Friday, September 23, 2016

Memorial Service For Catt Gable


By Bixyl Shuftan

It was Saturday September 3 in which news reached Second Life of the passing of a member of the Relay: Catt "Kala" Gable. She had been a member of the Relay Rockers. Two weeks later on September 17, there was a memorial service to her. As 5PM approached, people began gathering under a large tent at the Relay dAlliez sim. There was plenty of seating available, and more than forty people were present. Some had the title "Relaying for Catt." There was music playing, including, "These Are The Times We Will Remember."

Did you know that before you came into my life
It was some kind of miracle that I survived
Some day we will both look back
And have to laugh
We lived through a lifetime
And the aftermath

This is the time to remember
Cause it will not last forever
These are the days
To hold on to
Cause we won't
Although we want to
This is the time
But time is gonna change
I know we've got to move somehow
But I don't want to lose you know


A number of people had a some words to say. Among them was Nuala Maracas, "I first met Catt, she will always be Catt to me, even though she changed her name to Kala, … I first met Catt back in 2006.....almost 10 years ago....40 years ago if you go by Second Life  comparison.   When you have known a person, face to face, for that length of time, you get to know their nuisances,  you can see their face when they speak, but most importantly you can see their eyes... their windows to their soul.    In the virtual world, we rely on our emotional gut feelings.  We hear the inflections in their voices.  We hear the caring, the trust, the honesty, the empathy, and the playfulness within their words.  And these traits are amplified 100 times when words are not spoken often.

"Catt Gable was one of those people.   A caring, honest, empathetic  soul, whose words, when spoken, spoke volumes.  When Catt spoke, she let you see into the windows of her soul through her voice.

"In November 2014,Catt had been through a serious medical emergency. She had had respiratory failure followed by cardiac arrest several times and kidney failure. She was missing from Second Life for a couple months until she was able to get access to a computer and get in touch with us.She remained in the hospital for several more months, but, with her laptop in her hospital bed she walked the Relay Track with her team once again in July 2015.   She got to go home in August.  While she was in the hospital more tests were done and reviewed and only 1 week after returning home, she was called back to her  doctor's office….. she had cancer.

"Now, I had never met  Catt in person, but  I knew she was a proud person, a private person.So when she shared her diagnosis  with me last year, I knew it not only must have been difficult for her to share something so private, but that is also must be  serious.  I recall her saying, a few months back, “ I want to share my story sometime. It might help others.”  To hear that coming from Catt was like someone took a mega phone and stood next to me and yelled in it.  It was serious….. It was Stage 4  uterine cancer with some metastasis.

"Never once did Catt stop taking care of others.  She tended to the Memorial Garden on ACS Island, she comforted those who needed comfort, never letting her situation overshadow that of someone else's.   Few even knew of her diagnosis until almost 7 months later when she shared her story at the Relay For Life kick off.  Cat became the curator of the Memorial Gardens at The American Cancer Society and helped many find the special place for a photo of their loved one.  She spent countless hours in the gardens talking to whomever happened by, whether for just a peaceful place to be or to pay respects to a loved one.  There is no better way to express what the gardens meant to Catt….than in her own word from her speech at the Relay For Life Kick Off last March.

"Catt had a fantastic sense of humour and loved finding the good and fun in everyone and everything.  To this day, I still haul out these bagpipes she had me playing at her wedding many years ago.  I sounded awful...just as if she had given me them in the non virtual world.  But I played those pipes every chance I had over the next couple years and laughed hard each time. 

"We has a lot of good laughs when we organized It’s Raining Men Date Auction for the Relay Rockers.  I think she had more fun auditioning the men than actually running the event. And The Chip N Dale Dancers, she had a wicked sense of humour when helping to organize that event.

"Her sense of style was to be envied.  She was not a model in Second Life but she could have outlasted and outplayed any top model in here …..why?  Because she had grace.

"I learned something about Catt, after she had passed, that shocked me.  She LOVED heavy metal music...she was a metal head!  Never in my wildest imagination would I have put Catt Gable and Heavy Metal Music in the same sentence.   But apparently she did do just that as she was wrote music reviews for a magazine in Los Angeles in the 80’s.     I wonder if she had the leather jackets and spikes and that wild hair that was the style of the day back then.

"I will forever miss our chats.  We talked about nothing and everything at the same time.  We had catch up time every so often . She had always found a new area to explore, new people she met, or just reminisce about some fun time from the past 10 years.

"I am so glad Catt was able to make Relay weekend this year.   She walked the opening Survivor Lap, and she walked the final lap of relay to the closing ceremonies. She logged off for the last time at the end of Relay.   I can’t think of a more fitting way for Catt Gable to leave this wonderful Virtual World ...doing what she loved… Relaying."

Christina Georgina Rossetti offered a poem: "Miss Me, But Let Me Go......"

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free!
Miss me a little, but not for long,
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go!
For this a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone;
It’s all a part of the master’s plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,


Chipnonk Zhong offered another after a few words, "Hi I'd like to share a memory of Catt. she was such a wonderful person and when I first came into SL, she is the one that found me and we got talking about Relay for Life. She is the one who got me on the Rockers team and helped out Diamond and Denimas do events. And she was such a great friend to me. I will miss her dearly and here is a little something for all of you that was written to bring us comfort on such a great friend."

I took a stroll down Memory Lane,
A journey that should have been fun.
What I found was hurt and pain,
Over things that couldn't be undone.

Thoughts - Slide back to the beginning,
Each memory - A vacation in yesterday.
No way to change the ending,
The happiness has gone away.

The Moon has lost its silvery glow,
The Sky has lost its comforting hue.
No magic left in the Rainbow,
To make the wishes come true.

The death of a heart happens so slow,
Shedding off the hopes and dreams.
Like a million flakes of winters snow,
and evaporating like a cloud of steam.

Doubts and fears invade my mind,
The obvious no longer apparent.
Happiness and Joy so hard to find,
When you lose a child,spouse or parent. 


Another poem was from Peachy Sassoon, "Life."

                      I sit here watching as
                      friends and family pour
                                 in
                     I look into those deep
                     beautiful eyes of yours
                     and start to ask why oh
                               why
                    Wiping my tears I listen
                     to my heart and hear
                     silent words spoken
                               here
                    I come here not to mourn
                    your death but to
                    celebrate your
                               life
                    You take with you on
                    your journey a part
                    of each and everyone of
                              us
                    In return we keep a
                    part of you within our
                             Hearts

Trader Whiplash had a message from Panza Elide, "When the thought of where I wanted to wed Bain hit me, I knew it had to be on ACS Island.  We had been to the memorial garden many times, visiting and remembering lost friends.  I wanted those friends at my wedding also.  Catt was our resource to contact, and she was so instrumental in contacting Sting and making sure our having a marriage ceremony there would be okay.

"That is my most precious memory of Catt.....her part in making my dream come true.  A beautiful, gracious soul who was always there to help others.When the thought of where I wanted to wed Bain hit me, I knew it had to be on ACS Island.  We had been to the memorial garden many times, visiting and remembering lost friends.  I wanted those friends at my wedding also.  Catt was our resource to contact, and she was so instrumental in contacting Sting and making sure our having a marriage ceremony there would be okay.

"That is my most precious memory of Catt.....her part in making my dream come true.  A beautiful, gracious soul who was always  there to help others."

With the statements and poems over, people began to talk freely, "I look up and smile, knowing that Catt is watching us." "She was a beautiful soul."  "Here is love for Catt from all of us." "May she rest in peace with Alliez." "She's probably already Relaying with Dr Klatt and crew." "There's not a doubt in my mind on that." "Fitting that the Lighthouse we all landed in so many times is outside the tent.""Alliez was her first friend in SL. I am sure she was there to greet her and show her how to use her wings." "Can hear Catt say I know how to wear those wings." "Catt earned her wings along time ago." "We are all that much better for having known Catt."

A number of people expressed their condolences to Catt's friend, Woodstock Burleigh, "Woody, we're here for you and share your loss, brother." "She smiling at ya Woody" "We love you Woody."

"Thanks for this memorial." "Thank you, Trader and Rockers, for sharing Catt with us." "Thank you for having this for us.  Catt will never be gone from us as long we hold her in our hearts."

People were then invited to, "Please feel free to wander out back and see the memorial. You won't fall in the water." Many of the people walked down a series of stone steps, which concluded with a cross standing over a circle of flowers, with a stone in the middle, with her name, time in Second Life, and a quote from the Bible, "My heart and flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever: Psalm 73:26." The stone's last words were "Relayer, Guardian, Friend."

"We will leave it here for awhile until we have the permanent home and will let everyone know," we were told about the memorial. Someone dropped a pink pony, "Rosa Pony! I still have mine somewhere in inventory." "The pink pony that you so laughed at Morgan and us." "I will ride my Pony Rosa once around the track at the next Relay for Catt." When it was brought up there were pony avatars that could be made pink, some responded they just might get one and do a lap around the Relay track next year in Catt's honor.

Eventually, people began going their separate ways. But they would keep on remembering their friend.

This is the time to remember
Cause it will not last forever
These are the days
To hold on to
Cause we won't
Although we want to
This is the time
But time is gonna change
I know we've got to move somehow
But I don't want to lose you know


Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, September 16, 2016

Discussing September 11 at Virtual Ability


By Deaflegacy

While the presentation had not begun at the moment, Shyla (KriJon Resident) said that she would put out a prim with the slides, presentation text, and a list of resources. She started it off with introducing herself as Shyla, a PWD.  Shyla explained what PWD stands for, which would be Person With Disabilities. She explained what we would do during the presentation. However, she explained that some of the information in the presentation is disheartening.  She does encourage anyone who becomes uncomfortable at any time to feel free to leave with no need to excuse themselves.

Shyla stated that September 11 is a solemn day for her as well as many others.  Although she was not in New York at the time of the bombing, she knew some people in the towers who did not survive.  For many weeks, she did not know their fate because she worked with them and she did not know their families.

She asked that before we begin, we treat this presentation, and everyone involved, with the respect and dignity that they deserve, "If you do not feel you can do this, I ask that you leave now in respect to the thousands who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and those who loved and knew them. Thank you."

The presentation began with Shyla explaining that the research could go in several directions.  She had tried to take what is a huge amount of information and put it in a very brief of time, "It is incomplete, with huge gaps in information. Even what we touch on today is, inherently, incomplete." said Shyla.

