Therapist and Self-Professed Geek Finds Purpose with His Passion

13-year-old Jeremy Treat flips through the crisp and vibrant pages of the Nintendo Power magazine when he comes across a story about how Starlight Children’s Foundation uses gaming to help seriously ill kids in the hospital. As a lover of Nintendo and Atari, the idea of how gaming helps kids in dire situations made an impression. 

Fast forward thirty years later, Jeremy is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT) with his own business, and still makes time to play. He is a founding member of the cosplay group, the Los Angeles Ghostbusters (LAGB) and a member of the 501st legion cosplay group, who have supported Starlight through fandom fundraising.

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Starlight: Where Jeremy’s Passion Found Purpose

Partnering with Starlight was easy for Jeremy because he felt the mission aligned with his values and beliefs. Particularly, Starlight’s focus on the power of play and delivering happiness to support the healing process for kids. 

The Importance of Play – for Children and Adults Alike 

Play’s therapeutic power is beneficial for both children and adults.  

“Play is the language of children,” Jeremy says. Adults have developed cognitively and can articulate how they feel. But kids need the tools to express what they are experiencing. He explains: 

“Most kids have not met that developmental milestone yet. They can't talk about the stress and fear they’re feeling. Instead, it’s going to come out behaviorally in some way. Maybe they're going to cry, act out, have emotional outbursts or be really upset.” 

But when kids use tools such as Starlight Toy Deliveries or the Starlight Nintendo Switch Gaming Station, “they can literally process how they're feeling based on how they play it out,” says Jeremy. 

It’s Physiological - Happy Kids Do Heal Faster 

As a licensed therapist, Jeremy explains how happy kids heal faster and how constant stress can impact one’s healing.  

Jeremy knows the impact of constant stress can have on one’s healing. He explains: 

“It's true, right? You're under stress – a lot of stress. Your brain will induce your adrenal system to release all kinds of biochemicals into your bloodstream. This is the ‘I'm in danger. I'm stressed out. What am I going to do?’ zone.  

We know that if you have higher levels of cortisol in your bloodstream over time, you're not going to heal as fast. Your immune system is literally compromised. If you're under chronic stress, you are more prone to not feeling well physically. You're more prone to have all kinds of negative health outcomes.” 

On Starlight’s mission to deliver happiness to hospitalized kids, Jeremy says: 

“How you are in your emotional state affects how you are in your physical state and vice versa. Helping kids physiologically release stress and anxiety and lower their cortisol levels get the bloodstream going the way it needs. It allows the brain to light up, promoting feeling better and healing faster.” 

Real Impact & Fufillment

Real Impact

Through the LAGB and Starlight, Jeremy has made a lasting impact on the community. Since 2021, the LAGB has raised over $40,000 to gift play and emotional well-being to hospitalized kids!  

For Jeremy, one of his most memorable moments was the LAGB’s first Starlight fundraiser at Scum and Villainy Cantina in Hollywood.  

The group was able to unite fans to create an amazing impact while having lots of fun! The LAGB had the creative fundraising idea to host a trivia game with prizes. To play, people had to buy-in, and that money was directly donated to Starlight.  

In the middle of the event, a person decides to match dollar-for-dollar however much the LAGB fundraised in the next hour. Another person said they would match the total sales of the bar for the whole day. The LAGB ended up fundraising over $13,000 during this one event! 

Jeremy attributes the success of the event not to their group, but something much more significant – every person’s common passion to play. He elaborates: 

"...And it wasn't because we're just so great about it. It wasn't because people just love us so much. It was because we did something that people really resonated with. And because, again, the mission sells itself. And the more we were able to sort of articulate that, the easier it encourage people to donate.” 

Real Fulfillment 

Jeremy and other LAGB members have found the same joy that they deliver to kids by partnering with Starlight.  

Jeremy felt this most when the LAGB worked with Starlight to create a Ghostbusters themed hospital gown.  

To raise the money for the gowns, they partnered with other Ghostbuster groups around the country that “really brought the whole community together,” says Jeremy.  

The LAGB even had the opportunity to deliver these gowns to kids in their local hospital and saw the power of play's therapeutic impacts firsthand. 

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As first seen on the Los Angeles Ghostbusters' website.

Find Your “Why”

When asked what advice Jeremy would give to fans looking to partner with a charity, he offers this wisdom: find your why. 

For Jeremy and other LAGB members, they found their purpose by partnering with Starlight. 

“But being able to do something that is both fun and serves a really, really noble, worthy purpose for us...It brings meaning into our lives in a different way...We feel good about doing this work because we know it's a great cause. 

And when we describe Starlight and the mission to people, people are very excited about giving to this organization because they know that there's a need for this. And we get it implicitly and they see us kind of living out the power of play... And I think that the giving sort of comes pretty naturally from that place.” - Jeremy Treat

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Starlight is proud to work with fan groups like the LAGB who channel their passion for play, enthusiasm, and creativity to deliver happiness to hospitalized kids.  

But the work is not done. Over 5 million kids need your help to experience play and joy during their hospital stay. 

You can make a difference. Get involved today and learn how you make a lasting impact for yourself and your community. 

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