Occupying a Full private region, Power Up for Charge is the Full region home of the official Second Life presence for the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation, a US 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organisation, established with the goals of promoting global awareness of, and research into the causes of, CHARGE Syndrome (see below for more); directly supporting and helping those afflicted by the syndrome and their families, including developing outreach and support to assist them and building both social and medical networks and partnerships to benefit those affected by the syndrome.
Designed by Tzeitel Enchantment, founder of power Up For Charge in SL, the the Foundation’s representative in-world, together with Tintin (AbOrigin) and artist Suzen Juel, this is a region established to help spread awareness of CHARGE Syndrome in-world and to offer Second Life residents the opportunity to support the work of the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation through donations (either L$ via the in-world tip jars or by following links to the Foundation’s donations web page).
The design of the region apparently changes every three months, and at the time of my visit it lay dressed at Outpost Camp Charge, described as an eclectic planet from which visitors might explore the outer reaches of the SL universe. In this the setting – which has little in the way of what might be regarded as “traditional” terraforming or landscaping, but which nonetheless retains an engaging look and feel – carries something of a strong Star Wars vibe, although other sci-fi franchises and films also enter into the mix.
The Stars Wars elements come in several forms, from the general architecture, with many of the buildings looking like they may have been transplanted here from places such as Mos Eisley, through the droids and ground transports waiting to the found, to the TIE Fighter roller coaster located at one end of the region as one of its several rides. Many of the buildings are places you can enter, offering bars, music venues, droid repair shops, hangers, and so on, all ready for exploration.
Mixed in with this are two redressed Starfleet Runabouts, ED-209 from Robocop, a forlorn Iron Giant, alien cafés (one of which, minus its automaton server, would look right at home if it were to pop-up in Blade Runner) and a floating lounge, and lots of art in the form of sculptures, all overseen by a giant floating brain and a whale swimming serenely through the sky.
Within all this are a couple of places that look as if they might host music events within the region – although if so, I couldn’t find any info on upcoming events; a labyrinth, a portion of the Liberty Bridge in Budapest (and which looks like it would be well at home as a part of the Batman set); experience-driven teleport disks to help people get around and – for those who find their way to it, a skyborne amusement park.
Such is the eclectic nature of the setting, offering a blow-by-blow description here is wasted: this is a setting that should be fully explored on foot and via the automatic skiffs that circulate through the region. What I will say is tat the fund-raising element to the setting is very subtle and unpressured (no kiosks leaping out at you at every turn). Equally subtle are the info boards found through the setting and which provide information on CHARGE in nice, bite-sized chunks that avoid giving any sense of information indigestion.
Needless to say, all of this is high photogenic as well as educational, making for an engaging – and worthwhile – visit. When visiting, do note that a chat extender is in operation.
About CHARGE Syndrome
CHARGE syndrome was first described in 1979 in relation to newborn children suffering a non-random pattern of the congenital anomalies that occurs together more frequently than one would expect on the basis of chance, with the acronym being used to define the conditions: Coloboma (a hole in one of the structures of the eye), A congenital Heart defect (CHD), Choanal Atresia (a blockage of the back of the nasal passage), Retardation of growth and/or development, Genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and Ear abnormalities and deafness.
As very few newborn children exhibit 100% of these features, CHRAGE is no longer used in the diagnosis of babies suffering from the syndrome, by the name has remained in use. The syndrome occurs only in 0.1–1.2 per 10,000 live births. About two thirds of cases are due to a CHD7 mutation. It is one of the leading causes of congenital deaf-blindness in the United States.
About the CHARGE Syndrome Foundation
The CHARGE Syndrome Foundation was founded in 1982 in the United States, where it grew out of the Deaf-Blind Project in the Division of Genetics, University of Missouri. Since then, it has grown into one of the leading centres of expertise for research into and treatment of the syndrome and in ensuring children suffering from it receive all of the correct medical care they may require, and is active in 25 countries world-wide, with over 90% of the funds raised being channelled into directly benefiting individuals and families.