Sunshine Zhangsun

Sunshine for Connecting 365 032313 pic 1

At this point, I believe Katya probably thinks I’m never going to get anything turned in to her.  My original date was assigned in early March, but I thought it was later than it was, so I missed it. And now, I just got a noodge email from Katya reminding me that my new date is coming up and I nearly missed it again!  2013 started out for me in a not so great way, and in addition, it has been so incredibly busy with real life work and a new role in Second Life, but I won’t get in to all the reasons this has been a tough year so far.

I am in my 6th year in Second Life and am experiencing a very different existence for the most part.  Last year, my 4+ year partnership ended which changed things a lot, but we have maintained a wonderful friendship and I hope we will continue that.  It isn’t always easy but it is best and sometimes the relationship is even better.

After joining SL in the autumn of 2007 at the urging of some friends from another game, I mainly was in to music, dancing, exploring, and creating my living space. It is funny but that is what I’ve done most of the 5+ years, but the friendships and circles changed through time.  I have worked as a hostess for clubs, I’ve worked for estates, and I’ve taken pics in SL for ages.  And since 2008, I have been involved at some level with Relay For Life of Second Life.  In March of 2008, I was dancing in a club at a St. Patty’s Day event and talking to people I met that night.  These people had an RFL of SL team and were planning to raise fund for American Cancer Society for the 2008 season.  They were very dedicated to the cause and really wanted to make a difference.  Because I have had many family friends impacted by the horrible disease of cancer, I thought, wow… what a cool way to give back and still be in a social environment, so I joined the team – Eternal Beacon.  We were a very successful team for the first 2-3 years and really had sooo much fun raising funds while having parties, events, and just being silly.  We created some great campsites on the Relay sims for the 24 hour events over the years too.  In the last 2 years, the interest from our members started waning and actually most weren’t in SL much anymore, but we kept on trying… and last year, basically only 3 of us were left.

Sunshine 365 post pic 2

At the end of the 2012 RFL of SL season last July/August, I realized my SLife was really different.  I was alone, and as I don’t make new friends very easily, I was really spending most of my time in SL taking pics and posting them on Flickr.  I don’t have a wide circle of friends and many that I do have are rarely in SL, so I decided that I needed to do more, and I submitted my name to the RFL of SL Committee as a volunteer for a committee position for the 2013 season.. I wanted to be a part of the overall event, helping one of the areas and learning how things worked.  I met with the Event Chair and a co-chair and we talked, and I was asked to actually Chair one of the Areas for 2013.  At first, I was not sure I could handle such a responsibility, but with the encouragement of a real life friend, I went for it and accepted the role of Events Area Chair for the 2013 Relay For Life of Second Life season.  I am quite honored to serve in this role because it supports every volunteer for this great organization.  My team is responsible for the building and design of special event venues and the Relay Weekend event which will incorporate 36+ sims.  We have planned and executed a successful season Kick Off event (on March 9) and will have our Halfway There Festival and the American Cancer Society 100th Birthday celebration coming up in May.  And we will also be planning all the fund-raising and special events that take place over Relay weekend too.  But we are just a mere part of what RFL of SL is.  In 2013, we have over 120 teams that will be participating, which is amazing.  We have had a fabulous year so far and have already raised over $120,000 USD and the season only started on March 9th!!   The 2013 RFL of SL Season has kicked off in such a big way, I sit here in awe sometimes.

Relay For Life is an amazing fund raising organization raising funds for the American Cancer Society.  The fact that there has been a presence in Second Life for over 7 years really is remarkable.  The Relay For Life of Second Life community has raised over $1.5 million US dollars since it began. The ACS recognizes this and supports this virtual community as one of the most dynamic RFL communities.  We have a wonderful ACS staff partner that guides us through all the requirements and responsibilities.  If you see a kiosk or hear of an event, and you want to help contribute, if you pay an official RFL of SL kiosk or vendor, you can be assured that your linden are accounted for and will be in the account of the American Cancer Society.

Sunshine 365 post pic 3

Why do I Relay?  Well there are many reasons.  Mostly because I have seen many family friends suffer and fight this disease with all that they have.  Some have succeeded and some we have lost in the fight.  I relay to honor those that have won and those that are still fighting and I relay in memorial for those that we have lost.  I relay in honor of those that give care, that research new treatments and that search for new ways to cure this disease.  I relay because I can and I will make a difference in this fight!  The RFL of SL theme this year is “Celebrating 100 Years of Hope” because 100 years ago, ACS was created and we all still ‘hope’ for a cure and an end to this disease.

My SLife is very different now.  I blog a little, I still take pics, I talk to friends and I spend a lot of time bouncing from one RFL of SL team event to another which allows me to interact with some awesome people that are giving their time and linden to support an organization that does such wonderful things. And I will be head first into more planning as the RFL of SL 2013 season continues.  If you want to get involved, contact me in world!

You can find more about RFL of SL at http://www.relayforlife.org/secondlife

For more information on Relay for Life:  http://www.relayforlife.org/

For more information and education from American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/

The Bio:  Sunshine lives on the east coast of the US and works as a Senior Technical Project Manager for a financial institution. Second Life is the opportunity to be creative and socialize.  She blogs some, takes pics a lot, and loves to create, find and live in natural environments. You can follow her blog, Sol Existence, to learn about beautiful spaces and events in SL: http://solexistence.wordpress.com/  and follow her Flickr for fun: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunshinezhangsun/

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