Thursday, May 6, 2010

"IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MEMBERS" SPECIAL FEATURE WITH 501ST MEMBER FELIXX WELLIVER

All Photos Courtesy of FELIXX WELLIVER

Welcome to another Special Feature

Of my "IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MEMBERS" Series

I LOVE bringing awareness to different causes

And I LOVE everything about


As they are constantly out there

Finding ways to Make A Difference!

For this special FEATURE

I decided to interview

501ST MEMBER FELIXX WELLIVER
About His Epilepsy
And his involvement with

-How did you find out about the 501st?

Over the years I have been going to Comicon, (first time in 2003) while I was always “aware” of their presence, I never really knew much about them or the club. In July of 2007, a friend of mine I was with pointed over at the booth and suggested I have a look, (as any Star Wars Fan should)

There I met Lesley and gathered a lot of info, which by the end of the conversation (some of it is a blur due to racing gears on how to build my first set of armor) I knew I was hooked. I still have that same flyer on my fridge ;-)

-What inspired you to want to join?

I have volunteered with other organizations in the past, but never felt the true satisfaction I do now with the 501st. Before it was as though certain aspects of other organizations were routine to me, I never got to see “how” I was actually helping. Whenever I donate food, or clothing, it’s always comforting to me knowing that I have a visual to associate with the cause, where as before, I would donate and not actually “see” where my help was going.

So how does this compare to the 501st? Witnessing the impact of costumed characters assisting or raising money for charity was something I wanted to be a part of. The reactions expressed from a family in need – for Medical bills, towards research, or in the case of the children’s hospital for example, an hour visit can help them forget why they are there.

-Which Garrison are you a part of?
I am a proud member of the San Diego Squad, which is in the Southern California Garrison. My TK ID is 3180.
-When did you join? How long have you been a member?
My official join date is October 2007. I started to build my TK (Stormtrooper) shortly after Comicon that year. So I’m coming up on 3 years now!

-Tell us about the event you did recently for the Epilepsy Foundation?
Why this cause?

On April 25th, 2010 I took part in the Sharons Ride/Walk for Epilepsy at De Anza Cove in mission Bay, San Diego along with my fellow troopers and friends.

This Marked our second year being involved with the Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego and the walk.

How it works is, a date is set for the event and we try our best to raise not just Funds, but awareness of this unfortunate disorder. The walk was 5k along the bay. Last year we had one trooper out of all of us, go the distance (which wasn’t expected, it’s a long haul in armor!), but this year, WE ALL MADE IT! The dedication and drive that day was just one of many reminders why I am happy to be a 501st member.

Being involved with this cause actually helps me with other causes. When I am helping raise funds, donating charitable items, or just taking them to a galaxy far far away for a brief time period, there is a part of me that can relate to some degree. The responsibility and determination is something that goes hand in hand with any disease and/or disorder.

When I was 12, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy. Even as I type that out, or mention it to a group of people, it is hard to believe that just over a year ago, I was very selective on whom to admit that to. But since my involvement with the Epilepsy Foundation,


"I feel more comfortable because awareness is key to a cure"


-What are your future goals with this cause?

For the cause itself, as I mentioned before, to create more awareness. Awareness will bring more attention to assist others who are striving for other methods to cope with Epilepsy as well as a cure. One of the ways that this can happen is to have a spokesperson that has a big impact in the community. For example there is Michael J. Fox who speaks for MS, Lance Armstrong for Cancer, just to name a couple.Epilepsy and seizures affect almost 3 million Americans of all ages, at an estimated annual cost of $15.5 billion in direct and indirect costs.

For those who aren't sure what Epilepsy is, when the brain is experiencing an excessive amount of electricity, a seizure can occur. Seizures are not all the same. There are actually around 40 different types of Seizures. Some can be controlled by medication, others not. The Epilepsy Foundation website contains a lot of information to help people understand more about this disorder.


I am a big fan of Heroes. Last year I learned that Greg Grunberg’s son has Epilepsy. I made attempts to have him join us on our walk, but his Schedule is very busy. Greg’s words and help towards The Epilepsy Foundation and the public are very well received by his message.
I met Greg at the 2008 Scream Awards for an event, without knowing at the time about his son. After learning the news, I made it one of my goals to have him join us on our walk here in San Diego.


