Supporting Childhood Cancer Patients With Innovative Tech

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, they begin a challenging and difficult journey. Children can feel physically weaker, experiencing symptoms like nausea and fatigue. They can feel anxiety, fear, and frustration coping with the uncertainty of illness and isolation away from family and friends. 

During these times, an act of comfort can have a profound effect on a child’s hospital experience. That’s why Starlight exists. Childhood cancer patients and all hospitalized children enjoy moments of happiness and respite through Starlight programs, such as the innovative Starlight Nintendo Switch Gaming Station technology. 

Did You Know?

When kids play games it's more than a distraction – it’s a pathway to happiness. When kids play, they feel better emotionally and mentally. Playing video games supports kids’ pain management, enables positive distraction that boosts mood, and helps build trust with medical providers.

Gaming can give pediatric cancer patients an unexpected source of happiness, just like it did for Aria during her stay at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington.

This video was produced for Starlight Children's Foundation by BBC Storyworks Commercial Productions.

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Meet Aria, Mario Kart Expert

Aria is known for her boundless energy and love for gymnastics. She is a celebrated patient at Seattle Children's Hospital, where she's earned the title of Mario Kart Expert. 

Two years earlier, after experiencing unexplained pains, she found herself struggling with the activities she once thrived in. Concerned, her parents took her to the hospital, where after several tests, the unthinkable was confirmed – Aria had cancer. 

Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and transplants became Aria's new routine, and she approached them all with remarkable courage. An unexpected source of happiness—gaming—became a way for Aria to socialize with nurses and gaming technology specialists at the hospital, which helped break up the monotony, make her hospital stays feel less clinical, and build trust with her healthcare providers.   

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She discovered a world where she could do anything with a handheld console. "When I play video games, I just feel confident. It's hard to describe, but I do feel proud of myself. Like, I'm having chemo, and I'm still doing things."  

Her infectious love for gaming quickly spread among the hospital staff. She organized tournaments, inviting nurses to participate in bracket-style matches. Aria's creativity and positivity instilled happiness within herself and her care team. These small, yet meaningful interactions transform the hospital experience.  

“It was great to see her happy, smiling and excited about something again,” her father Patrick recalls. The power of play through gaming became the key to providing Aria a sense of control and hope amid her treatments and challenges.

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Recently, Aria was able to ring the bell, signaling the end of her cancer journey. With cancer behind her, Aria's dreams can soar higher than ever. She's eager to be back in gymnastics and school and will embrace each moment with the vivacity that defines her spirit.  

Aria's story is one example of the 15,000 kids in the U.S. diagnosed with pediatric cancer each year. It's a testament to the resilience, power of human connection, and the transformative impact of finding happiness in unexpected challenges.  

Join us this September as we honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and kids like Aria. Donate to Starlight today and help make a difference by delivering happiness through programs like Starlight Gaming that make the hospital an easier place for kids to be.  


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Bring Joy and Comfort to Childhood Cancer Patients with Starlight Gaming
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