March 21st, 2009 by Marianne McCann
Last week I witnessed something amazing.
Another Second Life kid, Abby McDonnaugh, had to be rushed to the hospital. She was facing a serious, life-threatening health condition and had to be rushed into surgery. The response form the other SL kids was to do what they could to help their friend.
Over the course of the weekend, L$409,000 was raised for her, with L$178,262 of that in an auction hosted at HardKnock Elementary. At L$259 to US$1, this is a sizable amount of real money we’re talking about. Given the sort of medical bills she will be facing from surgery and aftercare, it is likely a drop in the bucket, but it’s a whole lotta money in either world.
If you listen to the most people Second Life is a game, a pasttime where people go and have throwaway relationships. No one really cares, and heck, few of the people there are really people anyway. It’s a ghosttown.
Further, all the virtual kids are creepy at best, deviants and perverts at worst. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.
None of that makes any sense when you got back up a couple paragraphs. People opened their hearts to someone who they know only in pixel form, who has touched their lives, and who they’re willing to drop hundreds of real dollars for. Heck, people who did not even know Abby, but who knew and trusted people they knew who knew Abby, dropped money into the kitty.
That is the amazing part. I’ve seen people give selflessly in hours, dollars, and anything else they can muster for a good cause. Abby’s story is not an unheard of one. Many others in need have found themselves several thousand Lindens richer thanks to the caring souls in their lives. This community wants to help each other.
I think that culture of caring is the single most important thing to me in Second Life, beyond the exploration, the building, any of it. It’s seeing the heart that is within each avatar, somewhere beyond the prims, the mesh, and the pixels.