"First, we will discuss why this topic is important (I believe critical), to both PWD and non-PWD. Then I will share a few of the stories of PWD impacted on 9/11." Shyla said.  "We will discuss the plans that were in place, and in so doing, try to get a glimpse of the mindset at the time by looking beyond 9/11 at other PWD experiences in emergency type situations."

Shyla went on to explain that they will consider the effort to implement changes as it relates to PWD and emergency planning, "We will see things that have not changed. PWD who are present may be very aware of these things, and they are worth writing down in your notecard." said Shyla.  "Finally, I will close with some action remarks about what each of us can do to help move things forward. This will be especially targeted to PWD, and what PWD can do to ensure their safety when plans do not.  We will end with time dedicated to discussion and questions and answers. I will also put out a memorial prim so that people can take copies of this presentation, the slides and a list of citations with links."

Shyla could not remember much about PWD and 9/11. She was not disabled at the time. In 2001 Shyla was recovering from back surgery, but did not consider herself a person with disabilities, "Perhaps this is why I don't remember. PWD were not part of my 'tribe.' Today, I have joined the PWD tribe, as most all of us will at some point. Some sooner, some later. What I can say about joining the PWD community is it wasn't easy for me. I was prejudiced by societal views which have simply turned out to be untrue in so many ways." said Shyla.

With the presentation, Shyla began to look and found their stories difficult to find. This presentation is the result of opening and closing hundreds of web pages searching for them.  Shyla found them on disability sites and in US government reports. She clicked numerous links to archived pages long ago moved or sites long ago abandoned. They were on main-stream media sites, where PWD were primarily un-named sub-characters to their abled-bodied heroes. For an example, 'Heroes saved the woman in the wheelchair.' Shyla found only one main-stream media story which consistently named the PWD saved. "But all the un-named references led to piecing together a puzzle to answer, 'Who were these other PWD?'" said Shyla

"What I share today is important because it is about our narrative, our stories and how often we become 'objects' or 'things' without names. Less than human." Shyla said.  "When we are not human, there is less need to plan for us, as we shall see. It is imperative this change for PWD today and in the future. Why?"

Shyla talked about how the natural disasters have been on the rise from 2000-2009, it being three times more than from 1980-1989.  Most were related to weather, "As you listen to the stories of PWD, please know there is a concept in emergency planning which asserts that not all disasters are natural; most are the result of human error." said Shyla. "Emergency planners are faced with determining how ready they can be given budget and resource constraints. This leads, inevitably, to decisions which value some lives more than others." Shyla hopes to show that this planning limitation need not impact PWD as greatly as it did in 2001, nor as it often still does today.

Shyla showed a slide of the World Trade Center Memorial and Towers in memory to the approximate 200 PWD's who died on 9/11 whose stories could not be found. "Of the close to 3,000 deaths related to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, some 200 are estimated to be PWD." said Shyla.  "If 200 were PWD, I could only find two of their stories. For the rest, the narratives are vague or broad and lack specificity. But we know they perished. We know because we found their wheelchairs, or they were identified through forensic means as PWD."

They know because of the stories of some able-bodied people who survived. There are stories like the man who said his last image of the 80th floor as he began his descent was of people in wheelchairs and with walkers waiting to be rescued, "No emergency responder made it as high as the 80th floor. Orio Palmer, a New York firefighter who died that day, is thought to have reached the highest floor that day. He reached Floor 78." said Shyla.

However, Shyla did find two stories of two wonderful people.  The stories would be of Colleen Fraser and Ed Beyea. Colleen Fraser was on Flight 93 when it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, "Her legacy is one of strong community commitment. She had been recently appointed to Chair of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities. She was flying to attend a work related workshop on 9/11.  Her life was spent working to get people with developmental disabilities out of state run institutions and integrated back into their communities. She played a significant role in altering the state of New Jersey's attitude and service concepts toward the developmentally disabled. She was a strong, vocal advocate of the ADA and present at its first congressional hearing. She worked vigorously to improve women's health-care." said Shyla.  "I suspect, if she had been asked the day before 9/11, she would have shared a plethora of goals and work she had left to do. On 9/11, she was 51 when Flight 93 crashed."

Shyla went on to tell Ed Beyea's story, "The mainstream media spoke of him mostly as 'the man in the wheelchair'. Ed was 42 and became quadriplegic as the result of a diving accident when he was in his early twenties. He mastered an oral joystick well enough to land a job as a data entry clerk for Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the World Trade Center." said Shyla.  "On the day of the attack, as many of his co-workers exited, his friend Abe Zelmanowitz stood by him as Ed declined a stranger's help down the stairs. Ed was worried his weight would make it difficult for untrained persons to transport him without breaking any of his bones. Ed opted to stay and wait for help."

"Also with him that day, as she usually was, was Ed's aide Irma Morant. The three agreed Irma would head down the stairs and relay Ed's location to an emergency responder so they could come help." Shyla continued. "Abe stayed, refusing to leave Ed's side, as Irma headed downstairs. She did locate firemen and relayed his location and advised he would need oxygen due to the dusty conditions. Then Irma exited the towers to safety. Meanwhile, at Ed's side, Abe spoke to loved ones over his cell phone. They begged him to evacuate, but he would not leave Ed alone. Abe and Ed had been friends for twelve years. They were sure help would come. It never did. Both Ed and Abe died when the towers collapsed."

Shyla pointed out that there are more stories available about those who survived. But even so, only one main media story repeatedly gave the PWD's name, "That is the story of John Abruzzo. John is sometimes referred to as 'a man in a wheelchair', but more often his story provides his name, and those of one or more friends who helped save his life. John survived the first World Trade Center bombings in 1993. He remembers it took hours for him to evacuate the towers that day, with the help of friends. Sometime after the 1993 bombings, an evacuation chair (evac-chair) was placed on John's floor. Although reports vary, John's own words indicate neither he, nor his friends, ever practiced using the chair, but he knew it was there." said Shyla.  "He is not sure how evac-chairs were distributed in the towers, just that he had been provided one. On 9/11, he and his friends and co-workers figured out how to strap John into the chair and began to descend the stairs.  Their stories reveal the evac-chair didn't always fit easily through all the corridors. It was hard work. Still it was better than in 1993. When they reached one of the lower floors, they found a triage unit. Workers there told John's friends they could leave John there. His friends refused.  John was carried down the remaining floors. What took hours in 1993 took only 90 minutes in 2001 with an evac-chair. When they exited, John was placed in an ambulance and whisked away.  His friends were caught, minutes later, in the debris of a falling tower. They ran for cover. Ed and his friends and helpers all survived."

"Without an evac-chair, they would not have been able to descend as fast and would have perished." Shyla said.  "Had John been left at the triage unit, he would not be with us today either. All those at the triage unit died on 9/11 when the buildings collapsed on them."

"There was the woman in the wheelchair who was saved by Michael Benfante. Michael was repeatedly named in articles and interviewed often on his own. But the woman had a name and life too. Tina Hansen had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and used a lightweight wheelchair at work, just in case she had to be evacuated. She, too, had been provided an evac-chair, but forgot it was under her desk. Two co-workers, Michael and another person, assisted Tina down the stairs that day, ensuring she survived." said Shyla.  "Tina participated in post-9/11 government assessments and shared her employer, the Port Authority, did not practice fire or emergency drills. The Port Authority is a government agency working jointly for New Jersey and New York. They oversee transportation services in the area of the Port of New York and New Jersey.  Tina is not sure why she forgot she had an evac-chair in some interviews, but in one government report she cites the lack of drills as one reason she may have forgotten it was there, right under her desk."

"Tina appears to have been very hesitant to seek public acknowledgment of her experience on 9/11, one reason her story and name may have been missing from main-stream media reports." said Shyla.

The next slide as about two blind men who received media attention when they survived. The media referred to them mostly just as 'a blind man' or 'the blind man on the 68th floor'. "We shall see later, these two men were not the only blind and low-vision PWD who survived that day. But they are the two who receive broad media attention after 9/11. Omar Eduardo Rivera was the blind man on the 68th floor. When I looked for his picture online, I found it was often confused with the other blind man in the media, who we shall hear about next." Shyla said. "Omar did not think he could get down 68 flights of stairs on his own. He released his guide dog, Dorado, so the dog could survive. At first he heard Dorado running away, but then Dorado stopped and returned. The dog nudged Omar's leg and refused to leave without him. It was enough to encourage Omar to attempt the descent.  Along the way he met a co-worker who helped him make it down the stairs. Omar, his service dog and the co-worker all survived.

"The other blind man was Michael Hingson. His story is very different in one-way from those we have heard so far. Michael was on the 78th floor of the Towers.  In his case, his employer held regular fire and emergency drills. He recalled this made him feel empowered and prepared for an emergency.  When the decision was made to evacuate, Michael and his dog, Roselle, knew what to do and how to do it. He credits this as life-saving information." said Shyla. 

One thing Shyla didn't expect was the stories of PWD impacted by 9/11 who were not in New York, not in Washington DC and not on one of the hijacked planes, "Their stories are important too, for they remind us that what happens one place can have a huge impact much further away." said Shyla.  "Take Brian Cortez. Brian had been fighting for a heart transplant. He was rejected as a viable candidate because he was deaf and disabled.  His family, friends and even teachers fought to get Brian on the transplant list, and finally the decision was overturned and he was put in queue for a transplant."

"Shortly after the attacks on the twin towers, but before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began to allow planes to fly in the states again, a heart match was found for Brian.  The heart was in Anchorage, Alaska, but Brian was in Seattle, Washington. With planes grounded, there was no way to get Brian the heart he desperately needed. Brian was running out of time." said Shyla.  "After intense negotiations, the FAA authorized a small plane to fly the heart into Seattle. Brian received the transplant and survived.  Let me add, nothing about Brian's condition prevented him from understanding or following care instructions."

Shyla started talking about the plan in place, "This slide has strong words, PWD words -- strong, honest and to the point...” said Shyla, "The first are from Dave Hinsburger, who writes a PWD blog in Canada which has received numerous awards. He writes: It's just outside my door. The gathering place. The place where those of us with disabilities are to go in a crisis. Should there be a fire, an earthquake, a disaster of any kind, it is where we who move differently, who move mechanically, who move assisted are to wait.  I have been aware of this place, and places like it, for my entire existence as a person with a disability. On moving in to my apartment, a high rise, I'm told about it as I sign the lease. I'm smiled at. People are pleased that there is a plan."

