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ACS making an impact in Second Life community

Second Life is an online 3-D virtual world that is accessed by people around the globe

Within Second Life, the American Cancer Society serves cancer survivors and caregivers by providing a connection to NCIC via IM chat and a cancer information library by means of cancer.org. We also offer a connection to the Hope Lodge program, Personal Health Manager Kits, and wig requests, as needed.

Second Life uses the virtual world to form groups of common interest, instant message friends, hold voice conversations, and design/build digital/pixel avatars and environments.

The American Cancer Society's office within Second Life is called the American Cancer Society Island. There are two reasons people visit the ACS Island — to volunteer and to seek our help. People come from all over the word.

To connect with cancer patients and caregivers, volunteers host weekly support group meetings on the ACS Island. The support provided is like our real-life support groups that are held in a building or office except conversations are held online via a group IM chat. The private group offers emotional support and a sense of community.

"I want to say that the caregiver's support group has been a major help to me as a family member in answering some of my questions and in understanding some options my Dad may choose or not choose with tests and treatment. I have realized that some of the funding going towards support groups and spaces for these groups, as well as to research, is super important," said Eva Marie Zeppelin, a Second Life resident. "I have found this group much more helpful as a family member than counselling services paid for by my family's plan, as the group realizes the value of supportive listening and community and doesn't jump to try and put labels on the caregiver's feelings because they have pre-existing anxiety."

We do so much more! We also host a Relay For Life virtual event, a Making Strides virtual event, and house a memorial garden for avatars to remember loved ones lost. We are supported by 'Mega Events' like the Xmas Expo, Fantasy Faire, Home & Garden Expo, Sci-Fi Expo, and others.

  • Relay For Life: On June 8-9, the Society will hold an online, virtual Relay For Life event for the 15th year. Second Life participants will be able to engage in typical Relay activities and can raise funds for the Society from February through July, just like any other Relay event. The goal for the 2019 Relay For Life of Second Life is to raise $250,000 USD. Currently, the event has raised more than $60,000 this year. Over the last 15 years, this event has raised a total of $3.4 million.
  • Making Strides: On October 30, the Society will hold an online, virtual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. The goal for the 2019 event is to raise $10,000 USD.
  • Memorial Garden: The Memorial Garden on ACS Island is a place where a photo of someone who has lost their life to cancer (avatar or real life) can be placed in a peaceful garden. This provides an opportunity for healing and an opportunity for loved ones to return for eternal memories of their loved ones lost to cancer.

We are also having a global impact through this virtual community. In 2018, the Fantasy Faire was allowed to restrict all fundraising – $50,000 USD – from their virtual event to be used by the American Cancer Society to help construct the Kenyatta Hope Hostel in Kenya. This marked the first time that a Relay fundraiser was able to be dedicated to such a monumental global initiative. Another $20,000 USD was raised by the Xmas Expo in December 2018 to help fund the Patient Navigator Program at the Kenyatta Hope Hostel.

This is one example of how we are fighting cancer on all fronts in every community by: helping patients access the services they need, fostering cutting-edge research and breakthroughs, and advocating on behalf of cancer patients.

If you have any questions, please contact Jeffrey Montegut, senior consultant, virtual community development.


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