Friday, November 12, 2010
The Makeover Magic Committee cordially invites you to
the Makeover Magic Autumn Galas
DATE: Saturday, November 13
TIMES: 11am SLT to 1pm SLT and 6pm SLT to 8pm SLT
LOCATION: The Autumn Pavilion on the American Cancer Society island in Second Life.
Join us in celebrating the conclusion of this year's makeovers on six cancer survivors and caregivers.Our virtual makeovers are based on the real life "Look Good, Feel Better" program which is supported by the American Cancer Society.
The makeovers culminated in the Fashion Show which was held on November 7 on the American Cancer Society sim. Now it's time to party with the makeover participants, their mentors, the generous designers, committee members, and everyone else who helped to make this year's program a success.
We will have DJ Elle Kirshner spinning the tunes at the 11am SLT Gala, and DJ Summer Deadlight will be at the 6pm SLT Gala with her great list of music.
We all look forward to seeing you there!
The Makeover Magic Committee
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Behind the scenes the participants and their mentors put the finishing touches to their outfits ...
Meanwhile, the audience starts to arrive ...
... and Les Karson and Elle Kirshner get ready to introduce the show.
The show gets under way. Here, Sharon Yorkiv shows off her outfit flanked by her two mentors.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Synergy is a two times cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and has completed treatment. Two years ago, however, she was discovered to have a soft tissue sarcoma in her face. That treatment has also finished, although she says: ‘I will always be watched. But the important thing is that I am here.’
She is always ready to reach out and help people who need support in SL. She also knows what it is like to be a caregiver in real life. ‘My best friend developed a rare gestational cancer – choriocarcinoma - and her husband left her. It was a stage 4 cancer when it was diagnosed, four months after my goddaughter was born. At the time, I was in the middle of a divorce and had the space, so I moved them in so that I could be there for her. She wasn't expected to survive at first, and I am in awe of her grace throughout her journey. It was a long three-year fight, with intensive chemotherapy. My friend celebrated her five-year anniversary in July of this year, and went back to teaching a year ago. Attitude really can beat the odds!’
Synergy has been in SL since 2006 and is a founder-member and support group moderator of the SL Cancer Survivors group. ‘It was a great distraction for me and helped me focus on other people and not be swallowed up by what was happening to me.’ She is also closely involved in other American Cancer Society’s activities in SL such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC). She has recently accepted a volunteer position that is responsible for ACS's Mission Delivery across all virtual worlds. ‘Trader1 Whiplash and I are working now to set up the program. MSABC has now been moved into the Mission area’.
‘I am flattered about having been chosen as a Makeover Magic participant’ she says.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Sharon has been sharing her real life husband’s journey with cancer for a year. They have been told by different doctors that the best case scenario is that he may live to see their oldest son graduate from high school next June. She says: ‘I have learned to take each day at a time, enjoy and make the most of the good days and just get though the bad days.
‘You know how when a couple is expecting a baby they say "WE are pregnant" ... well in this case WE have cancer. A year ago my husband started having chest pains. It turned out that there was a tumor wrapped around his spine, which proved to be Stage 4 cancer of the duodenum with a secondary Stage 2 tumor on his spine.
‘From the time we found out, our lives became a date book of appointments for office visits, treatments and surgeries. Since he was diagnosed I have been doing all the things a good wife would do for the man she loves. Driving him back and forth, making sure he had his medications on schedule, helping him bathe after surgery, making meals that he could keep down and that would help him to try to put back some of the weight he had lost. I must have driven him to and from the cancer center more than a hundred times. Since his surgery he has a hole the size of my fingertip in his back that will not heal. It is the spot there he received radiation. I have learned to change the dressing daily to keep it from becoming infected.
Sharon joined SL about 13 months ago. She is passionate about her family and friends in both real life and SL. She says: ‘I feel very honoured to have been chosen as a participant in Makeover Magic. I know the real life program it is based on and all the good it does for people. This comes at a time when I was feeling tired out and drained with life and being treated so special is more then I can put into words.
She continues: ‘One night while in SL talking to a friend (crying on her shoulder is more like it) about my problems she said I should do a search for cancer support and I did. I was very happy to have found the SL Cancer Caregivers support group. I joined the group and within minutes I had three new friends. I started going to the group meetings and found out that I am not alone in all of this. And that there are others to lend a hand, an ear and even a shoulder.
‘The best thing about the group and help I have here in SL is that they are here when I need them. Not just the first and third Tuesday of each month like the RL groups I have found. During the day it's easy to keep your mind on other things, like real life (cooking, cleaning running Mom's taxi service...) For me the hardest times are late at night when I can stop and let my mind fill with all the things that scare me and made me cry. All the things I don't know how to handle.