"People want me to be grateful for the plan. Grateful that I have been thought about. But I haven't." Shyla continued.  "9/11 taught me that.”

Shyla talked about a blog called Reunify Gallery. They write: "The plans others make for us (meaning PWD) are usually not going to be as good as the plans we make for ourselves–especially if you are a person with a disability.”

“After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, there was agreement a plan was needed for PWD, but the effort was fragmented at best.  The final plan, of which I could not find documentation, was in part poorly communicated and in part lethal.  This is not an opinion, it is well documented in government reports as well as the events and narratives available from 2001.  Somewhere between 1993 and 2001, much of the effort to include PWD in emergency planning for the World Trade Centers lost traction.  Not just from within the government, but from within the PWD community as well. For example, although there were evac-chairs in the towers in 2001, I could not figure out who purchased them or when. Some information suggests each tenant made an independent decision about whether to purchase such chairs for the floors they occupied. Other documents suggest evac-chairs were purchased by building management for all floors."

Shyla went on to explain that Ed Bayea's employer Empire Blue Cross/Blue shield insists they purchased an evac-chair in 2000, a year before the 9/11 attacks. But, Irma Morant, Ed's aide, insists there was no chair, and even if there was, she believed only the fire department was trained to use such equipment. "In contrast, John Abrezzo and his friends used an evac-chair with no training and without concern about "who" was authorized to use such equipment. Even today, whether evac-chairs are for lay people or emergency responders creates debate. So it is not clear whether evac-chairs were part of a "plan" by building management or were provided as part of individual tenant plans."

Shyla said that the same is true for fire and emergency drills. Michael Hingson's story is one of preparedness through his employer's conducting of such drills, "I found no evidence that any other PWD participated in such drills, except one, The Associated Blind, whose story I found in a government report, not media reports. The Associated Blind not only conducted fire and emergency drills for their mostly vision impaired staff, but they coordinated with building management and the New York Fire Department. On 9/11, all of The Associated Blind's 9th Floor employees successfully evacuated the Twin Towers." said Shyla. "Reports indicate their employees were calm, much like Michael Hingson. This is credited to the drills these employers held."

"In 2001, however, the primary plan appeared to be that PWD were to make their way to a designated gathering place and wait for help.  All PWD who followed these instructions perished when the towers collapsed on 9/11.  If there are thoughts that 9/11 was such an extreme event, and that a gathering place works better in other situations, consider these stories." said Shyla.  "(Sadly, most of these narratives provided no names, though many are a part of government reports.)  A government report cited the experience of a woman in a wheelchair with severe rheumatoid arthritis. While at work, a bomb threat was received and she was told to stay put and help would arrive. The woman waited. After some period of time and out of sheer fear, she self-ambulated herself out of the building. No one had been tasked to help her or seemed aware she was in the building."

Shyla went on to explain that another PWD reported their workplace lost electricity and lights. The PWD felt they could ambulate down the stairs but asked if someone could take their wheelchair.  "Citing liability concerns, the request was denied and the PWD was told to wait and someone would come to assist." said Shyla.  "After two hours under emergency lights, the electricity was restored. No one ever came."

Shyla had found numerous stories like this, some with more disturbing outcomes. She believes that gathering places are not really an answer -- they simply allow those creating emergency plans to feel they have included PWD. "Gathering places pass the buck to an unknown entity to be responsible for saving PWD, and often that unknown entity is not informed of this expectation. But there are several take-aways form PWD stories of 9/11. Some very good ones. The first is drills work."

"PWD on 9/11 who participated in drills that led them not to gathering places, but rather to fully exit the buildings, survived. Beyond this, PWD who participated in drills reported being calm, feeling self-sufficient and confident of their ability and what they needed to do. But we know of only two employers who held such drills. If we move beyond 9/11, we hear other stories of grave concern surrounding drills."

"PWD still report emergency plans and drills which ask them to engage in actions they cannot perform. For example, some PWD cannot walk, crawl under a desk, stop, drop and roll, or use stairs instead of elevators.  Paul Ray, a quadriplegic, reported when he worked for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, MI, he participated in his first emergency drill 18 months after being hired."

"Working on the third floor, and being unable to use stairs, Paul went to the elevators. The volunteers redirecting people to the stairs were surprised to see him, had no plan for him and were not sure what to do.  Paul also said he had never seen an evacuation plan prior to that drill."

"A social worker in New York City who uses forearm crutches to ambulate was in a high rise visiting a client when they had a drill. The plan did not include PWD, so they asked her to simply not participate in the drill."

"A PWD in Oklahoma reported there was a fire in their building and there was no plan for their evacuation.  Afterwards they requested the employer include them in the plan, but the employer refused to update it.  It is against ADA requirements to not include PWD in evacuation and emergency planning. Sadly, however, this is rarely enforced for various reasons, not the least of which is many PWD never file complaints in this regard."

"A 2005 National Council on Disability briefing found PWD do NOT make formal complaints about discrimination in emergency or disaster planning. They also found the impact to PWD in emergencies is far greater than the number of complaints reflect. From personal experience, I have had employers who do not update plans because they do not know how to effectively provide for the safety of their employees, PWD or not. This is also not considered 'reasonable' under the law and does NOT protect employers from liability."

Our second valuable lesson surrounds communication. The National Council on Disability has worked diligently since 2005 to increase the availability of PWD emergency planning communication on all levels. PWD, employers, community based organizations, emergency planners and responders, government organizations, etc., all have more information available than ever before. On the other hand, the NCD has recommended government sites provide PWD communications in a variety of formats other than .pdf, including audio. For the most part all reports and planning information I researched is still only available in .pdf on government websites. Worse, some appear as in this blue box. A .pdf image which is scanned improperly. In this case, both selections have the world 'disabled' in them.  But as you can see, what they are attempting to communicate is illegible.  Communication progress has been made at Disaster Recovery Centers. All are now supposed to include a sign language interpreter on-site or via remote video. They are also supposed to have caption amplified phones, amplified personal listeners and emergency information available in braille or audio. This highlights another issue during the events of 9/11. Live closed caption services suffered due to the stress of the situation and long hours of coverage.  The result was many deaf people across the country had to unscramble words, sometimes key words, to properly interpret information."

"Some stations showed images of the towers on fire or collapsing without any closed captioning. Imagine seeing these events live with no explanation of what is happening. On the opposite end, some stations had text, but no audio, leaving low-vision and blind people unaware of the events if they were tuned to such a station. Although New York had a reverse-911 telephone system which could call 1000's of person with emergency information, even TTY, it was not used. I found no explanation as to why, and the various reasons some things were done or not done are too numerous to hazard a guess. Most importantly, as long as PWD are not integrated into drills and communication efforts, such events are likely to reoccur."

"Finally, I read hundreds of pages of reports on emergency planning for PWD and other at risk communities, such as children and the elderly. The good news is the PWD community is being engaged more and changes are being made. Sadly, there is more discussion than action. This is often true, and PWD are no exception. The result, however, is it has been 15 years since 9/11, and still many PWD are told to wait for help. To go to the gathering place.  There is much PWD can do to change this."

"PWD must ask to see the plans that are in place in their own communities, work places, rentals and ensure they have a plan of their own for their residence. PWD must identify deficiencies, assist in resolution and report when such requests are ignored or denied. Many PWD in the twin towers changed things after the 1993 bombings. Tina Hansen got a lightweight wheelchair which she always took to work."

"9/11 caused many PWD to change even more…Many considered their place of residence and determined how they would escape without assistance in case of an emergency. Some established plans with friends, neighbors and co-workers. And for some, these worked on 9/11. Some decided it was not worth being polite in an emergency. They decided they would yell, scream, make whatever ruckus necessary to ensure their survival. Some became advocates of planning, working hard to ensure plans included their particular needs in realistic ways.
 
Ultimately, there is a societal and legal responsibility to include PWD in emergency planning and resources to help make this happen. Sadly, these resources vary from location to location, so I cannot list them all here. But you can Google them. If you can't find them, reach further and ask, Ask ASK for them!"

"I'd like to open this up to discussion, but before I do, I will say again, finding these stories was not easy. They weren't there front and center. I will guess you have all had some thoughts today, some memories or identification of some sort. I challenge all of you today to write to write about it a bit. This is your story, your narrative, and your VOICE matters. Then look for one person you can share it with.  Just one person will be one more that has heard your story than before. If all PWD did this today, millions would hear our stories who had never heard them before."

"Before opening to discussion and question and answers, I ask again that the guidelines presented at the beginning of this presentation be kept in mind. Questions are welcome – there was much information I could not include in this time allotted. Please feel free to share your thoughts. The goal is to promote thought – therefore there is no need to debate. We can consider our position on various thoughts independently while maintaining a supportive environment. Let us be respectful of the memory of those lost on 9/11, as well as the many people alive today, some possibly here, who knew them. Let us be respectful of each other." 

Before Shyla started the discussion, she asked if we have someone who can type of someone who voices. Vulcan Viper and Zip Zlatkis stated that they could try. Then Shyla started the discussion and Q&A. It was then agreed that Zip Zlatkis would type of someone who voices.

The audience agreed that Shyla did a great job of doing the presentation.  They thanked Shyla for the presentation.

Gentle Heron spoke up about her personal story to share, "I have a personal story to share. Not as exciting as what you have shared Shyla. You did an amazing amount of research! My story explains why this topic is so important to me.  Many years ago, when I was still able to be employed and walked slowly on crutches, I worked on the top floor of a building." said Gentle Heron.  What I was supposed to do in emergencies was exactly as Shyla stated—wait in a “safe area” at the top of the stair tower. When I knew it was a drill, I waited…and nobody EVER came (or waited with me). One time, it was not a drill. There was a fire in a floor below ours. We could smell the smoke on our floor. I decided not to wait, but when nobody else came down the stairwell from my floor, I bumped down the stairs on my butt to the next floor, where I waited until nobody else was coming out of THAT floor.
 
I did finally get to the bottom…without my crutches. I sat on the bottom step and waited to see if anyone would come to help me. I was discovered still sitting on that step when the fire had been put out and everyone was returning to the building.  From that time on, I have been a big advocate of personal and institutional preparedness."

Shyla thanked Gentle Heron for sharing her story with the audience, "And Do1 Thing was a great program in this regard." she spoke.

