Our Relay Refresh RoadTrip rolled into Freeport, Texas, just south of Houston on the Gulf of Mexico, to visit with Jesie Janick. We have now been on the road three months and have interviewed over a dozen amazing Relayers. Born and raised in Texas, Jesie told us that her family thankfully suffered very little damage from Hurricane Harvey last August compared to so many others who were devastated along the Gulf Coast of Texas.
A preschool teacher since age 21, she heard about Second Life from a co-worker who told her it was a “virtual chat room where you could talk with people from all over the world”. Jesie has now been in Second Life for ten years with the same avatar. She uses a Windows 8 laptop to manage her nearly 90,000 inventory items and has also been known to use the Lumiya viewer on her Samsung Note 5 cell phone to keep in touch with her friends inworld.
Jesie is involved in the family role-play community in her Second Life. She told us of entire sims that simulate real life communities replete with hospitals, schools and fire stations. She described complete family structures with kids, parents and even grandparents. Jesie
role-plays a 28 year old single mom with two daughters and blogs about her family and their day to day adventures. When asked about a funny noob story, she recalled being a club manager early on and playing truth or dare.
She was “dared to dress as Kenny from South Park” and she did and “danced on stage”.
It came as no surprise that Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman was the first song that came to her mind when asked about a favorite song. She also mentioned Sara Bareilles - She Used To Be Mine as another favorite song. Her taste in music is “very eclectic” and ranges from “country to classical to screaming metal”. Her favorite group is In This Moment an American metal band from Los Angeles formed by singer Maria Brink. Jesie does not watch much television, but is a huge fan of the series Supernatural, the longest-running American live-action fantasy TV series, which ties in nicely with her role-play of several fantasy characters including a vampire, an elf and a blue na’vi from the 2009 movie Avatar.
People make Jesie laugh, especially her SL family with the “silly random crazy stupid” things they do. She laughed a lot as she told us of her family’s wild adventures inworld, but quickly got serious as she talked with us about her mom as her hero. A 911 dispatcher for over 30 years, Jesie admires the “passion and love she has for her job”. Jesie told us of her mom’s “dedication to her church” and how she is “simply a great mom”. Jesie recalled a time where her mom dropped what she was doing and “drove 18 hours” with her dad to come to her assistance in a time of need. Jesie currently is caretaker for her 92 year old legally blind grandmother who can only see shadows, is very musical and can still play the piano. She laughed as she described “granny” as an “active woman who goes to the doctor only twice a year, drinks lots of diet coke and has never touched a drop of alcohol”.
As a caring person, Jesie was drawn to Relay after visiting the sims on Relay Weekend 2009. After that weekend, she joined the Eternal Beacon Team. Because of her family role-play, she was drawn to join the Purple Tears Team and eventually became their co-captain. From there she moved on to the LV Silver Screeners Team where she also served as co-captain for two years. She then decided she wanted to form her own team and unite her family role-play community to Relay with her and formed The Fighting Sunflowers Team. Now going into their 3rd Relay Season, she shared with us how sunflowers were the favorite of her Aunt Tina who passed away from brain cancer and also shared a story about a sunflower that was struggling to bloom, but finally showed its vibrant colors on Relay Weekend.
Jesie told us that she Relays for her Aunt Tina and her Uncle Gary from Mississippi who was her “grandpa’s brother”. One of nine siblings, she recalls how “he always made me laugh, was very lovey and had smelly feet”. After we all stopped laughing about his smelly feet, she told us that “he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it”. He lost his battle with lung cancer and she still misses him.
Jesie’s favorite part of Relay is the Luminaria Ceremony during Relay Weekend. The moment the sims go dark and the names start to be read, “you can feel the connections and emotion”. Jesie said “everyone on the track is connected for that period in time and you realize why we do this”.
She also enjoys the fun side of Relay weekend and shared with us a story about her and her friends dressing up as gifts to celebrate the American Cancer Society theme of More Birthdays. Jesie said “you get delirious when you are up 24 hours” and her team “has been known to make gestures that they play as they circle the track”. One of the funnier ones was a slingshot gesture that they would play at every sim crossing as they were “slingshot” back and forth.
To say that Jesie is unique would be an understatement. Whether she is joking about her “dirty wadda” nickname for her hometown or laughing about her crazy SL family, you get the sense that she is a happy soul. Whether she is telling you about her DJ Juicy Jesie gigs in SL or her singing in a country band in her real life town, you get the sense that she is very creative. Put it all together and you get a person who seems to love her life and every part of it. In her own words “everything I do I put my whole heart into it”.
This millenial from Texas is making a difference. She is a passionate Relayer in her Second Life. Year after year, she finds exciting ways to Relay for herself and others. Whether it be forming a team for her family role-play community or organizing Relay events, she is having fun doing it.
Jesie says “we all have been affected somehow by the ugliness of cancer and will do what we can to make sure that no one else has to go through it”.
And this passionate Relayer is doing just that for Relay For Life of Second Life.
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