‘I have to give a very special thank you to Akasha Divisadero [moderator of the caregivers group - ed] and Ren Stonecutter. I was in a panic late one night and talking to Akasha, she was able to have Ren IM me and talk to me about the issues my husband had. He helped me so much, I don't know how I would have gotten though that night. Akasha also stayed on with me that night until she was sure I was OK.’
In real life Sharon has been happily married for nearly 20 years and has two teenage sons. For most of her life she has lived on the Wisconsin farm her family has owned since 1919. She loves to cook and work in her flower garden.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Pro has a very rare form of cancer, a soft tissue sarcoma, which was discovered in 2005 after removal of a huge tumor which had invaded his right kidney. He has already had three series of chemotherapy and three major surgeries, and will soon have a fourth major surgery. Despite this he lives a busy and active life both in real life and in Second Life. He regularly attends the Hope Haven survivor support group meetings on the American Cancer Society island, and is working on establishing a new ACS support group in SL to help men to face up to cancer, and he is also hoping to start up a Relay For Life team next year.
Pro entered Second Life just over three years ago when a friend mentioned it to him. ‘I wanted to learn more about Virtual Reality Modelling so I came to explore ... and found a nice new world.’
Pro says: ‘I joined the SL Cancer Survivors Group after clicking on a sign at Relay For Life. I have met many wonderful people that have shared with me and I have met people with similar experiences that I do not have access to in real life. Global connections make the world a smaller place and bring into contact people I would never have a chance to meet in real life.
‘It's an honor to have been chosen for a makeover, but I have mixed feelings as I have been chosen for many honors this year. I almost feel a bit greedy that all these blessings are raining down on me.
‘I am not a member of a real life cancer group, but I am in church share groups. The experiences are surprisingly similar. The survivor family has become an extension of my church family.’
In real life Pro is passionate about his farm and his work. His SL wife and RL wife are the same. He says: ‘In real life, my wife and I share a love for computers and gaming. We garden and have a small farm and enjoy fishing and cooking and EATING! In SL I like tinkering with building, scripting, and sailing in SL. But my wife loves the shopping!’
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
In the mean time The ACS Magic Make Over Team would like to give special thanks
to the Fabulous Designers that made this entire event Possible !!
Dellybeams Gem Gallery
My little store quickly grew, and grew, and is still growing. My goal is to bring high fashion, casual wear, as well as style that pushes the boundaries at affordable rates. My interest has grown into skin creation as I have started to crave for make up out of the ordinary.
I am thankful for every person who supports my (severe) addiction to art and fashion. For every purchase made in my store it brings a smile that someone out there enjoys my imagination and addiction to drawing. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you!"
Caroline's Jewelry has timeless jewelry for everyday casual, classic, and formal wear. You'll find cameos, lockets, pearls, time pieces, fun and statement jewelry.
This amazing creative operation can suit you every second Life avi need !!
Jess was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer about two years ago when she was just 22. ‘What started as a fairly standard doctor's appointment for another, unrelated ailment revealed a tiny nodule on one of the lobes of my thyroid gland’ she says. ‘The biopsy results came back suspicious, so I opted to have the half of my thyroid with the nodule removed and tested. The results clearly pointed to cancer. I had the rest of my thyroid removed fourteen days later. Shortly after, I was given radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue in my body.’
Fortunately for Jess the treatment worked and her recent tests have come back free of any signs of problems. Papillary thyroid cancer usually has a very good outlook. She now takes daily tablets to replace the natural functions of her missing thyroid gland. ‘My side effects have been minor. My hair has thinned a little, I don't always feel as sharp as I used to, and some days I would rather just stay in bed’ she says. ‘For the most part however, I feel very good, and am happy that the cancer was caught very early in its development.’
Jess has been in Second Life for three years. ‘Initially I came to SL looking for a virtual 3D chat room. I stayed because of the incredible level of freedom when it comes to being yourself and creating, well, everything. I found the SL survivors group on a random trip to the ACS island via an information sign. It took me quite a while to work up the courage to actually attend a meeting, but now I am very glad that I did.
She continues: ‘At first I was rather startled to be chosen as a participant for Makeover Magic. This past year was the first year I participated rather fully in the SL RFL weekend, walking a full lap during the survivor hour and assisting my real life family with donating just shy of $50 USD worth of track luminaries. Being a cancer survivor, I had discovered the support group and had started to go to a few support meetings. Even so, because I am so new to the ACS SL community I never expected to be chosen for anything, let alone a Second Life makeover. After the initial startle, apprehension kicked in. Being a veteran of SL and because the type of cancer I survived was "easy" to combat, I didn't feel like I deserved a makeover. After some self reflection and talking to a couple of my closest SL friends, I decided that I should not feel undeserving. I was nominated because someone felt that I was worth it, and I should honor their belief in me. Through their belief that I am worth some nice things now and then, I hope to regain some of the self confidence I lost when I heard the words "you have cancer" in late 2008.’