"I seen one thing one time." said Lukey Woodget. "It was an invention. It was a tube made from material. At intervals there was elastic." Vulcan Viper thinks he's seen the same thing in The Netherlands. Lukey  continued to explain that it slows us down, "It could be deployed at any height and you just jump in it and slide right down the building. It was quite safe." Lukey doesn't know what happened to the idea.

Sister (sister.abeyante) appreciated this quote (from the Reunify Gallery blog): "The plans others make for us are usually not going to be as good as the plans we make for ourselves..." (Reunify Gallery) Self-responsibility is empowering in itself. Whether we do that in the moment (i.e. deciding, when our service animal encourages us, to make an attempt) or in preparation (our own or with others).... it is up to us. Self-preparation, self-drills, self-planning-really, this is a clear call for leadership...OUR leadership....in terms of both organizational and personal preparedness." Shyla thanked Sister.

Gentle Heron came up with links for evac chairs: http://www.evac-chair.com/ and escape chutes: http://www.escape-chute-systems.com/ She explained those links are commercial sites  "I have absolutely no faith in the govt or anyone else helping me in an emergency. I think it's a good idea to try to have your own plan to help yourself.  There's probably a lot of Survivalist type websites with some ideas." said Ruby Vandyke.

"I have encountered the response "it's too expensive to provide that" when I have asked about plans or modifications." said Sister.

"Sister, it is required by ADA, and you can file a complaint if emergency plans are not updated to include PWD." said Shyla.
 
"Oh! and I think one of the blind men who escaped the Towers on 9/11 spoke at one of the Helen Keller sessions here in Second Life." said Gentle Heron.

"Likely Michael Hingson." Zip Zlatkis typed.

"And Gentle, that was likely Michael Hingson, who speaks professionally now about his experience." said Shyla.

"Yes I think so...” said Gentle Heron.

Lukey Woodget agreed, saying, "Yes I think that was it the Escape chute."

Sister (sister.abeyante) nods, but is aware of the expense of filing an ADA complaint (time and attorney fees), too.

Gentle Heron had a question: "This session is good awareness and the info needs to be shared with everybody we know...but what else can VAI do to help each of us individually prepare?"

"Maybe brainstorm sessions? For specific situations?" said Jadyn Firehawk. "People bring their specific situation."

"Shyla, I think there are a lot or resources on the notecard." Zip Zlatkis typed.

"And everybody brainstorm." said Jadyn Firehawk.

"Shyla, another thing to think about is there are a huge number of resources and links on the notecard Shyla, I did find in many of them there were things I could do even if no one else did." Zip Zlatkis typed. 

Sister (sister.abeyante) noded, "That's the self-responsibility piece-so important." said Sister.

Rielyn Lane had a question, which was "what about plans for those who are chronically ill and could not manage at traditional emergency shelters?"

Shyla asked Doc Neuro Cyants (ecoli.gynoid) if she can post his notecard, and Doc Neuro Cyants said yes.

Zip Zlatkis continued to type for Shyla, "Shyla responds to Rielyn.  There were many reports in shelters that PWD were turned away because they were seen as drunk instead of disabled. There are many reports...there are organizations working on memorandums of understanding for information to the shelters where this takes us, we have yet to see."

Shyla spoke for Doc Neuro Cyants, "This has been extremely insightful.  So well researched and exposed me to many issues I simply have not thought about.  I should add, that I just spoke to my daughter, who is a designer for commercial interiors.  Luckily, I actually recorded this, so she is going to listen to it and then share with her team of designers. Thank you so much. doc"

Gentle Heron said it was a wonderful dissemination. Shyla said it is wonderful.

Vulcan Viper wanted to know if Doc Neuro Cyants recorded the event and added that it's the part of what AIM is about. Zip Zlatkis typed, "This idea that the mainstream media often refers to PWD as sub characters. Any media outlet needs to get an actual name for "the blind man on the 68 floor", this humanizes us.  I love John's story because he shares story everywhere. He is a special friendship and a commrad eand makes him human."

Zip Zlatkis then typed, asking if there is anything else to share.

Vulcan Viper shared his notes with Shyla.

"See if your state has a FAST (Functional Assessment Service Team) program. I know CA and WI do. The team is trained to help "people with access and functional needs" during emergencies and disasters." said Gentle Heron.

Zip Zlatkis typed, "It was not just disability things that were not legible."

"A legible one, I hope!" said Vulcan Viper.

Before ending the presentation, Zip Zlatkis typed, asking if there is anything else. When there was none, Shyla showed the next slide, which shows the resources that she used for the presentation. She also said that she is also putting out these towers which includes this script as well as a notecard with these citations.

"Thank you for letting me share this today." said Shyla, before ending the presentation.

The Landmark for the site is Tenerife (118, 143, 1343)

"That is the 9/11 Memorial - Always Remember, Never Forget." said Shyla. 

As I sat back in real life as people started to leave the place one by one, I am deep in thoughts especially by what Shyla had said throughout the entire presentation. We have been scarred ever since this tragic day. The best we can do is make things better for PWDs. In doing that, we would be making a step forward for a better and safe future for every one of PWD. For that, I thank Shyla.
 
Deaflegacy

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Memorial Service at Stagg Island


By Deaflegacy

The memorial stood up against the sky, with names of people who perished in 9/11.

As Geena Zackerly-Magic (geena.zackerly) described, at one end of the memorial is an eternal flame signifying the light of these souls and keeping their memory forever alive. The two recessed waterfalls, as Genna explained it, represent the footprint of each building.  Genna said that the beam of light in each footprint signifies each tower and are intended to light up the heavens for the loved ones as a guiding beacon to eternity.

People were encouraged to change the sky to match the Midnight sky when the ceremony begins.  I did that.

During the ceremony, the "Lanterns of Souls" came out of the water from both footprints, showing the rise to heaven for souls of every human who had perished that day. "Feel free to light a candle," said Geena. Some of the candles were already lit before the ceremony.

The ceremony began at 2pm SLT with the military.There was a live television broadcast that we all watched that day and a very comprehensive description of the events of the day. Lanterns started to come out of the footprint.  Music filled the air as we listened to the memorial.

What have happened on that day was a terrible, tragic event.  It is there for us to remember for a very, very long time as we stood at the memorial. With what they have, some people donated to the cause.

The only words were being spoken by people close to the memorial like with Geena.  For most of us, we just stood and remember what happened that day 15 years ago.

It was not something to be forgotten ever.

While music and lanterns fill the air, I remember staring at the screen in horror as the towers collapse to the ground.

The only thought was, "No, no, no, no!!!"

My heart had not hardened but I wept for these people lost that day.

SocialRose thanked all the men and women who took up the call.

Puma Concolor (pumaconcolorsr) puts it best this way, "To live in the hearts we leave behind is to never die. Remember those on this day 15 years ago whose lives were taken away needlessly. Their names etched on the walls before us and what price they paid to live the dream of freedom.  Never forget what they gave up to live the idea of peace. Let not one of us forget those who risked and gave their lives trying to save who they could. Remember those in the armed services who have and forever will stand vigilant to serve as a deterrent to the evil that befell out great nation that day. Hold close the memories of those who have gone before us and let them live on through us all.”

Geena said that the time had come to accept what has happened.  It is not a nightmare, it is real.

"The music you have heard may mean something different to you., however we offered you music that we felt best portrayed the feelings of the heart and emotions of the day. The bottom line is these beautiful spirits will never be forgotten . That day has been burned into all of our memories! Faz and I would like to thank you all for your donations to the memorial. This memorial has been dedicated as a permanent landmark for all Second Life residents to visit. Your donations help to assure its permanence. Thank you for attending the 2016 9/11 tribute, Be well and peace be with you !! ~~ Fazio and Geena Magic" said Geena.

It was a day that I would not forget for a very, very long time.

As I gathered the information up, we were told that the last ceremony would be at 6pm SLT.

We will be having the ceremony again next year as we always have every year for one purpose - to remember these lost in this awful event.
Deaflegacy

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Tantari Kim And The Last Call For Lupus Prime


By Bixyl Shuftan

Monday September 5 was the last event at the Lupus Prime Space Station, a multi-story structure high above the Blues Beach sim that was apparently used as a roleplay area with one deck doubling for use in music events. Tantari Kim announced a "Going Away Party" for the station in her group.

The space station is being dismantled!  But before it comes crashing to Earth, let's give it a send-off to remember. Theme is Robots and Sci Fi outfits.  I'll be playing suitably robotic music. C'mon down!  Explore the station!  Rock out!

Tantari was happy to see yours truly at the location, "Heya Bixyl. Welcome to Lupus Prime! Tonight, I've taken it over!  Muhahahaaaa!" She told the others, "Bixyl is my favorite news fox. He does the SL Newser, SL's finest news source." One of the dancers there spoke of the place, "This is the best space stations I have ever seen." There were well over a dozen others dancing along with Tantari many dressed up in sci-fi looks, such as futuristic outfits, cybernetic parts, or both. At one point, a cyborg collapsed, the batteries for it's mechanical legs having run out of power. Fortunately, someone was willing to press the button for reserve power.

Tantari would announce the music titles, and spell out some of the lyrics of the songs. At one point, she did something a little different, "And a TMBG track.. here's hoping you don't Become a Robot! ... My daughter and I changed the lyrics of this song a little... Foxes are great!  Foxes are good!  Foxes are taking over in your neighborhood! Three cheers for our vulpine buddies, handsome, intelligent and strong!  You might as well prepare for assimilation by singing along!" One of her fans went along, cheering "Yaaay for vixen scouts!" referring to a group Tantari founded.

Other songs included anime tunes, music from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Portal, and other computer and video games, Deadmau5, and other tunes. One Deadmau5 song was The Veldt, "Ray Bradbury wrote a story called 'The Veldt.' It's about a super robotic nanny that cares for the children.  But the parents think it's wrong, so they try to take the children away. The children flee into the machine. The parents go in after them and see a veldt, a grassland.  The machine made it for them. Lions set upon the parents and tear them to pieces, so the children can be happy forever and ever in the machine. If you listen closely, the lyrics follow the story. 'The world that the children made.... outside the lions roam, feeding on remains.  We'll never leave, so in love that we are.  In love with the world we made.' I thought this song was so lovely and peaceful until I researched it!"

