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Helping a Friend

Ok, I know I’ve ranted and raved about Second Life a lot on this blog, and some of you are probably getting tired of it. But, if you’re still reading this just hear me out this one last time, ok? I promise I’ll shut up about SL for a while after I’ve said this.

A few episodes back I made a plea to you to help out a friend of mine, whose wife died of a rare form of cancer several years ago. Alas, he fell short of the fundraising mark he’d set for himself, but not by much. However, undaunted as always he’s continued to fight, to raise awareness, and to inspire people to do their part in any way they can to help out.

Of course, people coming together to help fight something like this is by no means a new thing. When Joe Murphy passed away, and even before that, the podosphere was abuzz with calls to action for fundraising, spreading the word…everything social networking specializes in. The outpouring of support I witnessed as a result of that was nothing short of awe-inspiring…especially to one as new to the whole social media thing as I was back then.

Well, last night I bore witness to something so ambitious, I was left feeling humbled.

I was with a few friends on SL last night, and one of them had an announcement to make. Shujin (the man who lost his wife) was there as well, and the announcer revealed a fundraising plan so insanely large-scale that it was almost unbelievable.

The plan is simple enough: he created a small donation box (2 prims in size), and put out the call to every member of our little group (1300+ in all) to utilize their contacts to try and place these boxes all over the grid. The announcer set up a separate SL account to manage these donations so as to maintain the integrity of this charity drive.

But he hasn’t stopped there…oh no…

Every year, Shujin puts on an event in SL as a last-day fund-raiser for his charity (The End of Cycle for Sarcoma). These donation boxes will become active a few months before the event…basically when the Ride for Roswell starts accepting donations for the upcoming year. Well, along with the donation box comes another little present: A media box (I think that’s what they’re called). On the day of the event, this box will take over whatever audio stream is currently playing in the sim it’s in, and replace it with the stream coming from the fund-raising event itself. Someone generously donated a 1,000 listener Shoutcast stream specifically for this event.

Needless to say, Shujin was floored by all of this…as was I.

Even as we were listening to this announcement, land owners, club owners, and even a few mall owners were already making contact with the announcer, pledging their willingness to place one of these donation boxes on their land free of charge. As well, they’ve also pledged to talk up their contacts & friends to try and spread the word.

Based on such a huge amount of support so early into this, I’ve a feeling that by the time the event rolls around, Shujin’s team is gonna set a record for donations…all because of Second Life and the friends he’s made on it.

Not bad for a pixelated chatroom, wouldn’t you say?

Chris Hvidsten

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