Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ride for Roswell

10 March, 2010

Ride for Roswell

Awhile back a very nice man called Aaron Cianci had a talk with me about Ride for Roswell. I promised him a blog about it, timed for about now.

Ride for Roswell is an annual fundraiser for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. This year's ride will take place on Saturday, 26 June. Cyclists from the area and all around the world will ride 62.5-mile, 44-mile, 33-mile, 30-mile, and 20-mile routes (there are short routes for beginnings and the less-than-physically-fit).

Well, guess what? Aaron is working on a ride for Second Life.

Cheyenne checks her bike before the Ride for Roswell in Second Life

Here's Aaron's info on the Second Life Ride for Roswell ride, which will take place 12 May between 6:30 and 10:30 pm LST:
Thank you so much for your interest in contributing to the 2010 Ride for Roswell, to benefit the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, United States. Whether you are a cancer survivor yourself, or the friend or loved one of someone who is fighting cancer or who has lost that fight, we are banding together this year to increase awareness and to provide funding for the next year of patient care and research at the Institute.
Before I discuss the different ways that you, as a Second Life resident, can help to contribute to the cause with your time or resources, I would like to tell you the story of why I became involved in this project. Three short years ago, I'd never met anyone with cancer, nor anyone affected by cancer. I was very lucky that, at 24 years old, nobody I knew was afflicted with the disease, and I had never lost anyone to the disease.
However, as all of us did at one time or another, it was in my personal wanderings over the Internet that I came into Second Life, and like we tend to do, I began making friends. Whether it was playing Slingo at a local facility or just hanging out playing cards, I met people. And about three years ago, as of the time you read this message, I met a very dear friend of mine, whose name is ShujinTribble Kawanishi. 
Now, Shujin and I met at a club where I was working at the time as a DJ, and he was a very nice guy. We became fast friends, and though he was a humorous and intelligent person, I always got the feeling something was there, under the surface, that he didn't talk about. Well, some time went on, and Shujin (or Shuie as we affectionately call him) became a DJ at my side, and we worked together to help benefit one of the places that would become our home.
In May of 2006, the club for which we work decided that we would do a charity event, which would become an annual occurrence. While many of the staff had their own ideas about what charity to choose, it was Shujin's story - his very deep, personal story, which touched and forever affects not only his life, but the lives of those of us privileged enough to know him as our friend. This is the true story of cancer, and of angiosarcoma specifically, that motivated every single member of our staff and the 1,000-plus members of our club to band together to support this organization. 
ShujinTribble, like many of us, wandered off to college in his late teens. Now, Shujin is a social, outgoing guy now, but like all of us, things were a bit more awkward at that age. He didn't date much throughout college, only twice in fact. However, very near the end of his college career, it would be that second date, that second meeting, which would prove to change his life forever.
Fujin Tribble, as she was affectionately called by her husband, was a vibrant woman who was passionate about art and music, and to call it love at first sight was an understatement. As Shujin told me the story of he and his wife's meeting, "We both knew we were going to be together for all of time." I never had the privilege of meeting Fujin personally, but with all the stories that I've heard from my long-time friend over the years, she has earned a place in my heart, and I feel as though I've known her nearly as long as I have him. 
Fujin and Shujin were celebrating the birth of their first daughter, nicknamed Tiny Tribble to this day by all who know her father's affection for Star Trek, in 2002 when they learned of Fujin's diagnosis: Angiosarcoma, a quick-acting, extremely malignant form of cancer which is hard to treat, and is so rare that even America's oldest cancer center - the Roswell Park Cancer Institute - considers it a "one in a million" chance they would receive a patient with it.
Tiny Tribble is the beautiful young girl who appears on the sides of the donation box from which you received this notecard. There's a strong resemblence between her and her mother, and the bright, happy, brilliant personality that Fujin was known for by those who loved her, lives on in her daughter to this day. 
Six weeks after their daughter's birth, Fujin was regrettably unable to continue breastfeeding her first child. As anyone who has experienced cancer treatment, either themselves or through family members, knows, it's an unpleasant process. There were several surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Even with all this, however, the rarity and lack of research on this cancer left some pretty grim odds: Only 1 in 5 people who are diagnosed with Angiosarcoma survive to the five year mark. By comparison, 49 out of 50 breast cancer patients will survive to the five-year point, as a result of great breakthroughs in treating that condition. 
