First off Head here to see what the hubub is about. Thats right this is a post concerning the Childs Play Charity run by the two crazed minds over at penny-arcade.com. I’ve spoke about this charity for the past couple of episodes so I just wanted to throw down why i support this and give you a little background at the same time. I’ll continue to mention is on the upcoming shows.
I’m currently 26, heading for 27 this April. When I was 9 years old I found out that I had a rare hereditary bone disease called Osteoencondromotosis, so odd it doesn’t even come up on Google. The funny thing about this disease was that only a second cousin on my fathers side had it. It manifested itself as misshapen lumps on my 4th and 5th fingers on each hand. It basically looked like I had a broken hand all the time. The nurse in school actually tried to relocate the finger as she thought it was dislocated.
The disease caused both of those fingers on each hand to not grow correctly, become seriously brittle and just looked weird. I was lucky my cousin had it in her knees. I managed to put off surgery until I was 12. So up until this point i had never had a broken bone in my life, a couple of bouts with stitches but nothing too bad. The surgery was the most intense pain i have ever felt. Probably because everything after that got measured up against it. Lets just say the experience is still very vivid in my memory 14 years later. I woke up during the surgery, the pain killers didn’t work. Everything was looking bleak for a certain 12 year old.
That is until i found my way down the hall at 11PM long after most of the other kids were asleep. Now I’m not comparing my pain or problems to those of kids with cancer or anything else. All i know is that for one little boy they were almost too much to bear. Down the hall was a little room with various toys donated by kind soles in all sorts of disarray. Then in the center of the room was a 13inch TV hooked up to an original NES. Super Mario brothers and Captain Skyhawk where the only two games that I can remember. I couldn’t even play the system well since i had an operation on my right hand that day. I spent most of the time watching other kids play. That 2 or three hours in that room playing games with kids who were sicker than i was and just forgetting the pain and the fear for a little while is something i will never forget. It is something i would long to share with a new generation of kids who just need a little time to be kids.
Bringing this back to the present. I share the same sentiment that Gabe and Tycho do. That gamers are vilified for their hobby of choice. Gaming and by proxy the people who take part in it are labeled as dangerous packages. As if each one of us might suddenly explode into a violent frenzy. On one hand this charity is a truly altruistic endeavor, helping young kids cope with whatever hand life dealt, no matter no matter how unfair it may be. And on the other hand the charity hopes to accomplish something else, to prove that gamers are good people, and that the gift of gaming is just enough escapism to bring a child stricken with illness a sense of normalcy. Gaming is the one platform independent experience which brings kids dieing of cancer and kids just in for a routine checkup can compete on a level playing field as just kids.
And not that everything in the world comes down to dollars and cent but the final bit of news which i hope makes you feel better about hopefully donating is that this charity is not riddled with the same overhead and hazy accounting as some others. This is a verified not for profit group with all the right letters and numbers assigned where the should be. And there is not a cent of overhead spent. Every dime goes right to the children and the hospitals that need it. Every game goes right to the people who even if they don’t know it yet need it. So after this huge long ramble and personal dialog all I ask is that you check it out, and give a little if you can.