Gamers looking for a way to give back to their communities this holiday season can join Child's Play in raising money for children staying at hospitals and domestic violence shelters. As one of the largest video game industry charities in the world, the organization is kicking off its 2016 holiday season donation drive with their annual dinner and auction on December 8.The 2016 Child's Play Charity Auction is being held at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington. Tickets to attend the dinner and auction cost $145 per person, or a table for 10 can be reserved for $5,000 with all proceeds going to the charity. At the auction, more than 100 rare and collectible items will be going home to the highest bidders. Among the treasures up for grabs are a life-sized Iron Battle Axe replica from Destiny and an Oculus Rift.
Child's Play was founded in 2003 by Penny Arcade co-creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Since then, as of 2015, the organization has rallied the gaming community to donate more than $40 million in donations for over 200 hospitals and domestic violence shelters around the world. Holkins touches on the organization's purpose in the following statement to the press.
"The mission of Child's Play is to create moments of happiness and connection for children and their families in tough circumstances, whether at one of our partner hospitals, or in the domestic violence shelters we support. It's a mission gamers worldwide have supported year after year and, with their support, we'll continue to meet that need."Providing children with a distraction during times of stress and pain is currently helpful in a variety of treatment programs, and the need is only expected to continue to grow. Virtual reality, in particular, is being explored as a treatment option for cancer patients, burn victims, and other high pain conditions. A new study at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland is testing the effectiveness of using VR to help kids experiencing the intense pain of sickle cell disease. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, 25 children are currently enrolled in the study and five additional children are scheduled to enter the study during the next few months. Thus far in 2016, one of the biggest sources of support for Child's Play has come through the charity fundraising marathon Desert Bus for Hope. The event is quite different from the annual charity auction and is explained by the organizers as follows.
"Desert Bus is a mini-game from the never-released Sega CD game Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors. Challenging the player to drive a listing, unreliable, virtual bus on an endless, eight-hour-long strip of highway between Tucson, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, it is widely regarded to be the worst video game ever made."The Desert Bus for Hope session this year raised $694,810 from online viewers, beating the 2015 fundraising total of $683,720 by more than $10,000.
"We play it for as long as donations come in. In order to keep things interesting for our viewers we have live and silent auctions, giveaways and contests, celebrity guests and a lot of silliness."
Anyone interested in contributing to Child's Play and their network of hospitals can do so by:
- Hosting a fundraiser luncheon, dinner, masquerade ball, or other event
- Shopping using Amazon Smile to donate 0.5 percent of your purchases to the charity
- Buying or donating an item via the Child's Play eBay for Charity page
- Making a donation through the official PayPal account @childsplaycharity.org or donation page
- Mailing a check to the Child's Play office in Redmond, WA
[Featured Image by Child's Play]