It was just under three years, though, before Fujin lost the battle against angiosarcoma, with her husband and her mother at her side. The part where Shujin always tears up as he tells me this story, which I'm now sharing with you, are the last words that he shared with his beloved wife as she fell asleep for the last time: "We will beat this for someone else. My word." It makes me tear up too. I've taken my dear friend's promise to his wife, and I've made it my own, as have the 1,400 members of The Feline Conspiracy. I hope you will help us to fulfill this promise today. 
The Roswell Park Cancer Institute was founded in 1898 by Dr. Roswell Park. It continues to be at the cutting edge of both patient care and cancer research, contributing significantly to not only those suffering from angiosarcoma, but also those who suffer from other forms of cancer, including breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and pediatric cancers. 
Our team, "End of Cycle for Sarcoma," represents Shujin, his daughter, and any here in Second Life who are able to contribute any amount to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. We will be collecting donations throughout the end of the donation period - which ends July 27, 2010 - for the Ride for Roswell. Last year, we managed to collect over US $1,500.00 for the cause. This year, we've set ourselves a very much more ambitious goal - US $5,000.00. EVERY SINGLE PENNY that we raise goes to research funding or patient care. ** NO DONATIONS FROM THE R4R will ever be used for employee salaries, benefits, investments, or anything else but cancer research and patient care. ** 
Generally, we've chosen to run our charity event locally inside our own club facility, and our members have been the primary source of the team's donations. However, with such wonderful experiences in the Second Life community that I've had over the last three years, I know that we, as a Second Life family, can do so much more if we work together. I want you to become a member of that family, to help us beat these diseases, for those who suffer from them now and in the future. 
Here is how you can help. 
1. Make a payment in world - no matter how big or small - to the box from which you received this notecard. Every single L$ counts - even just a single one! (Please make sure the payment is being directed to EndOfCycleForSarcoma Davidov - no other Second Life avatar should receive these funds). 
2. If you're not comfortable donating in world, or buying Lindens to do so, please click the top panel of the box. It will provide you with a small blue menu on the upper right corner of your screen, that will redirect you to our team's website on the Ride for Roswell event page. There, you can pay via secure credit card payment on the web. If you're not near the box any more, here is the website address: 
3. If online transactions aren't your thing, we've got you covered there too! Please feel free to send your check or money order (please denominate in US funds) to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263, United States. Please make sure write "Team End of Cycle for Sarcoma" in the memo section of your payment so that we can keep a proper tally of all Second Life donations. 
4. If you are a business owner, please consider contacting myself, Aaron Cianci, or ShujinTribble Kawanishi to allow us to place a small, three-prim donation box in your place of business, at a location of your choosing. You may keep it there for as long or brief a time as you wish, and return it whenever you feel the desire to do so. Corporate sponsors who, individually or among their customers, exceed L$10,000 in donations will receive recognition for one month after our live broadcast date, including a placard at our facility's entryway with a direct teleport link to their place of business, if they choose to do so 
5. If you are a club or venue owner, please send me an instant message about participating in our grid-wide "Ride for Roswell" radio broadcast, which will take place live in Second Life on Friday, May 12, 2010, from 6:30 to 10:30 PM, Second Life time. We have scripted objects to automatically switch your land over to our stream for the event, and switch it back when the event is over. Of course, this works best if you also have a donation box on your property. 
*** A FINAL NOTE *** 
Even if right now you cannot provide financial assistance, please don't feel left out. I openly implore every person who reads this message: contact your local cancer center, and see what you can do to help. If it's not financial resources, time and other supplies are always helpful in treating patients and providing much-needed assistance to these cutting-edge organizations.
I thank you deeply for taking the last few minutes to read over this notecard, and I hope you are inspired to help. If you have any questions or concerns about your donation, or you are a United States citizen or permanent resident who requires a receipt of your donation for income tax or personal recordkeeping purposes, please do not hesitate to contact me for further assistance. 
Thank you again for your time and consideration in this matter. 
Aaron CianciTeam Technical LeadEnd of Cycle for Sarcoma

1 comment:

Shujin said...

Thank you deeply, Cheyenne.... It means a GREAT deal to me that you would help this way.

I'd also like to point out that there are two products people can get In World to support us as well:

Bibiten Dresses recreated one of Fujin's dresses for me, named The Fujin Cheongsam, a red, Chinese-style dress, available for free

Plus Enkything Shoes has a matching special edition black shoe, the Fujin Saena, a near perfect recreation of the shoes Fujin wore with the dress. The shoes are L$150 and that price is a donation for the cause.

Again, domo arigato gozaimastu! I wish you, and your readers, well.

---ShujinTribble Kawanishi