Thursday, November 15, 2012

my smile was taken long ago

In the midst of reconstruction efforts for the blog--and covering gender bias at conventions--a fundraiser to help Eku Zhong pay for needed medical aid (specifically in the form of a partial skull prosthesis to replace a fragile part of her skull) has been set up. There's also an IndieGoGo fund, for donations off SL, which to my mind had an absurdly small goal, considering this is for a surgical replacement of her damaged zygomatic arch.

(from the Charity efforts album; one of the Unhinged event posters)

The zygomatic arch is a relatively small bone structure, all things considered--when looking at a skull dead on it's generally what our minds comprehend as cheekbones, and its main purpose is both support for the detached jaw, and as the major fastening point for the zygomaticus major tendon set. I realize that this is a lot of information, but I'll let Nephilaine Protagonist explain why this is important to know:
Over the last seven years, literally countless surgeries, radiation therapies, bone replacements and marrow transplants later, the stress of repeated surgeries has left her skull fragile and yet more surgery is needed.

The area where her zygotic arch [sic] meets the temporal bone is severely compromised.

Literally there is a risk that her zygotic arch [sic] could lift off the temporal arch and push the temporal bone into her brain. Actions as simple as chewing hard food or yawning the wrong way could cause this.

There is hope. Another surgery could correct this issue, but it requires the purchase of a prosthesis to replace the damaged bone. This is where myself and a group of people who love her dearly come in, and you as well should you choose to help out.
Now, I want to make this plain: this is a small bone structure, which has become fragile and susceptible to fracture, in the skull of Ehu Zhong. Because of the tendon placement, the zygomaticus major tendon (and its companion, the zygomaticus minor) could pull with sufficient force to snap it off, or break its current angle. That snap could--and in her case, quite likely will--cause damage to the temporal bone, driving it into the side of the brain--and potentially causing death as a result.

What could cause this? Because of this specific tendon/bone pairing, any of these actions could now, potentially, with no exaggeration, lead to her death or further injury:
  1. chewing hard food
  2. yawning widely
  3. smiling widely (because of the zygomaticus major tendon)
Add to that the further impact of the zygomaticus minor (which is responsible for sad facial expressions) and you've got a woman who's medically been told eating, being overtired, or having any facial expression at all could kill her.

That's really, really scary.

The (slim) good news in all of this: the IndiGoGo donation effort will be funded on December 3rd. But remember I said it had an absurdly small goal? Her medical costs already are stunning; this would be further pressure on her income (nearly all of which, I believe, is from SL).

Here's where the gacha donation festival comes in. They've already got a dizzying number of merchants contributing to this, and it's going to run for the next thirty days--essentially today to December 15th. Frankly, if you can't find some merchant there you don't like, you're seriously not trying.

In addition, Dare Munro of Dare Designs has issued a gentle challenge: he's personally tossed in L$15,000 (about $60 US on average, depending on the day) to the fund, and he's asking merchants who want to contribute to match or exceed his funds. Yeah, that's a chunk of RL income, but it's about the cost of a mid-range dinner for two, or snacks and an evening movie for three at most theatres. Plus, the more merchants toss in on this challenge, the faster Eku's looming operation becomes simply a life-saving procedure, and not more crippling medical debt.

It's not a fee for entry; they're still taking folks who want to donate time, Lindens, or items to the event. Think of it more as a suggestion, because this is that important.

You can track down the festival at Port Seraphine, and for the run of it there will be gachas, parties, music and DJs keeping everyone moving. Give what you can; participate how you feel drawn to do. And if you can't do either, at least mention the Unhinged site on your feeds. (And there's a ton of official bloggers doing just that, with rundowns of the event, product pictures, and further information if you need it.)

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