One other song was named after supposed top-secret group of a conspiracy theory, "From Serial Experiments Lain, this very high tech song is MJ-XX, a play off of MJ-12 or the Majestic 12 classified project. In UFO conspiracy theories, Majestic 12 (or MJ-12) is the code name of an alleged secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, formed in 1947 by an executive order by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to facilitate recovery and investigation of alien spacecraft." One guy in a dark suit and glasses nearby whispered into his shirt collar "She knows..."

Tantari ended her set with the opening theme to the anime "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex," "I am calling, calling, spirits rise and falling... To become myself once more." It wasn't lost among the lapine fans in the crowd one of the songs in the anime was "Rabbit Junk." After the song, she commented, "Looking over this station, I'm thinking of another brave space station that served proudly, and then was destroyed.... 'Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal .. all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last, best hope for peace. -- This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.'

"If you're a Babylon 5 fan, I have a treat for you.  This song was written for an unreleased Sierra fight combat game that was never released.. but I got it! By Christopher Franke, the original composer of the series. This song is EPIC. Lupus Prime, we salute you!"

One of the crowd commented, "Watching everyone dance as I imagine the station crashing down onto Earth...." One red vixen stood and saluted as the song played.

Tantari was soon finished, "Thank you all for listening." The red vixen who saluted, presumably one of the crew, spoke, "For being here, Dankeschöön! " The stream was then set on automatic. People were invited to continue dancing, or look around the place. Many did, taking the elevator to various floors. There was a command deck, a docking airlock, a personel airlock, a shuttle bay, a reactor floor, and a deck with rooms that were presumably once crew quarters.

And so, baring a last minute save by someone willing to buy the place, Lupus Prime is set to fade away into the virtual nether. But it would not be forgotten.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Beach Party at Sunny Beach



 On Saturday August 27, some of the Newser crew and their friends met up at the Sunny Beach sim for a beach party.


The event started a bit before Noon SL time, and was at the "Surf City" hangout.


 Tantari Kim, who DJs every Tuesday at the Happy Vixen, spun the tunes for the first hour.


Deaflegacy was there, sporting an itsy bitsy bikini.


Gemma Cleanslate had her own swimsuit as well.


Anne Brightstar, a friend of the newspaper, also had her swimwear.


 ShadowRene Ivanova funning around in a microavatar.


 Not everyone was dancing all the time. There was some seating for those who weren't. Wesley Regenbogen was there, though didn't have a suit.


Quite a number showed up, including Sunweaver Chieftess Rita Mariner, Happy Vixen Manager Skylark Lefavre, and a number of others. Nydia Tungsten was there for a while as well.


 In the second hour, Grease Coakes took to the DJ booth.


 Breezes Babbi showed up for a little while at one point. Lately she's been spending most of her time in the Tombstone sim.


There was a 1000 Linden prize for the best swimsuit. Rita Mariner ended up with the most votes.


The party lasted for about three hours. There was lots of fun to go around between the music and the beach scenery.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Relay Wrap-Up


By Bixyl Shuftan

"All good things must come to an end." That old saying was most likely on the minds of many of the Relayers as they gathered in the Relay dAlliez sim on Sunday August 14 for the final event for the 2016 Relay for Life season. Since March, the various teams and individuals had been raising funds for the American Cancer Society, the high point being the Relay Weekend in mid-July. And now, it was time to bring the season to a close with one last event.

The location of the event was located down a walkway leading from the entry point of the sim, decorated on both sides with trees filled with pinkish-red leaves. Getting to the area where the event was held, most of the people were on a brick patio with a few on seats at the back end. In the front was a stage done in shades of pink and purple, with the "Once Upon a Cure" logo in the back. On the stage were four stools for members of the Committee, but only three people: Nuala Maracas, Leala Spire, and Random  Padar. In front of the fourth was a cardboard cutout of Stingray Raymaker, whom was talking over the radio stream.

There were a number of announcements made at the Wrap-Up, of which the transcript and a video went up on the Newser on Monday. The total amount raised this season was announced: 59,584,580 Linden dollars, or $238,338 USD. The theme for next year was also announced: "Passport to Hope." Confidence was expressed that the teams would have no trouble coming up with events and builds to reflect the theme next year.

Several teams had moved up  a level in fundraising since the Relay Weekend.

 Rising Star: Relay Pranksters

Bronze: Frank Sinatra and Company, Team Mingan-For Relay For Life Of SL, Eureka High RFL, Dragons for a Cure, RadioActiveAir, Giant Snail Relay

Silver: Dreamin' in Purple, Team Live Wire

Gold: CyberNuts RFL, Walking Tall For A Cure, Friends For A Cure, Madd Vibes, Too Tough To Die, E&S Breedables, The Quest for a Cure

Platinum: Fighting Sunflowers, Circle of Life, Second Life Cheerleading Squad, Sunbeamers

Jade: Meli's Maniacs

Sapphire: Purple Tears, Sail For Life

The winners of several awards were also announced.

Top Team Fundraising Award - Overall:

1st: Relay Rockers - 2,834,856 Lindens / $11,339 USD

2nd: Goreans In Relay For Life - 2,079,125 Lindens  / $8,317 USD

3rd: Harmony Of Hope - 1,927,177 Lindens / $7,709 US

Top Team Convio Raising: 1st - Harmony Of Hope $4,390 USD, 2nd -  Two Moon Paradise $3,924 USD, 3rd - Relay Rockers $2,610 USD

Top Individual Convio Raising: 1st - Sunshine Zhangsun and Cathy10 Longoria $1,400 USD each, 2nd -  TS Darrow $1,290 USD, 3rd -  Trader Whiplash $1,090 USD,

Beacon Award : Individual - Shiran Sabra, Team - Aether Chronoauts Tiny Steps

Gordy Klatt Award: Nikki Mathieson

The Spirit of Relay Award, Team, went to the Cure Chasers

"This team goes out there, year after year, and not only work steadily to raise funds at their own events, but help energize and inspire this entire Relay.  The team remains above the fray and is always assisting other teams and individuals.  They reach outside their team and outside of Relay to hold fundraising events and raise awareness of the American Cancer Society. This team took a new team under their wing this year, made them feel welcomed and supported and always had a team member at one of that team's events.  This team also stepped up and helped host an event for a team when that team was unable to be in world due to travel and family commitments. They cheered all teams in the volunteer group as each team met a goal.  Their constant cheering trackside for people walking the track helped keep everyone awake on Relay weekend.  For 9 years this team has been one of the most consistent in fundraising, participation, support and outreach. Attend an event anywhere and you will find Seinna, Alexia and other team members in attendance. They exemplified the the one team spirit. They are truly one of the foundations of this Relay."

Friends For a Cure received an Honorable Mention.

"A new team who wrapped themselves up in our Relay and carried an amazing bright torch as their part in the crusade. Friendly, so kind and loving within the group and outside of it. They represented our Relay with a spirit that showed the EXAMPLE of what the Relay spirit is. Amazing team! They attended every class, every Town Hall and if you went to any team event you could find them there!  They have ties to the live music part of SL and were able to spread the word further than ever in that genre and we thank them for that.. deeply. I'm so glad they've joined our group and am proud to call them Relay Family."

The Spirit of Relay Award, Individual, went to Dianna Wycliffe

"This year's winner is well known in Relay for her generosity of spirit and her abundance of relay passion.  With tireless effort, she helps literally every single person who asks for or needs help with anything, from finding their way to events, to setting up convio, or just helping run team events.  When teams needed event ideas, she was there  to offer some, when a relayer was feeling down, she was there to lift their spirits.  She led her team to success in both convio and linden fundraising donations. Whether getting eggs ready for Easter, scaring the bejeebies out of everyone in an early Halloween event, or introducing relayers to a special  Pet Relay event, she never stopped.  She volunteered as a Fundraising Advisor this year to help new teams learn the ropes.  And with all this going on, she still found time to be a familiar face at almost all the other relay teams events with words of encouragement and praise. She has been a fervent supporter of RFL in SL for years, talking on leadership responsibilities and providing a continuing vision for her team, Harmony of Hope."

There were two new awards given out this year. One was "Change Makers."

"The Change Makers Award Is a celebration of individuals who have made a difference to Relay weekend. They did something during Relay weekend that grabbed attention. An outstanding act of kindness or a remarkable contribution, memory or laugh to the Event Day. Persons who brought humor, understanding, camaraderie, dedication and a strong sense of Relay Spirit to the event. These individuals will bring new guests to share the Relay weekend experience, they’ll promote unity and spirit throughout."

Those awarded "Change Makers" were Eclair Martinek, Ricka Deerhunter, Fuzzball Ortega, Gem Sunkiller, Secret Rage, Madonna Daehlie. There was also an honorable mention to Sue Peregrine, "Her name has come up many many times for what she took AWAY from Relay weekend…...lag!  The nominations sum it up best…'lag free for the first time in the history of Relay.'”

The other new award was "Community Champion," which went to two individuals and a group. OD Designs was given the award as although they formed Relay teams in the past, "This year that team chose not to make a team but instead play host to a number of team events." The first individual was Zander Greene, "He is influential in the amazing success of The Fantasy Faire.  He has served on the telethon team that covered our Relay for years.  He has used his building skills in making ACS Island what it is."

The second individual given the award was a surprise, "Our second award goes to BIXYL SHUFTAN and the SL Newser.  Bixyl is a member of the Sunbeamers team but outside of the team Bixyl has been blogging since 2010  about RFL of SL throughout the years with his SL Newser. Bixyl we appreciate all the time you devote to highlight RFL of SL in your Newser."

The list of winners can also be found on the RFL of SL awards page.

* * * * *

Over the past few days, I've gotten no shortage of congratulations for the Community Chamption award, including from real-life friends and family who found out. I've very proud and thankful for the award. But a couple things should be noted. One is that the award wasn't just to me, but also the Second Life Newser: a team of reporters. A number of members, such as Gemma Cleanslate whom has been part of the Relay for years, and Becky Shamen whom has become part of my team the Sunbeamers, have helped out in coverage of the Relay in ways large and small.

And then of course is the first part of the award's title: community. The Sunbeamer's community, the Sunweavers, have been supporters of the Relay of Life in Second Life for years. Members such as Alleara Snoodle, Lomgren Smalls, Dusk Griswold, Shockwave Yarreach, Cynthia Farshore, Skylark Lefavre, the late Artistic Fimicloud, our chieftess Rita Mariner, and others have contributed much season after season. It's a community in Second Life which I feel proud to be a part of.