In real life, Jess recently moved to the southern US. ‘I miss my family in the northern US and especially my younger brother and they miss me. I visit them as often as I can manage. But becoming a survivor so young convinced me that I should make a move and spread my wings while I still can. It became a little easier to bear when I was finally able to bring my cat down to my new home in this year. He and I now live with my boyfriend of three years in a lovely suburban apartment.’
In SL her basic avatar is an anthropomorphic rabbit. ‘I love to create. Building all sorts of strange things in SL is what keeps me coming in world multiple times a week. As for what gets me out of bed in the morning, well ... I prefer to sleep in a bit if I'm allowed!’
Can't wait to see those pictures, Jess!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Eros was 28 at the time. He had surgery at a famous institution in California followed by a full course of whole brain and spine radiation therapy. He eventually returned to work as an attorney and considered the event to be behind him.
Whole brain radiation is no longer performed routinely as it often results in cognitive and executive function deficits later on. ‘That was not known in 1993 when I had my treatment and I suppose that I was not expected to live long enough to see these effects. In hindsight, I can see that I began having symptoms earlier, but it was not until 2007 that I left work on disability. During that earlier period, I just thought I was “losing it”.
‘I’m now reluctantly at the forefront of our understanding of the brain, on the wrong side of the lab bench, and only too aware that we have little understanding of the executive dysfunctions that I exhibit and far less knowledge on what to do about them. My goal is to push the envelope forward for myself and others who will benefit from further research.
‘I am a member of the SL Cancer Survivors Group, and I am very grateful for it--more than I can convey in words. I must have searched in SL for “cancer” and I was fortunate to come across Poppy Zabelin who runs the support groups on the American Cancer Society island. This group is my anchor and I look forward to participating and sharing each and every week. I am so very grateful for this SL support community and for how robust it is. When I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 2008 it was this group more than anyone (other than my case manager) who helped me get there and were anxious to hear from me on my return. And I am extraordinarily grateful for the experience I have in this group of truly being listened to, accepted, and helped both practically and emotionally.’
Eros has been in Second Life since 2007. ‘I attended the very first virtual Passover Seder with new friends from all over the world who, like myself, sought community. USA Today later reported that Seder as well as the SL Palm Sunday celebration. I am still connected with the Jewish Life on SL. I have friends on SL whom I have known since I began here. And I am still making more.’
When he learned that he had been chosen as a participant for Makeover Magic he says ‘I was flattered and at first a bit concerned that I might be the only Y-chromosome in the bunch. Thankfully that is not so. As the process has unfolded, and working with my mentors, I feel more and more the importance of this event – to walk proudly, bravely presenting oneself to others as a survivor of cancer and to celebrate with our compassionate caregivers and our gracious mentors. It is a public celebration of a growing community of those of us who walk forward despite what we are asked to bear, and of those who allow us to lean on them and help us continue.’
In real life, Eros now lives in Southern California and volunteers with a couple of non-profit entities while he works on his health issues. He is interested in science and medicine and innovation.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Cher has lung cancer which was discovered in January 2009. She says: ‘Three doctors said it was “nothing” but one super doctor pushed it and felt it was cancer and kept pushing until he got answers. They removed half of my left lung. My doctors say the prognosis is wonderful because thanks to that one doctor they caught it early.’
Cher joined SL soon after she was diagnosed after seeing a television news story. ‘I just wanted to see what all the talk in the media was about’ she says. ‘I use SL to relax and enjoy doing the things I can’t do in real life. I found the SL Cancer Survivors Group by searching for any information on cancer in SL. The support is wonderful. It’s so much better when you can talk to others who know exactly how you feel and are also going through or have gone through the same things. I enjoy the support group meetings because I would never feel well enough to go to meetings weekly in real life. The support is great. Meeting and talking with people that understand living with cancer, and after it. That’s a special bond. I also try to attend as many Relay For Life events in SL as I can depending how I feel from day to day.
‘I was very surprised to be chosen for Makeover Magic. But then I learned more about it and I’m grateful and happy. I can't thank the people on the team enough for all the hours and effort they put into this to help us participants. It also gives us time to enjoy SL, have fun and not think about the medical issues for a while.’
In real life Cher is married, in her early 50’s, and lives in the North-East USA. She no longer works due to her medical issues. What gets her out of bed? ‘My real life pets – I have cats, birds, and fish – so I have to get up and feed them! I also have an ailing mother with severe dementia, and though it’s trying cope with alongside my own issues, it forces me to move forward in life doing her errands and such.’
Thank you Cher for sharing your story.
Poppy Zabelin writes: Yesterday I attended the live showing of Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe where Makeover Magic coordinators Cinders Vale and Boot Janus were interviewed about the Makeover Magic program and how it relates to the real world Look Good...Feel Better program.
Updated November 12, 2010 - here is the link to the show on the Treet archive: