All about Archie – and paying it forward

Gos - the store
Gos – the store

Many readers of this column will know about Gos products – Gospel Voom is an awesome creator who focuses on high end, high quality items: shoes, sunglasses, coffee machines. It is – compared with some – a small product range, but so beautifully crafted (and scripted) that whenever a new product is released, there’s always a thunderous stampede to the store.

Gos has been on the Designing Worlds show several times, often talking about copyright and Intellectual Property issues, and he’s one of the people I wave to on Plurk (which I find more relaxed and chattier than Twitter – but I do tend to avoid the OMG -teh DRAMUR there).  So I would definitely count his as a Second Life friend – and I was horrified, a few weeks ago, to learn that his beloved cat Archie had been in a terrible accident.  Despite being hideously injured, Archie made his way home to Gos, trusting him to take care of him.  And that is, of course, what Gos did.

Archie Appeal - before and after the accident
Archie Appeal – before and after the accident

I had a cat who was in a similar accident, where she suffered a shattered jaw and lost the sight of one eye. But she made a full recovery and lived seven very happy years with me after that.  So I’ve been sharing that experience with Gos – but I’ve also been aware of the hideous vets’ bills he would be facing.

In the UK, you see, if we are in a horrible road accident, the NHS will take care of us – and go on taking care of us for however long it takes – I’ve cause to know and bless that!  But vets’ bills are impressively large – vets invariably drive better cars than doctors.

So friends of Gos, aware of what he was facing, asked if we could help out.  And in the end, a small event was set up to race funds for one week, based in the Truth District.  Today is the last day – so do pop over if you get the chance; there’s some neat things on sale, with profits going to Archie’s vet bills.  So far, it’s raised 800,000 Lindens – it would be nice if we could make it over 1,000,000 by the end of today.

Archie Appeal in the Truth District
Archie Appeal in the Truth District

Now, as the fundraiser comes to an end, Gos is starting a project to pay it forward – to provide an opportunity for other pet owners in similar situations to have a chance to provide their pets with a similar level of care, through the wonderful PDSA (the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals), a UK-based charity devoted to caring for the sick and injured animals of people in need.

Let Gos explain further himself, as he does in his thank you letter:

Archie and I would like to thank everyone who’s contributed to this fundraiser. All week I have laughed with you, cried with you and shared stories of heart wrenching sadness together with others of unbridled joy. To feel so much empathy and to be the recipient of so much kindness has left me both bewildered, humbled and immensely grateful.

For those of you not aware of what befell my little beastie three weeks ago he was out late gamboling around ‘his’ neighbourhood when he was struck by a speeding car. The impact was so severe it shattered his jaw, fractured the hard palate in his mouth and left him blind in both eyes. But somehow he managed to get himself home to me. I will never forget the sight or the sound of my bloodied and broken moggy crying for help.

When my friends in Second Life heard of what had befallen my Archibald they rallied around and asked what they could do to help. Some asked if they could make a financial contribution to Archie’s vet bills, whilst others offered to make something to sell on his behalf. Out of this upwelling of support Caelan Hancroft brought us all together to form the Archie Appeal at the Truth District sim courtesy of Truth Hawks.

When this event was first proposed I was very uncomfortable with the idea of being the recipient of charity. I’m far happier putting in than taking out. My late father was a Director of a local sports charity so being dressed in a monkey suit and rattling my collection tin in smokey pubs was a large part of my childhood. But this time, right here and right now I was desperate to do all for my ‘boy’ and I can’t thank people enough for giving me the opportunity to do just that.

Archie on the mend!
Archie on the mend!

Since we opened on Saturday the 25th of September we have raised in excess of L$800,000. This money will go a long way in contributing to Archibald’s ongoing treatment. He’s going to need further operations to repair his fractured bones along with extensive dental work as the few teeth he has left are broken and there are a lot exposed roots to come out. He then needs a consultation with an Ophthalmologist so that I can have his eyesight fully assessed and if possible repaired.Â

But now that the week long fundraiser is coming to a close I want to take all this positive energy and goodwill towards Archie and to “pay it forward”. So from Monday 3rd September I am going to be raising money for the PDSA which stands for ‘The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals’ which is a UK based charity devoted to caring for the sick and injured animals of people in need. To avoid any confusion I will be removing all vendors and donation kiosks associated with the Archie Appeal and asking anyone who set one up on their own sim to do likewise. I have asked a very dear friend to help coordinate with the charity so that we can proceed with complete transparency and accountability and to ensure no conflicts of interest.

If you’d like more information or would like to get involved please contact me in-world or via my email: stephen.gospel@gmail.com

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