Playing Video Games Uplift Hospitalized Kids' Spirits

Meet Luca

At 13 years old, Luca is living with spina bifida, complex hydrocephalus and many other diagnoses. He and his family have over 100 appointments at Seattle Children’s Hospital each year. Most recently, Luca received a major neurosurgery just two weeks after his previous surgery. Complications included a loss of function and multiple side effects such as over-draining headaches. 

Staying at the hospital for long periods is no easy feat. While navigating the challenges of post-surgery recovery, Luca frequently experiences considerable pain and discomfort. Hospital stays, which can be a lonely experience, become more bearable as he finds comfort and bonds with others by playing Starlight programs, uplifting his resilient spirit.  

As a lover of video games, Luca loves to play Mario Kart and Minecraft. The Starlight Nintendo Switch Gaming Station allows him to do something he loves while distracting him from his pain. Since Luca shares a Nintendo Switch with his sisters at home, playing on the Gaming Station brings him a comforting sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar environment. Luca plays games like Mario Kart and zooms his character down rainbow racetracks, which benefits his fine motor skills after surgeries. The Starlight Nintendo Switch Gaming Station allows him to bond with others playing games with the Therapeutic Gaming team at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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Luca connects with others when he wears his Starlight Hospital Gown. Luca’s favorite Starlight Hospital Gown is the Mario gown, and he often jokes with the hospital staff by saying, “It’s me, Mario!” Luca has other Starlight gowns with his favorite characters, giving him much to discuss with hospital staff. The gowns give Luca so much comfort that he only likes to wear Starlight gowns, even at home!

“My kids refuse to wear the regular ones once they are back from surgery and they often wear the gowns once they are home too, to avoid putting regular clothes over their incisions.” - Sarah, Luca’s mom. 

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During one of Luca’s most difficult moments, playing through Starlight programs made the hospital an easier place to be. There are hospitalized kids across the country who need the same comfort, distraction, and social connection that play can provide to navigate the challenges of hospitalization. 

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Donating to Starlight allows pediatric patients to experience the power of play during their hospital stay. 

Uplift hospitalized kids’ spirits by donating towards a Starlight program
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