbye Passionate Redheads

Cancer is a horrible illness, claiming thousands of lives every year. It has claimed a number of real life friends, and neighbors. A number of charities raise funds for research, and otherwise helping those stricken by the disease. The most well-known is the American Cancer Society, which is the recipient of the largest fundraiser in Second Life: The Relay For Life.

I first heard about the Relay For Life in 2007 after being told about it by one of my few friends on the Grid at the time. My visits to Second Life were sporadic at the time. Seeing how impressive the builds were, well, the sights helped encourage me to visit more often. Two years later in 2009, I was spending some time with a fun-loving group in Second Life, the Sunweavers, whom hung out at the Cutlass Club. As it turned out, many of them, notably most of the livelier personalities, were part of a Relay Team: The Passionate Redheads. I heard about, and got to see, the Wild West Exhibit for the Relay Track they made for that year. It was an exciting build with lots to see and plenty to do on, from a mine cart ride to river rafting.

The team was more than just my furry neighbors. There were a number of others in the ranks. All led by Sabine McGettin and Daaneth Kiviok. Sadly, one teammate had passed away, Artistic Fimicloud. Many of us had tags "I Relay for Fimi." The pink fox avatar was gone, but she lived on in the hearts of her friends.

In 2010, I joined up with the Redheads. For the season, we were in events like "Jail and Bail," and fun parties, such as the "Fanta-sea" in which this of us with menfolk aves danced underwater with them. And then came the Relay Walk. For the first time, I walked the track not alone, but as part of a team. A team made up of virtual friends and neighbors. The music played at times added to the feeling that we were doing something great. We raised over $6300 that year, and got an award for "Longest Running Team," as well as a Platinum Rank.

As the 2011 season arrived, we looked forward to setting new records. Then came a bombshell. Co-Captain Daan had suffered a stroke. We wondered what would happen? Would our friend pass away? Would our fundraising be ground to a halt? But Daan began to recover, and the team refused to quit, continuing to hold events. Among them were the three "Bid Me Human" events, notably the one with Sunweaver leader Rita Mariner putting her pelt on the line and getting 75,000 Lindens. We sponsored three sims on the track that year, and our own was a detailed one with a Fairy-Tale theme, with lots to see and a number of puzzles to solve. We raised another record amount. We got another Platinum rank award, in addition to Daan getting the Spirit of Relay award for continuing to fight cancer, even when recovering from a stroke. And in July 28, we threw the last Redhead party for the season, thankful for Daan's recovering and having stuck together for another successful year. Unfortunetly, This would be the last time we would celebrate with Daaneth and Sabine.

In 2012, Daaneth and Sabine took indefinite leaves of absence from the team. Dusk Griswold assumed temporary leadership with Lomgren Small's help. The team went on, and managed to reach Gold status. But this would be the Redheads' last hurrah.

After six years, the Passionate Redheads are no more. If nothing else, we raised over $30,000 US dollars in cash for the American Cancer Society. But we did more than that. We helped shape the Relay, bringing about the first Spirit of Relay award,  inspiring the "One Team" concept, and getting a number of prestigious awards through the years. And there was the bringing about of talent. With Lomgren Smalls and Alleara Snoodle, we had two of the most accomplished builders in Second Life. With Sunweaver leader Rita Mariner,  the team had a community behind it. And there were other noteworthy individuals, such as Dusk Griswold, Treminari Huet, Shockwave Yareach, Nydia Tungsten, Skylark LeFarve, and many more.

Gone, but not forgotten. May the Redheads' passion continue as those who Relayed under its banner go on to a new banner to fight cancer under.

Bixyl Shuftan


  1. I would love to see the Passionate Redheads make a return in the years to come! They were an amazing presence in the Relay for Life, and there are many who feel that a vacuum has been created in their absence. They are sorely missed!!!

  2. Thank you Bixyl, and thank you Sara, for your very kind words for the Passionate Redheads. To know we were able to soothe some pain and to have been able to serve others for six years of Relay activities, is a most humbling and gratifying feeling. I love my teammates with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all that I am.

    Unfortunately, because of my complete trust, a few members became involved in activities which hurt our entire team. We were left reeling, not understanding how we could all have been betrayed. We found that we could not continue as a team while we were in so much emotional turmoil, and we needed a break from everything Relay.

    Whether or not we ever find the energy to regroup, I have been proud of the love and support we were able to offer to each other, to those who were suffering, and to those who celebrate survival. As for myself, I remain,

    Yours in Service,