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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Cargo Received, Captain

Well gang, we did it.

After LL’s ever-confusing guessing game of when processing payments will happen the donations rolled in early (let’s assume that they know we’re awesome and clearly it had to come first or someone (probably me if not Axi) would have been heard yelling a mile away.)

be5e535a09af123cdd14fad2e9ac9f46Which then lead to the next adventure of to the site…

 

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Again I cannot thank everyone enough for this and the amazing turnout for this, the blogging team, the merchants, and the SL community’s generosity and support. By default when you donate to NKF it selects your local chapter but we made this as a donation to the main branch so it can trickle down into all the service areas and main division of research and assistance. Just to give a better perspective of how much this has helped:

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40 people. It doesn’t seem like an amazing number to shake a stick at, but that’s 40 more getting often necessary and preventative medical help, moral support and a tireless fight to save and lead more fulfilling and healthy lives.

 

Thank you again everyone. Let’s double the race next year.

 

– ❤ Loks

 

One spark among the embers… One voice against surrender..

This is normally not my thing – I’m often terrible at how to put words in the right perspective (and why Axi is often the one to do the blog updates and progress of the events.) But with things coming to an end, before Ophelia (Blimpy, O`flamingia – whatever. It’s Ophelia) once again ascends to the night skies until her return next year – with our new journalist in tow with the crew, I wanted to say a few things.

First and foremost – to the merchants. I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done and come together for this. This really was one of those last minute crackpot ideas the org. team had, and somehow miracles happen. It worked (despite LL as always trying to break things. Hey we *are* on Cursed, right?)

The generosity of the SL community has always been a strange enigma to me. You can spend countless days watching group chats, local chatter.. watch the anamosity and chaotic things being thrown back and forth, and in that same instant like a light switch being flipped, the genuine heart of the human condition comes out. That innate ability to set aside differences if for even one day, a week, a month for the betterment of each other, for people we may never even meet – and yet we manage to change lives. *Save* lives by our pixelated addictions and bottomless holding closets of clothing and accessories.

It’s no secret that this event once we chose to go a charitable route has been a very close one to home for me. To bring it to a more understandable picture (and by the ever-delightful words of the good Captain Robert from “The Wrong Side”) “I see things the daker kids see, though you wouldn’t believe all that’s happened to me. I’ve been to the back side of hell and I’ve played with your fear and enjoyed it well.” – I’ve danced those darker sides in my life, whether or not I’m proud to admit many of the mistakes that wrong side in our lives often becomes that turning point to make a change, embrace it, and becomes something better, larger than we are in our own humility. Those fears… so very many from addictions and my own declining health put a very stone sobering perspective on where my life was heading if I didn’t embrace that spark.

Where my own help from the National Kidney Foundation was a mix of medical assitance during three consecutive surgeries and moral support (which I needed it and quell the fears, not knowing if my other kidney was going to fail) they do so much more for others, those unseen faces your donations go to. Renal failure, polycystic kidney disease, dilaysis procedures.. the list goes on, helping those that may too have danced on that wrong side, or where life just throws a bad hand of cards. And you – and all your help, your generosity and selflessness have been able to help us give others that same hope someone’s there to keep that dance going, and keep those sails full into the night.

So in parting – a toast to you all for some of the best crewmembers a Captain can ask for. (Or at lest Axi just lets me play dress up and act like I call the shots for one night. Because Shortstack is an awesome boss and a wonderful friend anyone can ask for and be damn lucky to have.) Let’s light the fires, bring this Ol’e Girl about and sail on to the horizon.

We’ll see you next year. Bigger, badder, and cannons at the ready under the radar.

– Lokii