Virtual Relay Earns Real Money For Cancer Research

rflsl.pngThe online virtual economy is not only doing wonders for the bottom lines of some startups. Charities are winning as well. The American Cancer Society has announced it raised over $115,000 (L$32 million) this year for its third annual virtual “Relay for Life” in Second Life. The relay was originally started in 2005 when some Second Life residents approached the organization with the idea. This year’s virtual relay (July 28th-29th) greatly surpassed the organization’s original $75,000 funding goal, up from $41,000 raised on 2006.

So how exactly does a virtual relay work? Much like its real-world counterpart, the virtual relay is a cooperative all night relay around a track. However, the virtual event has the added benefit of being more accessible than the all night real world relay with some whimsical scenery. Like the traditional event, donations were either solicited before the run started or through a variety of games played on the track. Over 1,700 people participated worldwide.

relayforlife.pngThis year’s custom-built track was inspired by action-adventure films. The track featured a variety of scene,s including a graveyard, forest complete with bandits, water slide, and an underwater length of the track. You can see Flickr stream of them here (photo credit).

Readers interested in more Second Life non profits should check out NPSL.