With another year behind us, the Relayers can look back fondly at the events, and take pride in helping fund more and better cancer treatments, and bring the day when finally there's a cure for all cancers a little closer.

"Go Relay!"

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, August 15, 2016

Transcript For the Relay Wrap-Up


Provided by Cuddly Waffle

[09:47]  Little Miss Waffle: Greetings everyone, happy Wrap-Up Day!!! :D Closed Captions for Wrap-Up will be coming up very soon! :D
[09:47]  Henrietta Demina: WooHoo! Go Cuddly!
[09:47]  Little Miss Waffle: Yaaay :D
[09:48]  Rowena Dubrovna: Thank you Cuddly once again!
[09:49]  Fuzzball Ortega: https://youtu.be/ZEJutE1v06g
[09:49]  Fuzzball Ortega: For Cuddly
[09:50]  Little Miss Waffle: LOL FUZZ thank you!! :D
[10:04]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: And we're baaaaaaaaaaaack!
[10:04]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: I love that! Thank you Sting!
[10:04]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Hi everybody! look at everyone out there! I love it!
[10:04]  Little Miss Waffle: (?)
[10:04]  Little Miss Waffle: xD
[10:05]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: we have a lot to cover, so listen up , cause we're gonna mention lots of names and info and share just how amazing all of you guys are.
[10:05]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: This is our time to celebrate you.
[10:05]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Okay, so! lets get going!
[10:06]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: I can start with the fundraising awards. At the beginning of the year we said there would be prizes for the people who raised the most money via convio.
[10:07]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: I'm working with the relay department to make sure the right emails go to the right people, so give us a few weeks on that.
[10:07]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: So lets talk about our totals!
[10:07]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting:  The convio total for this year was: 39,000 USD.
[10:08]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: I think that's the highest we've ever done!
[10:08]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: I belive the grand total from today is: 238,186 USD raised.
[10:09]  Little Miss Waffle: (Sorry!! My computer froze! give me a moment!)
[10:10]  Little Miss Waffle: (My apologies <3 br="">[10:11]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Thank you to Saffia Widdershins, Cinders Vale, Zander Greene, Elrik Merlin, Eclair Martinek, Lukeflywalker Fittinger for doing our track side interviews this year.  Keep watch on our youtube channel for those interviews and our ceremonies to be posted.    I would also like to thank Jara Lowell for doing some great videos of our Relay weekend.  Jara does these every year without us even asking!
[10:11]  Bain Finch: Try not to go faster than your computer can handle Cuddly. :-P
[10:11]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: A special thank you to Grace Louden Devin for building this beautiful Wrap Up area and to Sue Peregrine for providing us with the sim.  All year long Sue has provided teams with the D’Alize sim for teams to hold events. That donation has made a huge difference for many teams.  These two ladies have both been so amazing this year. What a difference you make in our Relay.
[10:11]  Little Miss Waffle: Kammie: We also neglected to thank Kammie for all the work she put into Relay Weekend.  Kammie worked non spot putting together the entertainment and helping Never with all our activities. Thank you for all you do Kammie!
[10:13]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: before we do the swag bag raffle, lets talk about the Century Cub T-shirts.
[10:13]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: ok so the Century Club is a RL t-shirt opportunity we give to people suting relay weekend. Anyone who makes a single donation of USD100 gets a free real life t-shirt.
[10:14]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: Once the shirts are made they'll be shipped out directly to you. They are official RFL 2016 shirts.
[10:14]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: Its the Paint Your World Purple logo.
[10:14]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: On the back it says Relay for Life of Second Life.
[10:14]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: those who made that donation and qualified will get an email this week.
[10:14]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Ready for some swag?!
[10:14]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Lets see if we can.. i'll try to put this out as i shout it!
[10:15]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: TS can not win this year.
[10:15]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Hold on...
[10:16]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: whilst you pull that up - the swag bag raffle - its two relay duffle bags. Each winner gets one. We're gonna put some other relay gear in there, like in the past we've done coffee mugs, notebooks, hand totes, just different itesm with the relay logo on.
[10:16]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: The winners are:
[10:16]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: AlexanderPalmer Resident!
[10:16]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Sue Peregrine!
[10:16]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: how many tickets did she buy?!
[10:17]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: That's something on our to-do list, to figure out how many were sold! Congrats Alex and Sue!
[10:17]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: So i will be sending an email to the two of you toget your mailing information.
[10:17]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: We do want to say thank you again to our Premier and Special Sponsors.  Your support throughout this relay season has been very much appreciated
[10:17]  Little Miss Waffle: Premier Sponsors:
Rockcliffe University Consortium
RGF Estates
Sole Existence
Runestone
[10:18]  Little Miss Waffle: Special Event Sponsor: Entice
[10:18]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Many of you may wonder just what do these mega events that sponsor RFL of SL bring in?  $65,584 just this year!  They play a huge role in our fundraising.  Each coordinator puts in months of work to bring us such amazing mega events.  We appreciate all you do in support of The American Cancer Society.
[10:19]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Our mega events this year were:
[10:19]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: The Sci Fi convention,Kirk Wingtips & Ariadne Fall
[10:19]  Little Miss Waffle: The Christmas expo, Nuala Maracas
[10:19]  Little Miss Waffle: The Home and Garden expo, Kaerri Rae, Cain Maven and Reven Rosca
[10:19]  Little Miss Waffle: and Fantasy Faire, Elizabeth Tingsly
[10:19]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: One special note Fantasy Faire this year brought in over 31 Thousand US Dollars in donations!  That is just amazing!  Be watching our website for next year's mega events dates and information.
[10:20]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Media Partners support the Relay For Life of Second Life by promoting the event, by telling volunteers' stories, playing Radio PSA's, printing our official notices and by sharing news throughout the Relay season and on Relay weekend...and by helping us raise money for the American Cancer Society!  The outreach they provide to all communities in and out of Second Life is invaluable.
[10:21]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: A special thank you to: T1 Radio
Krypton Radio
Whip Radio
MTFB Radio -Music to fly by
Cibigibi Radio (Pronounced C B G B)
Macchiato Media
Full Throttle Radio
Fantasy Faire Radio and Radio Riel (Pronounced REEL) :)
WTF Radio
[10:21]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Fundraising did not stop on Relay weekend and several teams have been holding events in the aim of reaching their fundraising goals.   Congratulations to the following teams who have moved up a level in the Fundraising Club since the July 17th Relay weekend.
[10:21]  Little Miss Waffle: RISING STAR
Relay Pranksters
[10:21]  Little Miss Waffle: BRONZE
Frank Sinatra & Company
Team Mingan-For Relay For Life Of SL
Eureka High RFL
Dragons for a Cure
RadioActiveAir
Giant Snail Relay
[10:22]  Little Miss Waffle: SILVER
Dreamin' in Purple
Team Live Wire
[10:22]  Little Miss Waffle: GOLD
CyberNuts RFL
Walking Tall For A Cure
Friends For A Cure
Madd Vibes
Too Tough To Die
E&S Breedables
The Quest for a Cure
[10:22]  Little Miss Waffle: PLATINUM
Fighting Sunflowers
Circle of Life
Second Life Cheerleading Squad
Sunbeamers
[10:22]  Little Miss Waffle: JADE
Meli's Maniacs
[10:22]  Little Miss Waffle: SAPPHIRE
Purple Tears
Sail For Life
[10:23]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: I love that you just keep going!
[10:23]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: I get the privilege of namking the Top Team Total Fundraising awards.
[10:23]  Little Miss Waffle: TOP TEAM FUNDRAISING AWARD - OVERALL
Awarded to the teams who raises the most lindens (convio and Lindens combined).
[10:23]  Little Miss Waffle: 3rd Place Team:  Harmony Of Hope raising  L$ 1,927,177
[10:23]  Little Miss Waffle: 2nd Place Team:  Goreans In Relay For Life  with  L$ 2,079,125
[10:23]  Little Miss Waffle: The Top Team Fundraising Overall, with a total of  L$ 2,834,856,   goes to The Relay Rockers
[10:24]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Before we announce our Convio Fundraising Dashboard winners we want to give a special thank you to Connie Mistwalker and Meli’s Maniacs team for a one time donation from a foundation in the amount of $2500.00!
[10:24]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: we just apprecfiate that you do this for the ACS Connie, thank you!
[10:24]  Little Miss Waffle: Top Team Convio Fundraising Dashboard: 
Awarded to the team who raises the most via the Convio website (outside of SL, US dollar donation)
[10:24]  Little Miss Waffle: 3rd place team: Relay Rockers with $2610.00 US dollars
[10:25]  Little Miss Waffle: 2nd place team: Two Moon Paradise with $3924.00 US
[10:25]  Little Miss Waffle: The top team convio  online fundraising goes to Harmony of Hope!  Harmony of Hope brought in $4,390.00 US to RFL of SL.   Well done Harmony of Hope!
[10:25]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Congratulations you guys and thank you!
[10:25]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Top Individual Convio Fundraising Dashboard:
Awarded to the individual who raises the most via the Convio website (outside of SL, US dollar donation)
[10:26]  Little Miss Waffle: 3rd place individual is Trader Whiplash with $1090.00 US
[10:26]  Little Miss Waffle: 2nd place individual is TS Darrow with $1290.00 US
[10:26]  Little Miss Waffle: We have a tie this year with our top individual winner with convio online fundraising. They are Sunshine Zhangsun and Cathy10 Longoria both bringing in $1,400.00 individually.  Awesome job ladies.
[10:26]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Well done to all our team this year in reaching the highest level ever reached in online donations!
[10:27]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Every year, your committee opens the  Wrap Up Awards to YOU….the Relay Volunteers.  You submitted the names of individuals and teams for the next 4 award categories. You told us your reasons why you think your nominations should receive the award. We encourage ALL Relay Volunteers to submit nominations each year.
[10:27]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Selecting winners for each category is not easy. There are so many, many deserving nominees.  We rely on your nomination reasons to help us choose the winners.
[10:27]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Today we will announce the teams and individuals that YOU,  Relay World,  felt were the most deserving of recognition. We thank you all for your nominations and wonderful comments in support of these outstanding members of our Relay Family.
[10:27]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: And now I would like to introduce my fellow Co chair Leala Spire who will begin our Awards presentation today with the winners of the Beacon Award
[10:28]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: The Beacon Award Celebrates one team and one individual who have made exceptional contributions to RFL of SL through acts of generosity or by providing leadership, creative ideas, skills or time without personal reward. The team and individual who utilizes events and Relay opportunities to bring new awareness to our group.
[10:28]  Little Miss Waffle: Beacon Award Individual : Our Individual winner is “dedicated not only at relay time but 365 days a year. She is constantly creating events, recruiting people and making RFL known to everyone.” “She is the reason behind her team success. She is dedicated to the cause and planned many joint events with other relay teams.”
[10:29]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Another nomination reads, “She has every quality you mentioned above and more. I look up to her and her warm heart when it comes to survivors and caregivers.” Another reads “ “She donated her venue and helped work to honor our survivors for National Survivors Day. She is a very special person and her passion is solely for Relay”. “   For these reasons and many others, our 2016 Individual Beacon Award winner is...
[10:29]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: SHIRAN SABRA!
