Thursday, June 7, 2012

Child's Play

Child's Play is a charity whose mission is " improve the lives of children in hospitals around the world through the kindness and generosity of the video game industry and the power of play."
Specifically, they provide kids with toys, movies, and video games (mostly video games) to help make the time they spend in hospitals less horrible. They do this in a couple of ways. You can go to their website and select a specific hospital on their map. This will take you to a wishlist on which the hospital staff have put together where you can buy things to be sent to that hospital. Also, they do lots of fundraisers and solicit cash donations on their site.

There are lots of folks gunning for these guys. Top sponsors include: Google, Nintendo, and Microsoft. There are whole sub-charities who exist only to raise funds for Child's Play. (Don't forget Humble Bundle.) Their calendar is booked solid with fundraisers! Some major ones include an annual auction of cool gamer-culture stuff, and an annual golf tournament.

It was started by the folks at Penny Arcade. Penny Arcade is a big thing. In brief, in 1998 a couple of young dudes named Mike "Gabe" and Jerry "Tycho" started a webcomic about video games. It's still updated three times a week with an accompanying blog. They've not only made a living off their comic, but a huge business. It's a bit of a gamer-culture empire, really. I'll have to do a post about them soon. Anyway, in 2003, they got the idea to create Child's Play. It has grown to benefit a network of 70 hospitals worldwide.

Close-up on 'Merca. (Sorry Florida, you hang too low.)

Here are some testimonials. They have lots more on their website:
"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."
— Alan
"I haven't had to set foot in a children's hospital since then, thank goodness, but having access to that Nintendo 64 for the time I was visiting my friend made the process incredibly easier, and playing Mario Kart with him gave me the feeling that my friend was going to be OK in a way that no amount of reassurance from my parents, or the doctors, could have provided."
— Chris Stafford
Good people doing good things!! YAY!

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