As difficult as it is now to imagine, once upon a time there were no Fairelands.
There was no mysterious, mercurial island called Junction, no Bardic Order nor Queen to lead it. Worldmakers did not walk among us. Dragons did not carry ships aloft while people danced on the deck below. Once upon a time, there were not even tiny critters keeping the peace, brandishing the badge of the Fairelands Watch.
Inconceivable as it may seem today, once upon a time we were not Fairelanders.
Over the last twelve years, all that changed. How? How did we – all of us including you – bring about such a monumental change that we can now scarcely believe it was ever otherwise?
The simple answer is that we just decided to.
Some ideas are so powerful that no sooner are they spoken aloud than they begin to take shape. Rally enough compassionate, dedicated people together around such an idea and with it they can transform the world. It doesn’t even take that many. Over one hundred years ago, a mere handful of people sat together, determined to confront a disease that few then even dared to name aloud. That was the start of the American Cancer Society. Thirty-five years ago, one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt had an idea and the global movement that is Relay For Life began.
And this year, over seven hundred souls will work to summon the Fairelands back from the Somnia Caligo, the Mist of Dreams and twenty thousand will come as visitors to those summoned shores. Small numbers still, when you consider our world is home to 7.8 billion people.
Yet, sometimes the smallest numbers carry the most weight. Certainly, that is true in the Fairelands. As hopeful as that might sound, it isn’t just wishful thinking. It’s not a fairy tale. It is not even a thing that must be taken on faith. It is a mathematically provable fact.
For example, 0.13% is – I’m sure you would agree – a very small number. But as always, context is king. So, to understand just how large that number actually is we first must consider the equation that yields that solution.
By the end of the 2019 season, Fantasy Faire’s total amount raised placed us as the 82nd most successful Relay For Life team on Earth. Now, “We’re Number 82!” is not a cheer you’d be likely to hear at a sporting event. But again, context is everything. Because in 2019, there were a total of 63,270 Relay For Life teams worldwide. Your team, my fine Faireland friend, was 82nd out of 63,270 teams.
Put another way, last year the Fairelands were in the TOP 0.13% of all Relay For Life teams, not just in Second Life but all across the globe.
That is how much weight a small number can carry. That is how much good a small group of people can do.
Twelve years ago, we sat together and decided to change the world. In the years that have followed we’ve given life to a grand mythos, one that allows for each of us to bring our best hopes, our noblest dreams, our talents and our time to bear on a global solution to a global struggle. No matter the culture to which we were born, the language we speak, the faith we hold dear nor the identity which defines our First Life – in this, our Second Life, we are one.
The world needed the Fairelands, but once upon a time there were no such realms. So, we created them. We just decided to. If that is not a story worthy of celebration, a tale worthy of remembrance and a reason to keep fighting back, I don’t know what would be.
Each and every one of you is a hero in that story. When the top 1% of Relayers in the world need inspiration, you are the top 0.13% they turn to. And right now, with so many RFL events around the world facing cancellation because of the dangers of Covid-19, ours has become one of the few that can proceed as planned. Our community has never been more important. Four million Relayers around the world are looking to us to carry the baton for them. A world full of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers turn their eyes to us. The American Cancer Society has asked us to be their Standard Bearer.
To all of them we say, “We will not let you down.”
In a time of physical distancing, we are blessed to have this magical world we build together in which we can remain socially connected. Whatever challenges present themselves, we will overcome. We’re strong because we’re together.
It’s time to lead, Fairelanders. It’s time to get to work.