“If I would let him play, he would play 24/7. He wouldn’t sleep. He would eat and play video games at the same time,” Angela, Jay’s mom said. “That’s his life and has been since he was about two.”
Jay is eight-years-old with a larger-than-life personality. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoblastic lymphoma, he’s been undergoing treatment for the past year at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, WA.
Angela says the day she found out Jay had cancer, it all happened so quickly. She was scared. She wanted to shut down, but she couldn’t. She had to stay strong for her child.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and according to the American Cancer Society, about 11,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2019. That means 30 children and their families are receiving devastating news every single day that will change their lives forever.
Jay’s life now consists of long hospital visits, chemotherapy, feeling good one day and not the next. It’s a constant roller coaster. One thing that stays constant is his love of video games and the fun he has playing on the Starlight Gaming console.
Our Starlight Gaming station features a Nintendo gaming console and comes preloaded with over 25 games. It can roll from the ER to a waiting room or even up to a patient’s bedside. Kids can play by themselves or enjoy gaming with siblings and friends. Starlight programs, like Gaming, are provided to our 800+ hospital partners free-of-charge.
“If they knew Jay was coming in, they would already try to have [Gaming station] ready for him so it can be put in his room,” Angela said.
It also allows him to bond with the nurses. It’s an incentive for Jay to complete a really tough procedure and it gives him something to look forward to.
Because of the Starlight Gaming station, his mom says he’s more relaxed, more easy going, and it lets him just have fun.
Jay has a hard time walking sometimes so one of his favorite nurses, Jason, wheels the Gaming station into the room so he can enjoy it from his hospital bed. This also allows Angela some much needed respite as she catches up on all the paperwork that goes along with having a hospitalized child.
Starlight continues to provide this essential distraction and entertainment to seriously ill kids by placing Gaming stations, Virtual Reality headsets, and more at 800+ hospitals across the country. In 2021, we kicked off our Fund500 campaign, which aims to raise funds to place 500 Gaming at both new and existing hospital partners. We launched this campaign by activating our Stream For Starlight (S4S) community, a group of content creators, gamers, and passionate individuals who stream content and raise money to deliver happiness to seriously ill kids. Our 2021 S4S streamers have already raised over $160,000 to help bring Starlight Gaming stations to healthcare facilities across the country!
Do you love to play video games as much as Jay and our other Starlight kids? Maybe you are an artist, musician, or expert home baker, or just someone who cares deeply about delivering happiness to hospitalized kids.
Whatever your talent, hobby, or passion is, you could support Fund500 with a charity stream or fundraiser!