Our Relay Refresh RoadTrip braved the extreme cold and crossed the Minnesota border near Lake Superior to visit with Shaye Dezno in Ontario, Canada. Nine years ago she came to Second Life with a few musician friends from an online site for live performers.
She traverses the grid with dual Windows 10 desktops and 48,565 items in her inventory. Frustrated with people’s faces being glued to their devices, she recently gave up her cell phone as a personal protest.
Off to college in Alabama at age 15, Shaye holds five degrees including a PhD. Friends call her “doc” and she is now retired after owning her own practice as a clinical therapist.
Shaye got her first guitar at a young age and quickly took to performing. She told us that she loves entertaining and that it is in her blood. Her two favorite songs are Rock and Roll by Led Zeppelin and Amazing Grace for it’s beautiful melody and lyrics. At age 8, her uncle played her
a Queen album and she has been a fan of frontman Freddie Mercury ever since. She is a Netflix junkie and her favorite shows are Shameless & The Big Bang Theory.
Her favorite time of the year is autumn with the collage of colors, the maple trees, the beautiful sunsets and the moderate temperatures. Shaye laughs a lot and realizes that people come to Second Life to escape, have fun and be silly. And this is never more evident than at one of her shows.
When asked about her hero, she answered without hesitation her dad. He passed away some 15 years ago, but she remembers him vividly as a man’s man, a cross between a hippie and James Dean, handsome, tall and thin. She reminisced about how “the ladies all loved him but he only had eyes for mom”. She said he worked hard his entire life, was fair and could relate to anyone.
She Relays in Second Life through her music, plugging events, singing for anyone and donating her time and talent to raise money for Relay For Life. She credits Sienna Thor and Nikki Mathieson for getting her involved in Relay with her music. Shaye has also been Relaying in real life since 2007 with her country band.
She Relays in memory of her grandma, her mom, her brother, and as a survivor, herself. Her favorite Relay story is a real life one from 2010. It was Relay Weekend, 8000 people at the Marina, fireworks in the sky, and her band was the final act for the weekend. As she walked off the stage, a reporter from a Toronto music magazine approached her about doing an interview. She agreed but asked if her two sons could join them. Shaye recalls that she was brought to tears when they interjected how proud they were of their mom and her Relay efforts.
Her favorite part of Relay is the spirit of the community. She told us that “when you have cancer you think no one can relate to you”. She feels the Relay community gives her strength and hope. And Shaye Dezno knows first hand that Relay for Life helps you to understand that you are not alone in your battle against cancer.
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