Many of you who enjoyed our recent Designing Worlds show when Leyla Firefly made-over Cinders Vale’s home – and made a terrific donation to Relay for Life – will remember how Cinders talked about a different kind of Makeover – the Makeover Magic program for cancer survivors and caregivers. Now we’ve received new of a very special event from that program:
ON SUNDAY, November 7, starting at 11am SL time, there will be a fabulous MAKEOVER MAGIC fashion show on the American Cancer Society island in Second Life. Four cancer survivors, a caregiver, and a survivor/caregiver, along with their fashion mentors, will display their new looks. Please come and join us in this celebration of courage and caring!
MAKEOVER MAGIC is organized by a team of volunteers from the American Cancer Society in Second Life, along with SL fashion experts and mentors. The team is led by Cinders Vale, herself a breast cancer survivor in real life. This is the program’s fourth year. It is the Second Life equivalent of a real-life program, ‘Look Good…Feel Better’, a nationwide, public service program in the USA supported by the American Cancer Society which teaches female cancer patients beauty tips to look good during chemotherapy and radiation treatments, improve their self-esteem, and manage their treatment and recovery with greater confidence. Women learn about makeup, skin care, nail care, and ways to deal with hair loss such as wigs, turbans and scarves. There are also self-help materials available for men going through treatment.
The Look Good…Feel Better program was founded and developed in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council (at the time called the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, or CTFA), a charitable organization supported by the cosmetic industry, in cooperation with the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association. The LGFB program is available in several countries around the globe … and now, also, in Second Life.
Cinders Vale explains: ‘MAKEOVER MAGIC is about looking good and feeling better. We have adapted the LGFB program to fit our virtual world. We have opened it up to cancer caregivers as well as survivors, as any cancer survivor will tell you just how important their caregivers are. The participants also include two male cancer survivors.’
A virtual makeover will include everything from new shapes, skins, hair, clothing, AO’s, accessories.
The fashion show is being directed by Lovis Timeless. The emcee is Les Karsin. Elle Kirshner will be DJing at the show itself and the after party.
The makeover participants are selected from cancer survivors and caregivers nominated by members of the SL Cancer Survivors and SL Cancer Caregivers groups, two of the support groups which meet regularly on the American Cancer Society island and many of whose whose members also participate in the Relay For Life of Second Life. All of the participants have experienced cancer in real life or cared for loved ones with cancer.
The cancer survivors who have been selected for the Fall 2010 program and who will be taking part in the fashion show next Sunday are Cher Clarrington, ErosGrunk Simoni, Jesslyn Dagger, Pro Recreant, and Synergy Devonshire (who is also a real life caregiver). They will be modelling their new outfits alongside Sharon Yorkiv, caregiver.
Cher Clarrington – lung cancer survivor says: ‘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.’
ErosGrunk Simoni – cerebellar medulloblastoma survivor says: ‘I am a member of the SL Cancer Survivors Group, and I am very grateful for it. I searched in SL for “cancer” and I was fortunate to come across Poppy Zabelin who runs the American Cancer Society’s support groups in SL. This group is my anchor and I look forward to it 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 who were anxious to hear from me on my return. And I am extraordinarily grateful for the experience I have in this group if being truly listened to, accepted, and helped both practically and emotionally.’ He adds: ‘As the makeover 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.’
Jesslyn Dagger – thyroid cancer survivor – was diagnosed when she was only 24. Fortunately her cancer has a good outlook and she is now free from disease. She enjoys creating avatars and her current basic avatar is a charming anthropomorphic rabbit with pointy ears. She says: ‘At first I was rather startled to be chosen as a participant for Makeover Magic. 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 American Cancer Society’s 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 relatively “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”.’
Pro Recreant – sarcoma survivor – is another active participant in the cancer survivor support meetings and is also hoping to start up a new support group for men facing cancer. Pro gave the survivorship speech during the Relay For Life of Second Life 2010. He says: I have met many wonderful people through the American Cancer Society’s groups 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.’ He continues: ‘‘it’s an honor to have been chosen for a makeover, although 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.
Sharon Yorkiv – caregiver – has been sharing her husband’s cancer journey for a year. ‘You know how when a couple is expecting a baby they say “WE are pregnant” … well in this case WE have cancer’ she says. ‘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.’ Sharon is an active member of the SL Cancer Caregivers support group and says: ‘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 group. I joined and within minutes I had three new friends.’
Synergy Devonshire – cancer survivor and caregiver – has survived two types of cancer and is also a real life caregiver to her best friend who battled and survived a rare cancer shortly after giving birth. Synergy has been in SL since 2006 and is a founder-member and support group moderator of the SL Cancer Survivors group. ‘The group 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 says. Synergy 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 the American Cancer Society’s Mission Delivery across all virtual worlds. ‘Trader1 Whiplash and I are working now to set up the program.’
Each participant is assisted by two fashion mentors who will accompany the participants down the runway. This year the mentors are: Gamp Lane, RhiannaLynn Lane, Aspasia Ashdene, Khali Laguna, Tristan Tiaret, Fann Hyun, Khitten Kurka, Rod Insippo, angelik Lavecchia, Summer Deadlight, and Boe Cortes.
Boot Janus, who is responsible for the contacts with designers, says: ‘I would especially like to thank all of the designers who agreed to donate their clothing, shoes, skins, shapes and accessories for their generous support’.
The participating stores are:
Dellybeams Gems Gallery
For more information about Makeover Magic visit the Makeover Magic blog: http://makeovermagicinsl.blogspot.com/
For more information about the Look Good…Feel Better program visit http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/SupportProgramsServices/look-good-feel-better or http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/
About the American Cancer Society in Second Life
The American Cancer Society has had a presence in Second Life since 2007. Its signature fundraising event, Relay For Life of Second Life, is one of the most successful fundraising events in Second Life. The American Cancer Society island is host to several cancer support groups including SL Cancer Survivors Group, SL Cancer Caregivers Group, and ACS Makeover Magic. It also has an information center and education and awareness program.
If you have questions about your treatment or need help finding local resources call the American Cancer Society help line: 1-800-ACS-2345.