Friday, January 1, 2021

Volunteers of the Decade


The past decade has seen many people, groups, and communities make the news. Some do so over and over again. Some make a deep impact. There is one particular group which has done both.

For a century, the American Cancer Society has worked to combat the disease of cancer. It's most successful and signature fundraiser is the Relay for Life. A community-based charity, soon after Second Life came to be the Relay came here, and grew. In it's centennial year 2016, the Relay for Life of Second Life ranked as the Relay's 19th largest team worldwide.

From February to July (formerly March to August) every year, with spinnoff events in the Fall and winter, the Relayers hold events to raise money to fund research to help find treatments and cures for cancer. While the disease is serious, the Relayers make the events a social occasion and have fun doing it. Since it started in the virtual world, it has raised a total of four million US dollars.

As mentioned before, this is one of the largest Relay groups worldwide, with people across many regions and communities, across Second Life of all kinds of avatars, and many nationalities and languages. The high point of the Relay season, the Relay Weekend, which has hundreds of avatars walking around a forty-plus sim track with exhibits around it, is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, yearly event in Second Life. Among the people whom are a part of it are the neighbors of the Second Life Newser, the Sunweavers, who take part through it's own  team, the Sunbeamers.

Not everything about the Relay has been fun times. As the group's numbers include people with cancer and family history's of, inevitably some people every year pass away from the disease. Over time, they have included Shady Fox, Artistic Fimicloud, Catt Gable, and others. With occasional scammers making news with fake charities, some people have come to mistrust every one of them, even one with a good record such as the Relay. And in an era of fake news, there are the occasional charges of global conspiracies. But despite the setbacks, the Relay continues on, helping to fund treatments and cures, and bringing closer the day all cancers have safe and economical cures.

For it's continued successes in aiding real-life medicine, and for involving many hundreds of Second Life residents, as well as being a prime example of the good that can be done with virtual worlds, it's the decision of the Second Life Newser editor to name Relay for Life in Second Life as Second Life's People of the Decade. In a decade that has seen the worst Pandemic in the past century end many hundreds of thousands of lives, it is fitting the title goes to a group dedicated to saving lives. 

Honorable mentions go to Ebbe Altberg/Ebbe Linden, Draxtor Despress, and the Second Life Birthday volunteer staff (2012-2018).

Bixyl Shuftan
Editor, SL Newser

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