With the yule tidings of the holidays upon us, it’s once again time to reach into your wallets, your couch cushions, and your hearts to support Child’s Play, the charity started by Penny Arcade founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. The purpose of Child’s Play is to gather toys, books, games – any entertainment – and donate the stuff to children’s hospitals.
Hard truths after the jump.
So I’ve never been to a children’s hospital, but I’ve been given reason to believe that they’re bleak places, where the staff does everything it can to cheer the kids and support the parents, but still needs all the help it can get. Children with long-term illnesses should be given anything, everything, that might make them feel better. Happy emotions can be part of the curing process. That’s what I like about Child’s Play; it’s a charity where gamers take the joy they experience in games, and try to transfer some of it to kids who need it. Hospitals around the world have jumped on board, setting up Amazon wish lists. It actually makes it pretty fun to shop; like you’re really buying toys for kids, which of course you are.
I’ve lost track of how many millions Child’s Play has raised in its years. They’re already at $2.9 million for 2012, a pretty amazing number. It’s going to get a 3DS into the hand of a kid on a hospital bed; a coloring book and crayons into the hands of another. And on and on. And hopefully it will give some respite to frightened, exhausted, frantic parents caught in a world where the truths they face every day are unthinkable and any little thing that makes their child’s eyes light up is a god damned gift straight from heaven itself.
In 2010 I did my usual Child’s Play post, as I do every year around this time, but obliquely noted that suddenly it had become quite personal. I saw firsthand a family I’ve known for twenty years suffer months of hell; people who, possibly more than anyone else I’ve ever known, deserve the opposite for all their days on earth.
Their son, a heroic little boy, died of his illness in July of 2011. You can learn about his charity – the Team Julian Foundation – by clicking that link, or the link we maintain in the footer. His family will always be grieving, but they are finding ways to continue their own lives even as they tirelessly continue his memory.
During his illness Julian spent a lot of time in children’s hospitals. That they were among the best children’s hospitals in the world doesn’t change the fact that kids shouldn’t have to be there, and that when they are, anything we can do to make them smile is worth the effort or expense.
Child’s Play isn’t trying to cure anything; other charities, including Julian’s, do that. Child’s Play focuses on making it just a little easier for the kids, for the parents, to be in those places. In some ways that’s just as important as a cure.
So if you can, help out: www.childsplaycharity.org.
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