In looking over my news feed on Facebook, Rowena Dubrovna wrote just simply, an epic piece that I had to ask her if I could reproduce it here on my page. So, without further ado here is her statement that is so full of joy and a positive spirit we all share together;
I wanted to share some thoughts using my most powerful weapon- my words! Relay for Life of Second Life has opened so many avenues for me, it’s incredible to think about the person I have become and the people my teammates have become as a result of this wonderful charity and organization.
We are all here for one reason—to fight cancer. We long for a cure, we fight back to support researchers. We make strides by raising as much money as we can. But the incredible thing about Relay for Life of Second Life, I think, is the fact that it allows so many of us to become shining stars where otherwise we may not be able to be. We become these pioneers for a cause that we care about so deeply, and being an avatar on a virtual world actually allows us to come this far. It allows us to expand and maximize on our creativity. It allows us to reach into the depths of our imagination and take it as far as we can.
I am unique in real life, in so much that I lack the outright confidence to exert my imagination as much as I would like to. I’ve never been one to let barriers stop me. Despite whatever barriers that came my way, I still managed to try to support those that I have always wanted to support. As a teacher who works with students with multiple disabilities, I face a challenge every day trying to help them communicate to the best of their abilities. Some of us communicate using picture boards, some of us use sign language, some of us speak, some of us scream. My point is, my ability to communicate what I want and what I envision is somewhat limiting in real life. My real life work has me facing the question of “how do I help student A tell me what they would like to be done in the most efficient way possible?” every day. Sometimes, I have to answer that question for myself. I’ve found the answer, and Relay for Life of Second Life has helped me thrive. My answer is similar to that of many—our confidence issues, our communication barriers, our hesitation to reach for the stars go away. We can make a huge difference in the world that we care about, for people that we care about, for our families and our friends that we care so much about every day.
I’m seen as the quiet, awkward, shy guy in real life. My family does not know sign language, so I’m often just sitting there when family gatherings happen. My cousin recently described me as one of the quietest people she’s ever met. I laughed inside because if I told someone involved with Relay that I am seen that way, they would be perplexed. I was known at work for being the “strongest advocate” for my students, and I got that way by helping them communicate. That is exactly what Second Life has done.
I am so proud of everything that Team Strange Journeys has done. I want to paint a picture, two pictures, for you. I talk about how my communication is limited, how I’m socially awkward, etc. But it is even more so for Cuddly Waffle (don’t hate me too much for talking about you), who is autistic in real life. Autism can bring all sorts of communication barriers, especially with the inability to express, in a perfect picture, what their creativity wants them to express. Anxiety, stress, and constant paranoia is another roadblock that autism presents. Second Life in general is a great platform for those who are autistic, and it is definitely one for Cuddly. I remember meeting her. Sidonie and I, with some of our friends, started a Hogwarts Legacies roleplay (RIP, thanks Linden Labs for high sim prices :P). Cuddly showed up, and she was one of the best roleplayers we’ve ever met. If Cuddly had never told us about her autism, we would never had known or suspected. Later on she told us that it took all she had to even –come- to the roleplay, due to anxiety.
It goes without saying how impressive Cuddly’s journey has been here at Relay for Life. She has built some of the most phenomenal builds, she supports everyone no matter what team they are on, she is the driving force of the Castle, Home and Garden Contest, she stays up late and gets up early to make sure everyone is being supported. What’s more, she became a champion for those who needed it. With her transcribing, she gives a voice to those who didn’t have it before. Not only does that support the Deaf and hard of hearing, but it supports those without sound, those who don’t feel comfortable using sound and/or voice, and those with language barriers. Our Relay is international, and translators cannot translate through voice, only text. Cuddly’s transcripts allow the translators to do their magic. It takes a lot of confidence and ability to exert yourself to do the transcribing. For a girl who was almost too afraid to simply roleplay… she has become somewhat of a Relay mascot.
Sidonie and I are very proud of you, Cuddly, and we know that you will continue to be a champion. We are proud of your journey. We will stick by your side forever! We are proud of you and the way you handled Paul’s unfortunate journey with cancer. We will relay for him. I already wrote about Sidonie earlier this season for the Torch, and she probably doesn’t want me to write about her again.
My favorite part of Team Strange Journeys is we always like to remember what Second Life provides for us that Real Life may not. We have met so many friends of so many walks of life. I would never have imagined that I would be good friends with so many of you. It makes me smile and makes me remember what life is truly about. Time is precious and Relay is too important to let drama cloud our true intentions. We know that people make mistakes but we always remember what brings everyone to the table. It humbles us to know that we work with such a great group of people. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you guys.
We are so proud to be a part of such a pioneering event. Obviously, it means quite a lot to Cuddly, Sidonie, myself, and the rest of Team Strange Journeys. We are excited to be a part of Strides, Christmas Expo, Fantasy Faire, Fashion 4 Life, Home and Garden Expo, Castle Home and Garden Contest, and of course—the Relay season itself.
We love you all, and we relay for you. Thank you!
Thank you to everyone who’s been so supportive (and hopefully will continue to be! Lol.) I tried to include everyone that is on Facebook and has meant something to TSJ the past two years. If I forgot someone, shoot me in the foot, but I wanted to at least take a minute and type out all of your names.
Melodie Jigsaw, Cuddly Waffle, Mary Teodosio, Gem Sunkiller, Sigh Underwood, Sidonie Carlberg, Cathy Longoria, Randomp Darrow, Greg Cook, Catalina Staheli, Earth Nirvana, Tys Darrow, Leala Spire, Poppy Zabelin, Kaiila Mahoney, Bixyl Shuftan, Sandie Loxingly-Turbo, PrettyKitty Gumbo, MlDavid Mitts, Mia Aeon-Epsilon, Rhea Resident, Chevelley Roberts, Ele Underwood, Safra Nitely, Sunshine Zhangsun, Bain Finch, Madonna Daehlie, Stingray Raymaker, Nuala Maracas, Dianna Wycliffe, Nikki Mathieson, May O. Mingzi, Vee Tammas, Dawn Dreamscape Underwood, Sasha Fairywren, Luna Liriss Vonrandolf, Serina Juran, Debi Dast, Cinders Vale, Olde Eldemar, Wildstar Beaumont, Alexia Hykova, Gene McFadden, Cécilia Kanya, Jay Sparrowtree, Randy Firebrand, Rendal Constantineau, Suzetta Moonites, Shiran Sabra, Tony Mousir, Miles Beck, Brett Bertolucci, Debby Sharma, Pilot Airwave, Jenneh Thursday, Thathy Slade, Step Portilo, Pooky Amsterdam, Lomgren Smalls, MamaP Beerbaum, NinaSofia Constantine, Henrietta Demina, TJ Felicci, all of the Castle/Home/Garden participants, oh gosh so many people! Wow we’ve truly made a lot of friends, Cuddly and Sid smile emoticon
What a strange world…
What a strange journey…
~Once Upon a Cure~
It is just so wonderful to know that no matter who we are, our life styles whether in the Real world or Second life, we can all STAND together inour fight against this evil known as cancer
Once Upon A Cure, RFLofSL 2016! GO RELAY and FINISH THE FIGHT!