Midsummer Night



On  the Sumer Solstice all manner of creatures come out to play.   The sense of spirits hand heavy in the aire, as Fae, elves, and all manner of impish creatures emerge from the Shadows.  Traditionally, Team Shadow celebrates the solstice with a Masked Ball on the Saturd prior.  So don your best fantasy garb, put on a mask, and join the impish spirits in the Enchant Forest.  Those intense Fae have set a goal to raise 100 USD, or more tangibly one night at Hope Lodge for a cancer patient or their family.  You may donate to their team at the link below: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY17National?team_id=2159162&pg=team&fr_id=84413

 There be magic afoot!


Last night I was given the opportunity to be a part of something very special.  Fantasy Faire always has a great spirit of community, a warmth between those of the community, but last night was over the top.  As DJs played songs from many mixed genre, the call came out that Relay For Life of Second Life was very close to passing $100,000 in funds raised during the 2017 season.  The sponsors of the Faire called for a challenge, they would match everything donated into the kiosk on the FaireChylde.  As dragons danced with pixies, giants towered over the great ship.  Demons, druids, tinies, and just plain humans joined the group as well.  Fae waved there wands and sprinkled magic dust over the gathering.  What resulted was pure magic, joining their efforts together the sponsors challenge was met, when all was tallied in the end over 1200.00 USD was raised in support of Relay For Life and The American Cancer Society.  This was accomplished by an incredible group of people, all pulling together for the same cause. There were no boundary lines drawn, no teams, cliques, no race, or nationality-simply a group functioning as one unit to reach a common goal.  This is true Relay Spirit in action!  Together we are stronger, together we are the CURE.

For more information about Relay For Life of Second Life:

www.relayforlifeofsecondlife.org
For more information about Fantasy Faire 2017:

https://fantasyfairesl.wordpress.com

#FantasyFaire2017 #RFLofSL #ONETEAM #WEARETHECURE #MartinGlom #SashaFairywren #GemSunkiller

Why Relay?

AtBreeablesFair2014A few weeks ago I was asked the question “Why Relay?”  I’ve been asked many times why I Relay, but never simply why relay.  Given this food for thought I paused to form a coherent answer.  Why Relay?  By joining together with others we are able to achieve more than we are seperately, we are more than simply a sum of our parts.  We ARE Relay!  Each of us using our skills and talents to raise funds to finish the fight against cancer.  Together we can bring the magic that is Relay.  To put it concisely, when we work as one team, with one goal, one dream, there is nothing we can not accomplish.  Why Relay?  Because together, WE ARE THE CURE!

Since that conversation I have been fortunate enough witness two events that demonstrated just how successful we can be when we all pull the same direction.  The first, a photography exhibition organized by the team A Stand For Hope, pulled people from all over the grid to participate.  Survivors and Caregivers are honored at the exhibit by some of Second Life’s premier photographers.  The grand opening featured DJs and Live Singers from many teams, it was a magical time where team competition was put aside to honor our Survivors.  What struck me, as I wandered the exhibition, was the presence of RFLofSL kiosks in every nook of the building.  The remarkable thing about these kiosks?  They were placed for different teams.  Everyone joining together to raise funds, to wage hope, as one single unit.  This is “Why Relay.”  We are the cure!

Fantasy Faire 2016 is the second such event.  Organizers, designers, creators, builders, musicians, writers, and simply Fairelanders coming together to raise funds while celebrating all things fantasy.  Each participant playing their own vital role in bringing forth this fantastic event.  Again we see people working toward a common goal, raising funds to wage war with cancer.  At this writing, a scant 4 days into the event, 3.1 million Lindens have been raised.  Raised not by any one individual, nor any one team, but by a unified group.  This is “Why Relay.”  We are the cure!

I would like to leave you with this quote, one very popular in Relay For Life of Second Life during the 2012 Relay season:

“THE ONE TEAM CREED – We believe that Together: We are, in the words of a poet, powerful beyond measure. We can change the world because we see that we already have. We are what no single person, team, committee, state, or nation can be. One Spirit! One Goal! One Team! We Are The Cure.”

