A Steampunk Revolution

So, I’m just going to start things off in the only way I can. . .

. . .seriously?

Wow. Just wow. Shortstack said it best, this adventure has been nothing but one surprise after the next, even I’m still trying to make sense of all of it. By Day 4 I had to actually sit down and stare at the screen a couple dozen times to make sure it wasn’t a typo at the numbers. This is often my seldom post appearances; out of the entire Org team of Introvert and Anbiverts I think I’m the one that likes writing the least (which is funny considering I’m almost 100% certain I’m the most active online tabletop conversion roleplayer of our entire group.) I’m getting ahead of everything that’s trying to process in my brain and form into words, so let me pull a Copperfield here and start at the beginning while I’m nursing down some coffee. (My Nephrologist would be so ticked if he ever read that single line and tell me to knock it off.)

It’s true, we’re often asked the hows and whys we pick certain charities every year, some less heard than the last. This is one of the many reasons why we do what we do at the misfit circus. SL and its many facets have so many covered throughout the year like RFL and other cancer associations, ALS, and so on. This is the key thing – year round support and events that carry on staggering numbers of donations you can’t even shake a stick at which is all well and good, so we try to shed some light on organizations that don’t have that much of a forefront in the public’s eye, or those closer to home maladies that come up in the shadows.

NKF has been, and always will be, a very, very personal charity to me. I’m not ashamed to admit in my life I’ve made some grievously stupid mistakes as many of us probably have. I’m also extremely stubborn to a fault to not want to reach out and ask for help, rather be the person that helps the rest of the world, a friend, a family member whatever the case is out before I even consider doing something for me even at the cost of my own health. Several years back in the early college years the hereditary curse of kidney issues manifested. It was minor back then, your occasional stone problem or UTI, which eventually lead to a brief non-invasive surgery and stint placement. Years passed, and the problems gradually increased with this. More interludes through those baleful double glass doors and triage waiting rooms between three different states in my travels and reckless years of trying to figure out the world. Knowing the astringent smell of hospital halls and cleaning solvents or the smell of reduced iron from blood being drawn more than anything else, or counting the little pinprick scars from IVs on both my hands and arms. I lost count how many times every couple of weeks or months between emergency care visits would happen they just kind of blurred one into the next.

The turning point in ‘help yourself before you help others’ finally hit a couple years ago, and when my fiance finally put his foot down that something needed to be done when I was spending more of a love affair with a porcelain man. Flash forward through the less ugly parts, the diagnosis was two very large calcium masses the size of small softballs were in my left kidney and bladder that made it function at an extremely dangerous level, and my right over-compensated to at an 8 to 10% function at the signs of starting renal failure. My nephrologist actually asked how the hell I was standing up let alone alive he hadn’t seen something like this before. Lesson learned – sometimes no matter how much you want to help the world, sometimes when the case calls for it you need to help yourself. I was low income, and the consecutive three surgeries were going to be a staggering amount to the tune of over thirty six thousand dollars US. I was terrified, I had no clue how we were going to handle this, HCAP failed to work out any assistance. This was where the NKF came in through some help and some magic that the bills and chronic history were drastically reduced out of nowhere.

I’ve never forgotten this. A silent face I’ve never met helped me. Helped me get the care I needed, the surgeries completed and the road to recovery. (Which was not pleasant in the least. I would never wish this on the worst person in the world, the pain is unmeasurable and your body trying to violently attack you from the inside out.) It’s because of that silent and unknown face I can keep doing what I do today. To have a healthier life, to keep pushing this charity every year in the hopes that the outreach of the SL community’s donations can do the same thing for someone else we may never even encounter in our lives and change it for the better.

This year… has been amazing. None of us expected the outpouring and generosity that has come forward at the Spiral. From the comments, the lives it’s touched knowing there’s people fighting for this charity, those afflicted by renal issues, the list goes on. I cannot find enough words to express the gratitude I have to everyone that’s made this year’s drive something truly jaw-dropping. These are numbers we’re used to seeing for WGF across three sims, not one. This is truly spectacular on levels that’re unheard of.

To the SL community – I truly thank every last one of you for your generosity and your help for this.

To our Merchants – We don’t ever say it enough I don’t think. You guys are amazing. We’re really blessed to have a core group of merchants in the Cursed Events that never slip the wayside, and keep bringing new and amazing things each event. We’ve even picked up some new faces this time too and the work and care in them is also nothing short of wonderful.

To our Bloggers – I am truly envious and awed at the same time what you all bring to this with the coverage and the photos–the stories you create each and every time. You make SL feel a bit more real and the bonds that’re created in it. And a special thank you to our beloved Bunny Blogger, Sonya, who I know looks forward to this every year. My secret compatriot in all things steampunk, Abney Park, and makes the Spiral’s growing story come alive each time between the veil of this world, and the Shadowlands of the Weaver’s umbral realms. (She’ll get the inside joke along with a couple WoD nerds.)

To the Org Team – I love you guys. I wouldn’t trade for any other team to work side by side with. (Even if Axi makes me fix things she covers in blue carpet.)

So it’s come to this. The veil’s growing thicker, and once again Ophelia and the Spiral fades into the mist and spray of steam and axle grease, for destinations unknown until she rises back from the shadowlands once again. We’ll be waiting for her in the mists, and I’ll get to pretend being Captain of the ship for one night again.

Until the next voyage,

– Lokii

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