One of the biggest reasons why I continue to log into SL (albeit much less these days) is because of Relay for Life. Second Life has been involved in the fight against Cancer with Relay for Life since 2005, as have I. It's just a game, you say? Well, let me tell you what a bunch of gamers can do!
In 2005, the first year RFL events were held in SL, a bunch of "gamers" (315 people) raised $5,000 USD for the ACS and RFL. The very next year that amount jumped to $41,000 USD raised and sent to RFL. In 2007 the total raised more than doubled at $118,500 USD! In 2008, the amount almost doubled again at $215,000 USD raised that year. In 2009, over 1/4 of a million was raised... $275,000 USD. By 2012 Second Life Relay for Life raised and sent $375,000 USD to the ACS and RFL.
Totals are still coming in for the 2013 Relay, but we again raised over $350,000 USD this year, which put the grand total for all SL RFL efforts at and beyond the $2,000,000 (million) USD mark!!! There were almost 3000 people who walked the virtual laps, exploring the creative 3D builds, donating, lighting luminaria, sharing their personal stories in their fight against cancer, celebrating loved ones saved, and honoring those we've lost.
3000 people from all over the world and every time zone imaginable came together for one 24-hour period to walk, talk, laugh, cry, share, love, and raise money to help find a cure for cancer. There was no hated, no prejudices, no drama. Just a common bond - to find a cure.
Now I know many of you have theories, conspiracy or otherwise, regarding ACS, RFL, cancer research, government interference, Big Pharmacy manipulation, etc.... This post is about NONE OF THAT!!! Please keep those comments to yourself or they will be deleted.
This post is about the amazing things that happen when people come together to work towards a common goal, even if they come together virtually. I have a lot of people on my timeline now who do not know what SL is and may wonder about the strange cartoon-like pictures I post from time to time. THIS is what SL is about for me. Not a game, but merely another platform, a social network to do good things. Relay for Life organization and the American Cancer Society have official representative inside SL and recognize SL as an official RFL team. Convio is set up to allow RFL donations to be made on behalf of the SL team. These are real people, real money, relaying together against a real disease. And I for one am proud to be a part of that effort!
$2,000,000 USD raised for the fight against cancer by Second Life residents.
Until there is a cure, we Relay!!