One of Many Invisible Killers

imageHave you ever looked at a person you’re passing on the street, and thought to yourself “I bet they are a diabetic.”  I bet you haven’t.  You could insert any number of silent, hidden killers into that question, but for the topic of today’s post we will leave it at diabetic.  Diabetes is a slow, silent disease.  It’s progress is brutal when left untreated or let to remain uncontrolled.  It is estimated by the American Diabetes Assosiation that there are 8.1 million Americans who have undiagnosed diabetes.  It is imperative that we raise awareness of the symptoms of diabetes and improve access to testing.  Millions of people, many of which are on the lower end of the economic scale, have poor access to health care of any type.  Unfortunately these are the very individuals with the highest risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.  What can we do to help?  Educate, become advocates, increase awareness.   You are probably thinking “Gee, Gem is passionate about this fight.”  I am!  You see I am a diabetic, diagnosed in 1999.  In the paragraphs that follow I will share my personal story, in hopes it will help increase awareness about this invisible illness.

I was one of those people without health insurance, I took care of myself as best I could, but medical test just were not affordable.  I had battled weight issues all of my adult life, and had several of the early warning signs, including a family history of diabetes.  When I married in 1999, my husband was able to insure me under his plan at work.  I made an appointment and the Doctor did a full battery of tests.  My fasting blood glucose was 175.  Instead of saying here, cut back on carbs and see how this goes, my physician was aggressive in my treatment.  I have no idea how long I’d been a diabetic, but I moved to take control.  Imagine, weighing each bite you take with the nutritional value it provides.  Sticking your finger 6-8 times a day to see just how particular foods affected your blood glucose values.  Logging not just the numbers, but facts about your daily exercise, emotional health, and general wellness on a daily basis.  It’s work, it’s depressing, and yes those pricks hurt. I am fortunate that with the exception of menopause I have been able to control my diabetes without medications.  My HgAIC runs 5.3-5.6 on a regular basis……but it takes application, self education, and a lot of hard work.  So far I’ve held off the damage uncontrolled blood sugar can cause.  But this story doesn’t end here.

My husband was diagnosed in 2000 with Type 2, he refused to follow a meal plan, take his mess, and skipped regular testing.  I watched as his body slowly succumbed to the damage to his major organs. His legs filled with water and developed ulcers, his veins narrowed, he had multiple heart attacks, the arteries leading to his brain narrowed causing memory and mental health issues.  Ultimately a stroke caused by poor blood flow to the brain took his life.  All these as a direct result of diabetes.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, find a team of medical partners who can help devise an individual treatment plan for you, then follow that plan.  Educate those around you, become an advocate for issues surrounding this horrid disease.  The life you save may be your own.

I am happy to have an opportunity to work with Team Diabetes in Second Life.  I will continue to lift my voice and speak out, not only about diabetes but many other invisible illnesses.

Until next time,

Gem

Advocacy–it’s more than Outreach.

AtBreeablesFair2014Advocacy is the process or act of supporting a cause or proposal.  As we reach out beyond the traditional walls of Relay For Life of Second Life, it is important that we not only spread the word that Relay is here in Second Life, but also to explain why we Relay, and what becomes of the funds donated.  By becoming advocates for Relay For Life, and The American Cancer Society, we then are given the opportunity to educate, and bring understanding of exactly what it is that we are about.  It is through this process that we can help change lives by presenting the variety of programs The American Cancer Society offers, both here in Second Life and out there in the world beyond.

What do most people really want to know about Relay For Life?  Some of the questions that I am most often asked pertain to where the money goes, what exactly do our funds support, and a desire to know why we have such a passion.  Everyone has a story, a reason they Relay.  It’s these stories that make up the fabric of Relay For Life.  Advocacy is the work of every person in our Relay For Life of Second Life.  Tell your stories often, and ask others to share theirs.  In the telling you are an advocate, supporting the cause of Relay For Life.

Mission walks hand in hand with Advocacy.  When we present the mission of the American Cancer Society, we open the door to educate and empower.  That mission, which is very simply stated, is to create a world with more birthdays.  The list of ways that mission takes form is varied and lengthy.  For more in depth information please go to http://www.cancer.org , the home of the American Cancer Society on the internet.  The Society can also be reached at 1-800-277-2345.

I was delighted when asked to serve as Community Ambassador for 2015, this gives me an opportunity to talk with as many people, communities, and businesses about Relay For Life of Second Life.  If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me inworld, or at gemsunkiller@gmail.com.

This article will also be posted to the 2014 Christmas Expo and Breedables Fair blog at http://www.slchristmasexpo.wordpress.com.

 

Hey, I’m a DJ!

GemProfile2

Actually that is nothing new, however I am super excited to be streaming at the 2014 Christmas Expo and Winter Breedables Fair.  I’ll be doing 2 sets, one Monday December 8th from 6-7 SLT, and a second Friday December 12th from 6-8 SLT.

The Expo has lots of good entertainment lined up, to check out the entire schedule see their site at  http://slchristmasexpo.wordpress.com/events-schedule/ .  Come join the fun!