Hospitalized children often crave any sort of distraction that might help them cope with their surroundings and whatever illness they’re dealing with. At Seattle Children’s Hospital this week, a generous donation brought entertaining relief right to kids’ bedsides.
Gamers Outreach, a charity organization that provides video game recreation to children in hospitals across the country, made the largest donation in its history on Tuesday with the delivery of 10 Xbox One GO Karts.
The medical-grade gaming kiosks are equipped with a monitor, controllers and an assortment of games, and each rolling unit features a lift mechanism that allows hospital staff to adjust the kiosk depending on the bed where it’s being used.
In a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the hospital on Sand Point Way Northeast, representatives from the hospital, Gamers Outreach and Microsoft were on hand to share in the gift giving.
“It’s amazing to see this project come to life after a year of planning,” said Zach Wigal, founder of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Gamers Outreach. “The GO Kart initiative started as a one-off passion project and has grown to a program that supports patients nationwide. With our next generation of GO Karts, we’re able to deliver these kiosks more efficiently, and ultimately have a much greater impact in the lives of the kids and families going through hospitalization.”
Aaron Greenberg, the head of Xbox marketing for Microsoft, led the effort to raise more than $12,500 to fund the GO Karts donation. He said he was touched to learn that one Xbox was constantly used by kids in the hospital’s ICU to take their minds off medical procedures. He was told it would take not one, but 10 GO Karts to best serve each of the departments at Children’s.
“These kids cannot go outside to play, and many can’t even leave their beds, so gaming serves as a key way for them to bring joy, laughter and fun to their lives, at a time when they need it more than ever,” Greenberg said. “I am incredibly touched by the response from Team Xbox employees as well as our gaming community online who helped raise and support what was needed to bring all 10 Xbox GO Karts to Seattle Children’s Hospital.”
After young patients cut the ribbon on the donated GO Karts, others tried their hand at games such as “Minecraft.”
“The GO Karts have been a valuable resource in providing entertainment, distraction and normalization for these patients,” said Jennifer Baker, a child life specialist at the hospital. “It is an honor to be receiving such a generous gift knowing how much joy these bring our patients at Seattle Children’s.”