Back on February 10th the Wellington Children’s Hospital came to the attention of the gaming community after it was reported the only PS4 in the children’s cancer ward was stolen. It didn’t take long for our inboxes at Child’s Play to be overflowing with emails asking how to make this right.
After reading more on Angus Little’s Facebook page we learned that the local community quickly stepped in and got a new PS4 installed we shifted our focus to how the Child’s Play community could have the biggest impact on this hospital. The international date line made connecting with the hospital Play Therapy (Child Life) department and the Wellingtons Hospitals Foundation (WHF) a little difficult. By the following Monday morning, we were able to speak to Shona Brunton, Grants & Major Partnerships Manager for the foundation.
When she and I talked Monday morning she was still unaware how far the stolen PS4 story and the link to the Wellington Hospital Fund had gone around the globe and the outraged cry of support from the gaming community. Shona was overwhelmed by the number of international donations to WHF that had come in over the weekend. Shona shared some information about the hospital with me as we talked:
- Wellington Children’s Hospital was the very first Children’s Hospital in New Zealand opening on 13 March 1912
- Each year Wellington Children’s Hospital cares for thousands of young people aged from birth to 16 years.
- 6,702 sick children admitted to the Wards 27,676 visits to “Paediatric Outpatients”
- 10,253 visits to the Emergency Department
- 3,740 babies born
- 853 neonatal babies (from the region)
- 12,026 x-rays of young people
- 693 children seen by the Child Development Service
- 2,986 audiology visits
- 1,815 operations performed on sick children
- There are only two part-time Play Therapist for the 2 Children’s Wards
It was clear the passion and love Shona, and everyone at Wellington Children’s Hospital had for the children who are treated at the hospital. After talking about the work that the Play Therapy team does for the Hospital, I informed Shona that Child’s Play, with the help of our community, would make a $10,000 donation to the Play Therapy department. This donation was to be on top of the annual budget for Play Therapy ($20,000 NZD) and should be used to outfit the playrooms and teen room, and anything else the Play Therapy department deemed necessary.
Tuesday morning I was greeted with an email in my inbox from Shona that said, “We are extremely grateful for the generous donation of USD$10K which resulted in NZD$13,553.00 being credited to the Foundations account last night. In terms of your request, we confirm this will be ‘tagged’ for Play Specialist funding within Wellington Children’s Hospital. The response to this media article has been overwhelming & it was interesting to see the interest from the US, Canada & beyond.
Once again, please pass on out thanks to all involved in agreeing to make this amazing donation.”
That is what I am doing here, we try to stay humble about our work at Child’s Play but the resolution of this tragic event warrants some bragging, not on our part, but on yours. The Child’s Play community came together and sent a lot of love to this hospital and your generous donations of time and money allowed us to gift the funds that will change the experience of all the children in the Wellington Children’s Hospital, today and for years to come.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We cannot say it enough, thank you.
As we kick off 2015 with big plans and enthusiasm, we wanted to take time to reflect and share our gratitude for the incredible year that was 2014 thanks to the Child’s Play community. Our beneficiary network saw unprecedented growth, we had amazing participation in community events, and gamers came together to raise more than ever before.
We’re happy to announce that in 2014, the Child’s Play community raised $8.43 million for children in our network of hospitals and domestic violence shelters worldwide.
What a fantastic achievement - another year of breaking our previous record by over a million dollars and ensuring that kids around the world will have their tough time made a little brighter by the presence of games and toys donated by you, the amazing game community. That brings our lifetime total to a stunning $33.6 million dollars since our founding in 2004. I don’t think that anyone could have imagined a toy drive for Seattle Children’s Hospital would have ever grown to this, but we are so glad and grateful that it has.
It wouldn’t be possible without the support of the video game industry and community. We have an incredible group of corporate sponsors, which you can see below this post, to whom we are deeply grateful. We also wouldn’t be here without each and every individual donor: whether you chipped in a few dollars through a Humble Bundle, purchased something off of an Amazon Wishlist, or sent a direct donation, every bit adds up to our awe-inspiring, record-breaking total year after year. It’s because of the grassroots generosity and the kindness of an entire community that we’re able to help such a huge network of kids who really need it.
Speaking of which, that network was able to grow leaps and bounds thanks to your support this year. We added over one hundred facilities from 2013: we now have 112 hospitals and 110 shelters in our network, which is simply amazing. Hundreds of thousands of lives are being touched by the gifts that you give, and we cannot thank you enough for the kindness and generosity you show as gamers and people. Thank you for such a monumental 2014, and here’s to a fantastic 2015!
Here at Child’s Play, we love to work with the student community. Whether it’s early education, high school, college- whatever the age, we’ve seen them do some incredible things. With the holiday break now behind us, students are heading back to the classroom and we’d like to share some of the ways that they (you!) can help us out!
- School publications like newspapers, podcasts, radio shows, TV news, blogs - you name it, we are happy to chat with you about what we do at Child’s Play.
- Oftentimes students are assigned research projects but have freedom to choose a topic. We’ve had students send in work ranging from how play improves the healing processes, how community fundraising is effective (and could be more effective), the benefits of video games, and much more. Scientific data regarding many Child’s Play related topics is constantly emerging, and can be a powerful and interesting subject to study.
- Organizing and hosting fundraisers is an awesome way to get involved. Students generally have access to some wonderful resources, like event space and volunteers to help out. We’ve seen bake sales, game nights, marathons and tournaments, and the sky is the limit!
- Students focused on the arts have sent us beautiful work that they complete for school projects. We’ve seen graphic design, illustrations, web design, animations, and more.
One group of aspiring animators from The New England Institute of Art spent the last few months creating a promotional video for Child’s Play as part of their curriculum. It is very cool to see the process from start to finish, and they were able to work with a real client and have a final impact that helps spread the word about a cause they feel strongly about. Check out their video:
They also wrote an in-depth production blog outlining their goals, process, and key learnings.
Student projects like this are great ways to spread the word participate in our awesome community. If you’d like to interview us, do a Child’s Play-related project, or run a student fundraiser, get in touch!