The Relay Refresh RoadTrip rolled into Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick in eastern Canada to visit with Nuala Maracas, 2017 & 2018 Relay Chair and member of the 2018 Event Leadership Team. Fredericton is in the Atlantic time zone (SLT +4) and is two hours from Bangor, Maine. The city hosts the annual Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival, attracting regional and international jazz, blues, rock, and world artists.
With a degree in criminology, Nuala has an extensive resume of jobs both in and out of the government sector that have placed her in numerous metropolitan areas in Canada. Shining brightly on her resume is her time spent as a Staff Partner with The Canadian Cancer Society for two Relay seasons working with a number of teams in her province. She has also represented Second Life at The National Relay Summit sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Combined with important past government jobs and a current private sector job as a mortgage broker, to say this amazing woman’s resume is impressive, would be an understatement.
Nuala has been in Second Life nearly 14 years. She told us how friends from There.com, another virtual reality world, convinced her to give Second Life a try in 2004. She logged on with her friend Seth Maracas, who was from Belgium and was involved with SL beta testing. The next day she logged in alone, quickly became trapped under a bridge, logged off, deleted her avatar and came back as Nuala five months later.
She traverses the grid with both a Windows 10 laptop and desktop computer equipped with an Nvidia 1070 graphics card. She told us she uses a Samsung android cell phone and has 49,781 items in her SL inventory. She also shared with us that she DJ’s inworld. She told us it all started one day when she was waiting for a friend to log in, was looking for an event to attend and saw a notice for The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Rue D’Alliez. It was here that she first met Trader1 Whiplash who was the DJ. The club was looking for hosts, so she IM’d saying she was interested, but when she came back the next night to be trained, she was told the club was closing. Trader took over the club, started T1 radio and invited her to join them and learn to DJ. That was the genesis of what has now become a close personal friendship in both worlds and their co-owning T1 Radio. She told us they have met numerous times in RL, shared Thanksgiving dinner and have traveled together to places like Disneyworld and Washington, DC.
When the topic turned to music, Nuala quickly told us her favorite song ever was “Sugar, Sugar by The Archies”. Her favorite musician is Elton John and she told us her favorite TV shows include “The Walking Dead and Fear of the Walking Dead”. Robin Williams came up as we discussed what makes you laugh and she told us he was her “favorite comedian” and she could “watch him for hours”. Personally she has a dry sense of humor and loves to laugh at things people probably should not have said and included herself in this group.
Without hesitation Nuala told us that her hero is Trader1 Whiplash, a leukemia survivor, “because of everything he goes through and how he handles it”. Nuala called it “watchful waiting” with him knowing that it may return every “5 to 6 years” and he may need “chemo again”. She told us “he does not let it get him down… he does not let it affect him…” Another hero is Eta Bourque, “a 96 year old Holocaust survivor with a thick accent”, who is friends with her mother. She told us about how she had such “a positive attitude” as she would “share her stories about the Holocaust”.
Nuala’s Relay journey began in 2005 when Alliez Mysterio, the owner of the Rue D’Alliez club, came across Jade Lily, who was just starting up Relay For Life in Second Life. Alliez thought it was a great idea and they soon started raising money at the club. Jade Lily showed up one night, gave them one of the very first Relay fundraising kiosks on the grid, and Nuala has never looked back. They formed a team, called D’Alliez Estates and T1 Radio, which became Relay Rockers in 2006 and Nuala was Captain of the team.
In 2008, Fayandria Foley asked Nuala to be on the Relay planning committee and serve as Team Mentor. The next year she was in charge of activities for Relay Weekend and the following year she co-chaired Relay with Tayzia Abattoir. It was during these times that Nuala represented Second Life twice at The National Relay Summit. She continued organizing activities for Relay Weekend for both Nikki Mathison and Random Darrow and went on to become Relay Chair in 2017. She currently serves as 2018 Chair and is on the 2018 Event Leadership Team.
Nuala has also organized the Relay Christmas Expo for the last 3 years. She loves this event and looks forward to her 4th year this holiday season. Nuala is also quite active in Relay in her RL, having served as teams chair and Relay co-chair for her local town. She helped to grow her Relay and is very proud of their accomplishments.
We were not surprised when she told us that she Relays for Trader1 Whiplash. They have become very close friends over the years and she is as much a caregiver to him as anyone in his RL. They have walked together many times in the Survivor/Caregiver lap on Relay Weekend. She also Relays for herself so that if she ever hears the words “you have cancer” she wants the next words she hears to be “we have a cure… when do you want your shot…” Nuala also has some family she Relays for including uncles and a cousin.
When asked about her favorite part of Relay, she told us she loves the Survivor/Caregiver Lap. She loves the Relayers lining the track, the survivors and caregivers being cheered as they pass by and seeing all the dots on the grid map. Nuala said “during the year the teams are dispersed doing their own things, but during that time they all come together to share in celebrating the survivors and caregivers”. She has DJ’d during this time in the past and will be returning to DJ’g this year. She told us she “loves picking out the songs to be played and participating in the energy that is so palpable”.
Nuala shared with us one of her favorite Relay memories, which took place during Relay Weekend in 2006. The track was laid out over 12 sims representing the different countries of the world. She told us “when you entered the sim representing China it was like walking in Chinatown at night with red and gold flashing lights”. She recalled a group of about 30 avatars who were walking the track together and as they entered that region, Highway To Hell by AC/DC was playing on the stream and they all stopped and danced in the streets till the song was over. This moment struck Nuala as embodying the spirit of all Relayers and has stuck with her all these years.
Nuala Maracas is in the truest sense of the word a Relay warrior.
Nuala Maracas is one of the pioneers of Relay For Life in Second Life.
Her message to Relayers is “it may not seem that what you are doing matters... but it does... you may not see the end result... but down the road you will see it… and when they say we have a cure for this... stand up... or sit up in your chair a little taller... be proud... because what you did in Second Life helped to make that happen…”
Nuala Maracas works tirelessly to help make sure Relayers never get discouraged by what they are doing to help others.
And Nuala Maracas continues, year after year, to help make it all happen.
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