Today’s post is a reblog of a post I wrote for Headshots from the Heart, which also went up today. We’re raising money for Child’s Play by playing Borderlands for twenty-four hours on a live webcast. There’ll be entertainment, auctions, prizes, and if we raise $1000, I might have to let them shave my head.
One of the questions I get asked when I talk about the event with people, apart from “What’s Borderlands? (It’s a cooperative first person shooter game with an awesome art style that came out a few years ago) and “Headshots?” (Instead of just donating, you can pledge to support us by the headshot, forcing us to earn your money through skillful play, which by hour twelve is going to be pretty tough), the most common question is “Child’s Play?” It’s a what and why question, and we’re actually lucky enough to be able to have one of the leads, Jamie Dillion, call in to the show and talk about it, but it’s worth talking about beforehand.
It’s not as easy a question as it seems, I think. There are a lot of great charities we could have chosen to support with this event, from relieving famine in Africa to helping people recover from drug addiction. There’s a host of good causes out there, and if I could, I’d support them all. I can’t speak for everyone in the crew on this, but I can share why I wanted to get involved with Child’s Play, rather than another nonprofit.
I support Child’s Play because I’m a gamer.
Child’s Play’s official website describes them as “a Seattle based, gamer-run organization that holds an annual toy drive for childrens’ hospitals.” That’s an apt description, but it doesn’t say how they got started, which was when the crew at Penny-Arcade read one too many articles about how video games and the people who play them were maniacs waiting to happen, and they’d had enough. It’s expanded every year since then, and I followed it eagerly, being a fan of the comic and of the cause. I have a lot of good times playing games with my friends even now, and I feel a certain kind of solidarity with people who share my hobby. Being a gamer isn’t about being an elite super-nerd anymore. Practically everyone enjoys playing video games, whether it’s beers and Guitar Hero at a party, kids playing Angry Birds, or seniors playing the Wii, and I think that’s awesome. I grew up with games, and I want as many people as possible to have the same great experiences I’ve had. By supporting Child’s Play, I can help kids all over the world create those memories at a time when they need it most. But that’s not the whole reason.
I support Child’s Play because I’m an uncle.
I don’t have kids, but I have two nieces, ages seven and four, and I love them more than just about anything. They’re healthy as can be, and I hope they stay that way. But if they don’t, I want to be able to do something for them. I’m a lot of things, but a doctor isn’t one of them. But if one of them winds up in Toronto Sick Kids, supporting Child’s Play will mean that I, and all the other gamers who support it, can help make their experience a bit more bearable for them. And really, that gets to the heart of the matter.
I support Child’s Play because I’m lucky.
I’ve read the letters and heard some of the stories that Child’s Play gets from parents all over the world whose children are confined to hospitals for months or even years at a time, and sometimes never come out. I can’t imagine what that’s like, not in my darkest dreams. I never knew anybody who had those kinds of hospital stays growing up, and I don’t know anyone whose kids are stuck there now. And I feel lucky. There are a lot of people who aren’t so lucky though, who spend days or weeks at besides able to do nothing but hope while doctors and nurses bustle around them. I don’t think there’s anything I can say about that experience, not having been there, that would be meaningful. By supporting Child’s Play, I can help ease their kids’ burden, and in doing so ease theirs. The games and toys they get might not save any lives, that’s the hospitals’ job, but they’ll give those kids some of the joy that makes a life worth living. So I support Child’s Play, and I hope you’ll help me do that by joining me on May 26th and 27th and supporting Headshots from the Heart.