For patients of MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, distraction from their treatment regimen to simply enjoy the joys of childhood is essential. Children need more than medicine to get well and taking care of emotional and mental wellness is a key to their recovery.
Video games are a popular form of entertainment and, even escapism for many children, which makes them an important tool for hospitalized patients. Recognizing this, GameChanger Charity helps patients heal through the joy of play.
GameChanger Charity was started in 2006 by Jim Carol after his son, Taylor, was diagnosed with Leukemia. Taylor’s diagnosis required the family to move away from Southern California to receive a bone-marrow transplant. Throughout his treatment, Taylor found comfort in video games and the kindness and care of medical professionals. The Carol family decided to pass on that hope to other kids struggling with debilitating illnesses and injuries by providing them with video games, game consoles, controllers, and video game related toys – through GameChanger Charity.
When the Carols moved back to Southern California, Taylor was taken to Miller Children’s & Women’s to receive post-transplant care. After encountering the friendly hospital care team, Jim knew the patients of Miller Children’s & Women’s would benefit from their charity as well.
“I was so moved by how grounded everyone was while giving expert level care,” said Jim Carol, CEO, GameChanger Charity. “I started donating to Miller Children’s & Women’s not only to express my gratitude for saving my son’s life, but for saving so many children’s lives every single day.”
GameChanger works closely with the Cherese Mari Laulhere Child Life Program to ensure all the patients at Miller Children’s & Women’s are given joy through gaming. Throughout the years they have partnered together to donate funds and electronics/gaming items hospital-wide to support the pediatric patients and their families. They also donate specific video games systems and games by request to raise the spirits of patients going through particularly lengthy hospitalizations.
“We are so grateful to have Jim and GameChanger as one of our partners,” says Allison Singhi, child life specialist, Child Life Program, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “Every time we get a donation of video games or a new gaming system, the patients get really excited. It helps them forget that they are hospitalized, even just for a bit.”
Most recently, Jim dropped off video game-themed clothes, toys, and hundreds of sports-related video games to the hospital for patients and their families. GameChanger even gifted some of these video games to the care team, since they remember the impact the care team has on patients through their medical journey.
“Miller Children’s & Women’s ensures life-saving care to countless patients,” says Jim. “We are humbled to contribute to that positive healing environment on behalf of so many.”