[10:29]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Congratulations Shiran!!
[10:30]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Beacon Award Team: This team willingness to partner with relayers from all walks of SL life exemplifies what it means to be a "beacon" in our fight against cancer.  Fantasy Faire 2016 would not have been possible without the support of this Team. They came as merchants, as performers, producers and players, photographers, writers, and spinners of songs.
[10:30]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: They also reached out with some creative events to RP sims.  For this and other reasons, our 2016 Team Beacon Award winner is …
[10:30]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Aether Chrononauts Tiny Steps!!
[10:31]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: The Change Makers Award Is a celebration of individuals who have made a difference to Relay weekend. They did something during Relay weekend that grabbed attention. An outstanding act of kindness or a remarkable contribution, memory or laugh to the Event Day. Persons who brought humor, understanding, camaraderie, dedication and a strong sense of Relay Spirit to the event. These individuals will bring new guests to share the Relay weekend experience, they’ll promote unity and spirit throughout.
[10:31]  Little Miss Waffle: Eclair Martinek : Eclair stepped up and agreed to learn how to film in SL and edit videos so that we could create a lasting record of this 2016 Relay Weekend. She did it with passion, class and a stellar attitude. She cheered the walkers on, she built a stunning tribute to both survivors, caregivers and those who have been lost on the designer sim, RFL Survivor. During the weekend she could be seen in crazy outfits photo bombing people on the purple couch and adding to everyone's Relay experience in a positive way.Her laughter, her sense of humor, her giving spirit all make up a true Change Maker.
[10:32]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Ricka Deerhunter: If you passed by the Team Buddy campsite, you no doubt ran into Ricka track side and heard…..“Hey...challenge me to a game of checkers!”  “Come beat me in checkers!”.   I think he asked every single relayer on the track who passed by to come play checkers with him (it was his team fundraiser). And he always got a laugh or a smile, and even a few games of checkers out of it.
[10:32]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Fuzzball Ortega: Every year Fuzz takes to the airwaves after the luminaria ceremony, dries out tears with understanding and camaraderie, and lifts our spirits with his music and infectious humor.
[10:33]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Gem Sunkiller:  If anyone is literally waving a One Team banner it is Gem. She actually made One Team Creed flags she handed out on Relay weekend. Constantly on the track, she went around to make sure every luminaria was lit before the Luminaria Ceremony.
[10:33]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Secret Rage:  Not only did she build a great campsite, but throughout the weekend she was always on the track cheering people on. She brought new people to her team campsite and to Relay weekend!  Go Go... Shhhhhh Secret !!
[10:33]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Our last changemaker...
[10:34]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: Madonna Daehlie:  Not everyone can carry off 6 arms in a latex suit, walk the track, and greet everyone they see with the grace of Madonna!  She worked hard behind the scenes helping as a producer for all the DJ’s on air.  She has  a spirit of  encouragement  and great fun.
[10:34]  Little Miss Waffle: Leala: We also have an honorable mention for the Change Maker Award this year.   Sue Peregrine.  Her name has come up many many times for what she took AWAY from Relay weekend…...lag!  The nominations sum it up best…”lag free for the first time in the history of Relay.”  “0 crashes”  “ Only 4 region restarts”. “I actually was able to walk around the track, without crashing, for the first time ever“ “  That’s beyond change, that’s god like”
[10:35]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Congratulations to all the Change Makers!
[10:35]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: The Spirit of Relay Award  - Individual:
[10:36]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Awarded to the individual that embodies the “Spirit of the Relay”. “Spirit of the Relay” includes an overall performance from Kick Off to Relay Day. This award takes into consideration the “spirit” of the individual, how they embraced Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society Mission, and the enthusiasm displayed. Also considered is their participation in Relay activities, as a whole, not only in their own team’s, but other team’s events, as well.  Were they supportive and kind in RFL chat? Did they embody the ‘we’re all one big team’ aspect?
[10:36]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: This year's winner is well known in Relay for her generosity of spirit and her abundance of relay passion.  With tireless effort, she helps literally every single person who asks for or needs help with anything, from finding their way to events, to setting up convio, or just helping run team events.  When teams needed event ideas, she was there  to offer some, when a relayer was feeling down, she was there to lift their spirits.  She led her team to success in both convio and linden fundraising donations.
[10:36]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Whether getting eggs ready for Easter, scaring the bejeebies out of everyone in an early Halloween event, or introducing relayers to a special  Pet Relay event, she never stopped.  She volunteered as a Fundraising Advisor this year to help new teams learn the ropes.  And with all this going on, she still found time to be a familiar face at almost all the other relay teams events with words of encouragement and praise.
[10:37]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: She has been a fervent supporter of RFL in SL for years, talking on leadership responsibilities and providing a continuing vision for her team, Harmony of Hope.
[10:37]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Embracing 8 years of relaying with pride and passion, it is my pleasure to present The Spirit of Relay - Individual to Dianna Wycliffe.
[10:37]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: The Spirit of Relay Award  - Team:
[10:38]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Awarded to the team that embodies the “Spirit of the Relay”. “Spirit of the Relay” includes an overall performance of the team from Kick Off to Relay Day. It is not representative of simply the amount raised. This award takes into consideration the “spirit” of the team, how they embraced Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society Mission, and the enthusiasm displayed. Also considered, is the team's participation in Relay activities as a whole, not only in their own but other team’s events, as well. Did they embody the ‘we’re all one big team’ aspect?
[10:38]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: this year we have an honorable mention first.
[10:39]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Honourable Mention:
A new team who wrapped themselves up in our Relay and carried an amazing bright torch as their part in the crusade. Friendly, so kind and loving within the group and outside of it. They represented our Relay with a spirit that showed the EXAMPLE of what the Relay spirit is. Amazing team! They attended every class, every Town Hall and if you went to any team event you could find them there!  They have ties to the live music part of SL and were able to spread the word further than ever in that genre and we thank them for that.. deeply. I'm so glad they've joined our group and am proud to call them Relay Family.
[10:39]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: We are happy to present a Spirit of Relay Award -Team - Honorable Mention to Friends For A Cure
[10:39]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Now on to the The Spirit of Relay Award - Team winner.
[10:39]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: This team goes out there, year after year, and not only work steadily to raise funds at their own events, but help energize and inspire this entire Relay.  The team remains above the fray and is always assisting other teams and individuals.  They reach outside their team and outside of Relay to hold fundraising events and raise awareness of the American Cancer Society. This team took a new team under their wing this year, made them feel welcomed and supported and always had a team member at one of that team's events.  This team also stepped up and helped host an event for a team when that team was unable to be in world due to travel and family commitments.
[10:40]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: They cheered all teams in the volunteer group as each team met a goal.  Their constant cheering trackside for people walking the track helped keep everyone awake on Relay weekend.  For 9 years this team has been one of the most consistent in fundraising, participation, support and outreach. Attend an event anywhere and you will find Seinna, Alexia and other team members in attendance. They exemplified the the one team spirit. They are truly one of the foundations of this Relay.
[10:40]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala:  The 2016 Spirit Of Relay Award - Team is presented to …. The Cure Chasers!
[10:41]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Congratulations to all the award winners.  We have just a few more awards to be presented.   Reading through the nominations responses I would see this name pop up off and on in all categories.
[10:42]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Just as we have to chose just one person to represent The Spirit of Relay from the hundreds of Relayers who put in hours of work volunteering. I really think that this committee this year needs to be recognized for all their efforts. I would like to select one committee member to receive the committee Spirit of Relay Award.
[10:42]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: I am going to quote from a nomination we received “Tee's passion for Mission education is evident from the moment you meet her.  She reaches across the grid with mission information through her Mission Monday postings to the website, facebook, and group notices, as well as with Relay Rap and Tee Time on T1Radio every Sunday during Relay Season.
[10:42]  Mary Teodosio: WTG Cure Chasers! WTG Sienna, alexia, Callie, amanda! You're the best!
[10:43]  Little Miss Waffle: Random:  She develops and distributes posters and notes on mission.   Tee offers to attend any team meeting or to help a team plan how to integrate mission into their event or campsite.   She provides mission information at all Mega Events.   The amount of American Cancer Society mission information has grown in the past 3 years since Tee came on board!”  Thank you and congratulations to Ms Tee Auster the recipient of the 2016 Committee Spirit of Relay Award.
[10:43]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Our last two awards are Steering committee awards.  Over the year we kept watch for people who stood out to us for special recognition.
[10:43]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Community Champion Award:
[10:44]  Little Miss Waffle: Random:  A Community Champion describes a person who goes out of their way to do good things for his or her community.  A person who dedicates a large portion of their time serving others, selflessly and generously.   This is our opportunity to honor and acknowledge the contributions made to RFL of SL by those who aren’t necessarily even on a team or committee or even in the Volunteer group.
[10:44]  Little Miss Waffle: Random:  It is our opportunity to let them know that their service to Relay has made an impact and is so very much appreciated.
This year's Community Champion Award goes to several people. The first award goes to someone who has been involved with RFL of SL in some form for many years.  He is influential in the amazing success of The Fantasy Faire.  He has served on the teleton team that covered our Relay for years.  He has used his building skills in making ACS Island what it is.
[10:45]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Anytime any past chair or current chair would contact him for help the answer is always YES!  Each year he makes time to put together our Relay PSAs.  Zander Greene thank you for your years of support for RFL and The American Cancer Society.
[10:45]  Rowena Dubrovna: WTG ZANDER!!!!!
[10:45]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Our second award goes to BIXYL SHUFTAN and the SL Newser.  Bixyl is a member of the sunbeamers team but outside of the team Bixyl has been blogging since 2010  about RFL of SL throughout the years with his SL Newser.
[10:46]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Bixyl we appreciate all the time you devote to highlight RFL of SL in your Newser.
[10:46]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Last but not least.  Our last award goes to the Spirit of Relay Team award winner in 2011.This year that team chose not to make a team but instead play host to a number of team events.  Every week they held events for teams.  They invited live musicians and provided the venue for these events.  Their support for many of the teams was instrumental in that teams fundraising level.
