Starlight Gaming: Providing Connection and Comfort

In November of 2021, Starlight kid Patrick and his family received some of the most difficult news – that Patrick had cancer. He was diagnosed with T Lymphoblastic Lymphoma and, while originally from Perú, his family moved to Houston so he could be treated at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Before his diagnosis, Patrick loved surfing and playing video games. He can’t surf during treatment, but gaming has continued to be a favorite hobby – which is why he was so excited to see a Starlight Gaming Station in his infusion room.

Starlight knows that we can’t change a child’s diagnosis, but we do everything we can to create innovative and evidence-based programs that directly impact hospitalized kids. Since Patrick often spent long days at the hospital receiving treatment, the Starlight Nintendo Switch Gaming Station brought him hours of entertainment and distraction. Video games were a familiar and fun activity, so even a brief escape to his favorite games was powerful in shifting his focus from the discomfort of treatment.

There are some days that can be really long and having the Gaming Stations helps him forget about where he is for a while.

- Jimena, Patrick's mom

Recently, Patrick received lumbar puncture chemotherapy, and his brother was able to come to the hospital with him. The staff at Texas Children’s Hospital rolled the Starlight Gaming Station into his procedure room so Patrick and his brother could play together! They spent hours playing Mario Bros. while Patrick got his transfusion — a perfect way to pass the time during a difficult and uncomfortable procedure. 

Starlight Gaming is more than just a source of entertainment; it is a crucial hospital resource that helps normalize the foreign hospital environment for sick kids. It helps them connect with their siblings and friends, creating familiar social situations when nothing else in the day feels familiar and letting them enjoy the best parts of being a kid.  

Because at the end of the day, a sick kid is still a kid.

You can ensure that millions of young patients like Patrick don’t miss out on their favorite childhood activities. Donate today to help deliver more Starlight Programs to hospitals across the country!

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