Monday, September 24, 2007

Breast Cancer and the World of Warcraft

This last weekend a beautiful woman who happens to have breast cancer met a bunch of her husband’s crazy friends from another country who showed up to support her. Feather is the woman, Chris is her husband, and I was one of his friends. Chris, however, had never seen most of us in real life, yet we had played together for years. We had only met online, playing World of Warcraft.

Chris is a skilled World of Warcraft player, where we know him as Esstatum. He’s part of our guild, The Twilight Folk. Night after night, we log onto our computers and play together. We talk in chat boxes and over headphones. That’s how we knew about Feather, and her cancer.

Feather’s chemotherapy prevents her from working, and her paycheck was critical to keeping their household afloat. Chris is a talented musician, as is his brother Colin (another Guildie) and sister Kelsey. Canadian health care pays for a lot, but not everything, and not the cost of extra child care and the bills that Feather’s paycheck used to cover. So Chris and his sibs put on a benefit concert.

Colin posted information about the benefit to our guild’s web site, and before you could say “WTF, dude” about a dozen of us Twilight Folk from Washington and Oregon were heading up to Abbotsford, British Columbia for the Janz Family Benefit Concert.

Chris, Colin, and Kelsey are children Paul Janz, an award winning singer/songwriter who topped the Canadian charts in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I suspect that is why, out of the hundreds that attended the benefit concert, I was not the oldest. As a 51 year old, live music lover, I’m used to being the oldest one in the house.

Kelsey led off, with a fantastic folk rock set. Kind of like Ricky Lee Jones meets Beth Orton in Sheryl Crow’s basement. We kept whispering about her accompanist. “Is that Colin?” No, it wasn’t, but Kelsey’s voice was amazing, so we shut up and listened.

Next up, Colin, known to us as the naughty dwarf priest Kierkegaard in WoW. Loud, proud, and amazing, backed by a guitarist, bassist, and Chris on the drums. If I had to compare Colin’s music, I’d say it ranged from Coldplay to Tool. Only better. The drumming was insanely intense and complex. Well, Chris pwd that drum kit, it never stood a chance. Colin’s got a great voice writes powerful material. He’s working on a CD now, I can’t wait. Entropy rocks, it was my favorite song.

Then we got to meet Feather, on a big screen video. What a beautiful woman. Feather (her parents were hippies) had breast cancer before, so having it again is so unfair. As a side note, the Best Westin in Abbortsford, where Feather used to work, put us up with a sizeable discount, since we were coming up for the benefit. She loves her community, and it comes right back.

Chris was the main act, and, backed by a bass, keyboards, and drums, he did most of the music from his CD Fly. Chris is a songwriter and balladeer with an amazing voice. On some songs he reminded me of Jackson Browne, others Sting, but mostly he was his own man. Fly’s been getting airplay in B.C., and I’m sure people where there just to hear him sing.

Afterwards, we got to party with the Janz’s and a houseload of their friends, most of whom turned out to be Twilight Folk. Everyone was so welcoming, and happy to see people they had only played online game with come out and support Chris’ family. Feather might even think his time wasting hobby has some redeeming social values. After this weekend, I certainly do.

I followed some friends out onto the porch, it was a fine night, but found that was the smoker’s lounge. Do what you want, but think about it. Just out of a cancer benefit, and people are lighting up. Too much bad irony there.

Some of the “Warcraft Widows” would ask the women in our group “you play too?” as gaming is known as a bit of a boy’s club. The funny thing was, these particular women lead our guild. They’ve not only joined the club, they’ve taken it over.

BC was wonderful. Some of us brought little ones, and we took them to the Vancouver aquarium, to see the ice-white beluga whales. Followed by a dinner at Feather and Chris’ house, with his extended family and friends. Chris cooks almost as well as he sings. And composes. And plays guitar. And drums. I wonder if he does brain surgery on the side?

All this, from playing an online game.






The Twilight Folk

World of Warcraft


  1. Hey Nojo,

    Feather just forwarded me your post. You have a gift for prose, which I'm sure comes in handy in your work as an author. What a wonderful account of a wonderful weekend. We're already talking about doing a concert again next year for someone else who is going through similar circumstances. Thanks again!

    Chris (Ess)

  2. Hope u get out of ur worries and land into the planet of joys.May god bless you dude
    james blake
    WoW Gold

  3. Get well soon and enjoy the beauty of this nature
    ============james blake
    WoW Gold

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