Letters to Child's Play

First I should explain that I’m not a gamer, and I’ve never been to the Penny Arcade web site. I’m only aware of Child’s Play because of the blurb on Slashdot this morning. For reasons I’ll explain in a moment, this sort of thing gets my attention so I surfed over to your site to check it out.

In reading through, this sentence on your about page caught my eye:

“Some of these kids are in pretty bad shape—imagine being stuck alone in a hospital over the holidays—so getting something from a fellow gamer would really raise their spirits.”

That may just be the understatement of the century.

About 2 1/2 years ago we found out that our 11 year old son had cancer (he finished treatment a few months ago and things look very good for the future). Needless to say, we’ve spent more time than I care to think about in the hospital over the last couple of years. Among his stays were one three week stint isolated in a positive pressure room in ICU when his immune system shut down and one Thanksgiving where we were only able to bring him home for a few hours during dinner (he wasn’t keeping anything down at that time so couldn’t eat, but he wanted to be there), then had to take him back to the hospital.

He’s a reader so we always made sure he had books, but there were many times he either couldn’t concentrate well enough to read or just didn’t have the energy to do much else but lay there. When we couldn’t be there with him, two things the hospital had available got his mind off the situation: Nintendo and movies. Even when he was fuzzy enough that he couldn’t play the games properly he got a kick out of them. I guess a lot of these games are as fun when they go wrong as they are when they go right.

After our experience and realization of the difference they made to our son, we’ve made a practice of donating movies and games to the hospital he was in. Unfortunately it appears we’re a minority, so to see an organization like yours pick up that torch and run with it like this is just wonderful.

Thank you so very much for what you’re doing. To be sitting there with your child who can barely move for all the tubes and wires connected to him, who hasn’t been able to eat for days and hasn’t been home in weeks, who can’t remember the last time he didn’t feel awful and wonders if he’ll ever feel good again, and have him laugh out loud when he crashes his go-kart in a video game… well, there aren’t words so I won’t try. Again, thank you.

Okay, I’m off to Amazon to buy some toys.

Alan