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 wrap up 2016, we want to take a moment to reflect on the last year and share what we have planned for 2017.
The past year saw one of the biggest changes to Child’s Play since it was founded, we made a change in how our giving campaign works. In past years, we’ve sent our domestic partner hospitals an identical in-kind gift of consoles, games, accessories and movies. This year, we divided the shipment into two parts: a check designated specifically to their Child Life program and a smaller in-kind gift with a choice of console best suited for each hospital’s needs.
Since 2004, the Child’s Play Dinner Auction has given the supporters of Child’s Play an excuse to don their finest and spend an evening together. This year, hundreds of people from the gaming and tech community gathered to raise money and celebrate another successful year of Child’s Play. We raised over $160k this year, with the surprise item of the evening being A Year Of Custom Coffee Roasting From Penny Arcade’s Tycho Brahe. Thank you to everyone who donated items and attended the dinner this year.
2016 was the biggest year for our grant program ever. We provided nearly 30 grants to libraries, shelters, schools, trauma centers, transitional housing, day programs and more to help them purchase games and systems. We have also helped bring VR setups to hospitals for therapy and distraction as well as iPads to special education classrooms and inpatient psychiatric units. For more information on our grant program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking ahead to 2017 we are really excited about what we have in store. Child’s Play has been working with EEDAR to develop our Therapeutic Gaming Guide, and we are teaming up with them again to classify the therapeutic properties of every game from mobile to VR that comes out for the next three years.
Many programs we are funding through our grants will take off in 2017, here are just a few:
CoRe Gaming Group: A therapist-led group for students using video games to strengthen their social skills and develop behavior and emotional management strategies.
Gold Rush Cure Foundation: A nonprofit working to deliver a shortened time to mass market for Virtual Reality systems in hospitals, a leapfrogging of the current solutions, with installation, testing and analysis of systems, user recommended guide of solutions and options, pros and cons for hospitals, and a lot of happy kids who get to experience VR now.
Bungie Foundation’s iPads for Kids program: The mission of this project is to reduce distress and suffering in children by providing patients with fully customized age-appropriate entertainment that allows for distraction, therapeutic play, and a sense of normalcy that is vital to creating a positive hospital experience in an otherwise stressful and scary situation.
We are continuing our Gamers Give Back tours with our amazing partners over at Game Changers. We are planning the next 15 hospital visits now, with the first ones being early January. These are an opportunity for us to meet the child life staff that are doing the great work we support and find out how we can fine tune the help we are giving to maximize your donations.
After the success of our PAX West booth, we are planning booths and new merchandise at both PAX South and PAX East. Look for us there. We would love to visit and share more of what we are doing.
December 8th, 2016 6:30 pm
11100 NE 6th St, Bellevue, WA 98004
Since 2004 the Child’s Play Dinner Auction has given the supporters of Child’s Play an excuse to don their finest and spend an evening together. Each year, in early December, hundreds of people from the gaming and tech community gather to raise money and celebrate another successful year of Child’s Play.
The evening begins with a silent auction and appetizers. During the silent auction, guests have the opportunity to mingle with friends, meet new people, and maybe even rub elbows with famous internet and industry celebrities.
The items in the silent auction vary from lovingly handcrafted quilts to unique pieces of art donated by talented community members. The auction also includes one-of-a-kind items donated by companies from the comic and gaming industry such as signed game boxes and statues.
When the silent auction closes, guests are invited to find their table for dinner and the live auction. This year guests will enjoy Boneless Cabernet-Braised Short Rib, Seared Sage Chicken or Butternut Squash Ravioli while enjoying the live auction hosted by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, Gabe and Tycho, of Penny Arcade. The live auction brings the most highly anticipated items of the night, which, in the past, have included a chance to play Dungeons & Dragons with Scott Kurtz and Chris Perkins, Dungeon Master for Acquisitions, Inc., A Thornwatch Afternoon with Penny Arcade and Lone Shark, or a 20th Anniversary Edition PlayStation 4 (one of only 12,300).
All of the money raised at the Child’s Play Dinner Auction goes to support our hospital and domestic violence shelter programs. Through Child’s Play, the gaming community has raised over $40 million dollars to help children around the world through the power of play. This year, the Child’s Play Dinner Auction will be held December 8th, 2016. We look forward to another wonderful evening and hope you will join us. You can purchase your individual tickets here or if you or your company is interested in sponsoring a table you can find more about how to do that here.
If you would like to donate an item, please fill out this simple form. The item form is due by November 30th. Items can be mailed to:
C/O Dinner Auction
8040 161st Ave NE PMB #418
Redmond, WA 98052
If you have any questions about auction item submission, please feel free to contact Erick Blandin: email@example.com. If you have other questions about the auction, contact Travis Eriksen: firstname.lastname@example.org.