[10:46]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Thank you to OD DESIGNS!  Specifically ORTHO VARGAS & DAISEZE DAHLSTROM.  You truly show the Spirit of Relay in everything you do!
[10:47]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Dr Gordy Klatt Award:
[10:47]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: For those of you who are unsure just who Dr Gordy Klatt is.  Dr Gordy was a colorectal surgeon who, in 1985, decided that he wanted to do more to fight cancer and wanted to raise a significant amount of money to fund the mission of the American Cancer Society.  Dr. Klatt ran and walked around a track for 24 hours that year and raised $27,000.
[10:47]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: The next year, others joined him, taking turns for the duration of the event...and Relay For Life was born.  We lost Dr Gordy Klatt to cancer in 2014.  In memory of his pioneering spirit and steadfast dedication to Relay For Life, The Dr Gordy Klatt award goes to someone who has demonstrated the level of commitment and dedication to the cause...who has put the big picture ahead of their own interests, and whose footprint and legacy will always be a part of the Relay For LIfe of Second Life story.
[10:48]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: The recipient of the Dr Gordy Klatt award is a name familiar to many in secondlife.   She began relaying in SL in 2007.  A huge Big Brother fan she met like minded women on the Big Brother message boards.  She came into SL and began a BB team! Not only a team but the top fundraising team.  It didn’t take her long to put her creative vision into action in developing the Home & Garden expo as a team event and the Fashion Faire expo as a mega event.
[10:49]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: By 2011 she was Mamap Beerbaums co chair and was our Event Chair in 2013 and 2014.  During her stay as Chair, RFL of SL brought in over 800 thousand dollars in just 2 years!  She continues to Relay and served last year and this year as our awards lead.  A woman with an amazing vision and beautiful heart.
[10:49]  Little Miss Waffle: Random:  I am so proud and honored to give this years Dr Gordy Klatt award to Nikki Mathieson.
[10:49]  Mary Teodosio: /a
[10:50]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: First, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in Relay For LIfe of Second Life this year. I know that our Team Captains work hard for so many months to organize your team, you commit yourselves to planning fundraising and awareness events to your respective communities, and it often is a thankless job...and so you certainly deserve kudos for a job well done this year!
[10:51]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: Our Relay Committee has once again come together and embraced the changes that we set forth with in the beginning of the year, and as a result, we were able to reach new people who formed new teams across the grid. Second Life is constantly evolvingI...people come and go...and Relay is no different. It is important that each year, we are creative with our event vision and that we allow new people to step up and stand on the shoulders of those who have come before them.
[10:51]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: Thank you to Nuala & Leala - for filling the role of Co-Chairs this year. It’s such an important role in Relay and one that you both filled with passion by sharing your vision, your ideas, your experience, and your time … with whatever was asked of you throughout the year.
[10:52]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: And Random - thank YOU so very much for the past two years serving as Chair of Relay For Life of Second Life. You are an amazing woman and you took care of Relay with grace and dignity.  You overcame adversity, you led us through some major changes to the Second Life community.
[10:53]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: I believe that your legacy will be that you were a strong leader with the right combination of organization, iron will, and loving heart that was necessary to navigate us through this transition period. As we move forward in Relay, I know you will be a great addition to the “Relay Elders” with Mama & Nikki, Tay, Fay, and Jade…and quite honestly, I think you’ll enjoy that role a lot.
[10:53]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: As I expressed to you already, I don’t know the right words that can be used to express how thankful I am and how lucky RFL in SL is to have you in our lives ...to have worked with you in Relay…to call you my friend. You are an incredibly strong woman and I really don’t think that anyone could have led Relay the last two years the way you did…which was the way it needed to be done.
[10:55]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
[10:55]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: And now, it’s time to unveil the 2017 Relay For Life of Second Life Theme that was voted on by you, our team captains, team members, survivors, and volunteers.
[10:56]  Little Miss Waffle: The 2017 theme is: PASSPORT TO HOPE!
[10:57]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: I think you guys made a great choice and its gonna be a theme everyone has a good time interpreting.
[10:57]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: And finally, as I’ve  mentioned time and time again...and even just a minute ago - we all know that Relay For LIfe is an ever-changing, always creative, special event that requires a lot of people who are committed to planning and organizing the event.
[10:57]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting:  In order to continue moving the event forward...through the current and future changes that are occurring in Second Life, the grid, and the virtual space...we have reached the time where Random will pass the torch on to the next Chair of Relay For Life of Second Life.
[10:57]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: Our next Chair comes to us with many years of experience in Relay, both in Second Life and in her local community. She has served as a committee member, a staff partner, a Co-Chair, and has seen Second Life Relay grow from the very beginning.
[10:58]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: And I have watched her grow and evolve, herself, throughout her own personal Relay journey.
[10:58]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: Through conversations in making this decision, I have full confidence that her vision for our event is one that we are ready for and one that our committed teams and volunteers will appreciate. Every Chair steps into the role with their own vision...with respect for where past Chairs have brought the event.
[10:58]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: She will stand on the shoulders of our past Chairs and carry on some of their traditions while establishing some new ones of her own. She is committed to carrying on the legacy of our event being one unified community of teams who come together to celebrate the cancer survivors in our lives, to celebrate the diversity that makes up this event, to raise money for the American Cancer Society, and to have fun while doing it!
[10:59]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: I am pleased to announce (not introduce because you all know her already, I’m sure) our 2017 Chair of Relay For Life of Second Life will be Nuala Maracas.
[10:59]  Little Miss Waffle: Sting: But before we hear from Nuala, we have one more chance to hear from Random.
[11:00]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Thank you so much Sting!  Congratulations to you RFL of  SL Volunteers.   You all are heroes! Thank you for the hours, the days and the months that you have put in to make such an amazing difference in our fight against cancer.  I am so proud of all of you.   From teams. to committee, to mega events, to supporters.
[11:00]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Together we had a wonderful Relay season.  I personally feel this season has been our best!   Our Relay family supported each other, taught each other and had an amazing lag free Relay weekend together.
[11:00]  Little Miss Waffle: Random:  I have served on the RFL of SL committee now for 5 years.  You have given me 2 memorable years as your chair.  I need to thank my mentors Mamap Beerbaum and Nikki Mathieson for being with me every step of the way.  TS thank you for your love, your encouragement and patience.
[11:01]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Sting thank you for our friendship and that inner humor and passion for Relay that we share.  To all of you my Relay Family  I thank you for your encouragement, your support and your cherished friendship.  I have loved every minute of this unique Relay and you will be seeing me next year alongside you!
[11:01]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: In closing I have to say....
[11:01]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: I absolutely love our theme for next year Passport to Hope!   When I think of that I am reminded that each and everyone of us are supporting The American Cancer Society in putting an end to cancer as we know it.
[11:02]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Our hope is that no longer will it be a major health concern for any nation!    As I went back and reviewed our team registration, I glanced at all the countries that you all come from.  Very similar to these Olympics we all are watching.  Yet not.  We don't compete but work together with one hope.
[11:02]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: We need that passport that takes us world wide to ban together to fight this deadly disease that robs us of our loved ones. Every person here whether you live in the US, Denmark, Japan, England, Germany, Portugal, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil,  Spain, Romania, Ireland, Finland, Scotland, France or Australia makes a difference in this battle that knows no boundaries.  This hope is not contained in one Nation.  The American Cancer Society's efforts affect us all.
[11:03]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Our Relay is unlike any other in the world.  No other Relay has relayers  from every corner of this world.  We have that passport to Hope!  United together we are strong. Each of us hold that Passport to Hope that will affect every nation on this earth.
[11:03]  Little Miss Waffle: Random: Now please join me in welcoming our 2017 Event Chair Nuala Maracas
[11:04]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Thank you Random! I just want to take a moment to say it was a pleasure to work with you this past year. Your heart is as big as the sun. Over the year i have come to consider you a good friend. Your passion for relay is second to none.
[11:04]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: When Sting approached me to be Event Chair for 2017, I got to thinking about the experiences I have had over the years with what are 2 very different types of Relay’s.  Our Relay in Second Life truly is unique.  Although there are certain standards and guidelines that need to be followed, and the Why We Relay remains the same in both worlds….. The HOW we relay is vastly different.
[11:04]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: How many times have you heard people say.. ..” We need to think outside of the box.”
[11:05]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: My vision for Relay in 2017 is Not a Relay that thinks outside the box.
[11:05]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: We are Relay For Life of Second Life ….we DON’T think outside the box….. .WE BREAK THE BOX!
[11:05]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Let’s be sure we are making our events incredible experience.  That they are meaningful to anyone who attends. Let’s recognize our volunteers, our teams, our survivors, our caregivers, our sponsors, and anyone who participates.   Let’s make all our events jammed packed with fun.  Why?   Because every time someone attends your Relay events we want them to walk away saying “Wow” and to tell their friends about the amazing experience they had.
[11:05]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: The Relay experience is THE one thing that sets up apart from all the other events in Second Life.  It makes people want to come back year after year and helps us to evolve.
[11:06]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: An event is any planned social  or public gathering. That does not sound too exciting.  But an experience, by definition, is an event or occurrence that leaves an impression on you or someone else.
[11:06]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: Every single time someone comes to one of your Relay events, we need to give them the ultimate experience so it creates an impression on them, so it will leave an impression on them EVERY time.
[11:06]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: I ask all relayers to join in my vision to make 2017 the ultimate Relay Experience! To take the time between now and the kick off  in March, to create and plan  what YOU can to do to deliver the ultimate Relay Experience, not just to our relay community but to all of Second Life.  An experience that leaves the best impression on every person who comes to one of your events.
[11:07]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: The 2017 Relay For Life of Second Life committee will most certainly be working to deliver the ultimate Relay experience.  I challenge you as individual relayers, relay teams and as The Relay Community to BREAK THE BOX  in 2017!
[11:07]  Little Miss Waffle: Nuala: See you in March !!  Go Relay !!



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