-Where have you traveled to participate in 501st events? Where’s the farthest you’ve traveled?

The farthest I have traveled for an even is Long Beach, Orange County, L.A. area. I would like to branch out to other regions for events, but timing is of the essence so in due time I’m sure I will venture to further “galaxies”. One of which I would like to attend (that I missed this year), is Wonder Con up in San Francisco.

-What’s your fondest 501st memory?
I have a lot of memories piling up for the past three years, but the one that sticks out the most is the first time a kid looked up at me in armor. For a brief moment, I time traveled to when I was around 8 or 9 years old looking up at Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. I was so convinced that was Mickey, and not “some guy in a suit”. I still carry that memory to this day. Knowing that I am creating memories like that for other kids is very exciting to me. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy creating memories for the kid in ALL of us. ;-)

-What’s your favorite thing about being a 501st member?

Aside from what I mentioned about memories and helping create them for all generations, what attracts me the most about the 501st is its structure and respect from LFL (Lucas Film). We are an organized group. Being able to manage an organization that spans over 44 countries is no easy task. Being recognized after 30 years of the first film by millions has a huge affect on the charities we attend, as well as high profile events such as movie releases, award ceremonies, and other events such as Star Wars in Concert.


Over the past year and a half, I have become more involved with assisting in the creation of some of the costumes, helping others build their armor, making props, painting, etc. I’m by far no expert, but I come from a family of engineers and one of the fun things about this is that it’s kind of my way of giving back to the 501st. We all help each other, one of the greatest things about this club, helping others.


-What’s the day like for you as a 501st member preparing for an event?

This is a great question, I’m glad you asked

:-)

For me, the day before an event (even if its an event that is only for an hour or so) lack of sleep the day before is pretty common. You could be buffing your armor and suddenly realize that your batteries in your helmet that power your fans or your voice amp are dead….and its 2 am! Personally I like to have everything ready the night before. I make sure that I don’t have any loose ends or potential hazards that can happen during a crucial moment.

In high school as a wrestler, I didn’t get much sleep before a big match or tournament, its basically the same. You lay in bed thinking about the event and how its going to turn out. As of this writing I am already starting to think about my role in my next event!


-Any upcoming events?

As a matter of fact, on May 15th, there is a Star Wars in Concert pre-promotion / Charity Event at a local mall in La Jolla (UTC). We will be promoting the concert by handing out flyers, and in return there will be a $500.00 donation to the San Diego Food Bank! I have been selected to wear my Vader Costume.

On May 28th will be The Star Wars in Concert at the San Diego Sports Arena. This is a must see if you have never gone. This is something you don’t “see”, rather it is an “Experience”. Here I will be wearing my animated clone armor. Everyone should experience this at least once in their lifetime.

On May 2nd we have a nice friendly game of paintball (snicker/grin) and we will be having our first “Annual Garrison Meeting, as well as our San Diego Squad Meeting. This will be a fun filled packed day!

-Anything else you would like to add?
I wanted to mention a little additional information regarding the 501st and its costuming. I have been given the honor the past 2 years to be a part of a panel at Comicon. The panel is called, “Dressing the 501st” It takes place on Sunday and for a little over an hour, we talk a little about what we do, how to get started, and answer questions from the audience. This year will be our third year and like with anything in life, the more you live, the more experienced you can become. We are really going to make this year’s panel awesome. New material, new layout, and hopefully we can acquire more time for the panel itself.

If anyone would like to contact me or add me to their Facebook, feel free: felixx501@gmail.com


Also More photos of this years Epilepsy Walk can be found on my facebook as well as other images.

Also More photos of this years Epilepsy Walk can be found on my facebook as well as other images. You can also view more HERE

Thanks for reading,

Cheers!


Felixx Welliver
TK/CX/SL 3180
San Diego Squad / Southern California Garrison

Thank YOU Felixx for being YOU & everything YOU do!

Stay tuned for more GREAT Interviews!

Together WE CAN make a difference!

PeAcE LoVe aRt & sOuL
Denise Vasquez
Artist & Founder of WO+MEN 4 A CAUSE

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