The Relay Refresh RoadTrip rolled into Phoenix, Arizona, long before the scorching triple digit summer temperatures, to visit with Random Padar-Darrow. She told us she grew up in South Dakota and her first job was as a “tour guide at a tourist trap with free roaming snakes and lizards”. Random raised her family in Seattle, Washington and retired to the beautiful sunshine of Arizona.
She keeps in touch with her kids and grandkids with her iPhone 6s and lives life to the fullest swimming laps every day and playing “pickleball”, a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball , over a net. The sport shares features of other racquet sports, the dimensions and layout of a badminton court, and a net and rules somewhat similar to tennis, with several modifications.
Random told us that she “sits outside in the winter” with her Windows 10 HP Omen laptop equipped with a powerful nVidia 1050 graphics card, 16GB RAM, and a hard drive with a terabyte of storage space. She shared with us that she is a “geek wanna be” and that she built her own desktop after taking classes on TV, taking notes and asking questions to other PC enthusiasts. She was “so happy” when the day finally arrived that she could shop for all the needed components.
Random arrived in Second Life over 12 plus years ago when a friend from There.com invited her to join. At first she was hesitant, having only heard bad things about SL, but was hooked the moment she realized she could fly. She told us she had frequently dreamed she could fly and realizing she could do that in Second Life made her never want to log out. As a noob her flying did get her into trouble though, when one day she flew right through a bedroom wall at an inopportune time and quickly logged off.
She met her very first friend on a noob island who was from the UK. They remained good friends and years later Random took a trip to England and was able to meet up with him as he guided her and her group around London. After 12 plus years inworld, traveling across the pond to meet a friend, and spending two years as Relay Chair, Random told us she only has 53,629 items in her inventory.
Being an avid swimmer it came as no surprise that she has an Underwater iPod, 100% waterproof, to listen to music as she swims her daily laps. Her tastes range from Carole King to Duran Duran to Rihanna. She is also a “Parrot Head” who enjoys all things Buffett. A big reality TV fan, she follows Big Brother, The Voice, Survivor, MasterChef and Top Chef. She is also a big fan of Outlander and Game of Thrones.
Just about everything makes Random laugh, especially her SL partner TS. When she is facing a difficult decision TS always tries to lighten the mood with his humor. She always sees the best in a worst situation and tries to bring laughter to everything she encounters.
When the discussion turned to heroes, Random spoke of two very special people, her mother and TS. She told us that her mother is her “all time hero”. A “single parent”, her mother raised three kids in South Dakota. She told us she did it all, “PTA, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and even camping”, all while working full time. Her “Relay hero” is TS Darrow. He took in his mother when she was diagnosed with cancer and a year later he himself was diagnosed with stomach cancer. After a three and a half year battle, TS is today cancer free and an active survivor in Relay. Random and TS have been partnered in Second Life for eleven years.
Random began relaying in Second Life in 2009, when just after she had met TS his six year old nephew passed from cancer. She felt so helpless being so far away from TS and Relaying in Second Life became her way of doing something about the horrible disease that had taken the life of a six year old child. They formed the Harmony of Hope Relay team and she has Relayed with that team for almost 10 years. In 2014 she was asked by Nikki Mathieson to be her Co-Chair. She at first hesitated because she so enjoyed being on her team and relaying with her teammates. But after talking to Tee Auster, who told her “you do not choose leadership, it chooses you”, she decided to accept Nikki’s invitation. She then went on to serve as Chair for the 2015 and 2016 Relay seasons and is currently serving on the Event Leadership Team for the 2018 Relay season.
Random was excited to tell us about the two years she was able to attend the National Relay Summit in RL as a representative of SL, how it changed her thinking about Relay and how it deepened her passion. She recalls a particularly moving story by Grant Vosburgh, about how both he and his wife were battling cancer and were being treated with a new chemo regimen. They explained that the money raised long ago by their grandmothers, who were friends and went door to door collecting money for ACS, could possibly have been used to fund the very research that led to this chemotherapeutic treatment. They were then inspired to do everything they could so that someday their grandkids would be saying that their grandparents had been part of the cure. This story gave Random her purpose as to why she needed to continue to Relay. She told us “the three million dollars raised in Second Life will leave a huge footprint on finding a cure”.
Random told us that she Relays for TS. She was quick to add that she also “Relays for her grandchildren and future great-grandchildren” so that they “never have to hear the word cancer”. She also told us that she Relays in real life but prefers to Relay in Second Life because she loves the passion of her Relay friends. She really enjoys getting to know the people who Relay in Second Life.
When asked about her favorite part of Relay, like so many others, Random said the Luminaria Ceremony during Relay Weekend. Each year she felt so much emotion during that time, but none more than her first year as Co-Chair when she was given the honor of reading the names during the ceremony. She recalls seeing the names on paper, names of those lost or those still battling, and how it became so real for her. She likened it to seeing the names on the wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. She realized in that moment, “we are all the same, we have all suffered, and we are all fighting to find a cure for this horrible disease”.
Random Padar-Darrow is “all in” when it comes to Relay. She loves going to events. She loves getting to know the people. She loves Relay Weekend. She loves walking the track and seeing all the dots representing all the avatars on the map. She loves the creativity of the teams and the builds. She loves the entire thing.
Random Padar-Darrow is passionate about Relay For Life of Second Life. Year after year she gives of her time and her talents. She is always ready to jump in and help out in any way. Her commitment is unwavering and relentless. She is without doubt one of the many reasons Relay is so successful in Second Life. She is part of the glue that holds the fabric of our huge Relay family together.
Random wants her legacy to be that she worked as hard as she could, with all the passion and commitment she had, in an effort to be but a small part of finding a cure.
And until there is a cure we Relay.
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