Thursday, October 21, 2021

Therapy Games – Students organize a fundraising tournament for CS Mott Children’s Hospital patients

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The tournament will feature Esports gamers from across the country playing “Rocket League,” a game where flying cars try to score goals in soccer. These gamers will encourage their several thousand followers to donate, officials said. The WCC students behind the #StreamForMott fundraiser will stream a video game competition from Oct. 3-9 to draw donations for the devices.

A full calendar of streams will be posted the Wolfpack Esports Week #StreamforMott website. Anyone can follow the tournament on the Discord app on the #StreamForMott channel.

The initiative is a partnership between WCC, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the gaming station MissionControl.gg. The proceeds will go toward the purchase of new Starlight Nintendo Switch consoles, which are each priced at $5,000, for Mott patients and families to enjoy, officials said.

“I am so proud of our students and WCC team for their big ideas and even bigger hearts,” WCC President Rose Bellanca said in a statement. “They’ve been working hard to make our first-ever Esport fundraiser a success to help lift the spirits of children and families at Mott Hospital.”

One of those students is Andrew Gabanyicz, who’s also a Mott patient technology specialist. He formed a bond with 6-year-old Will Clayton during weekly chemotherapy treatments for brain cancer, officials said.

Gabanyicz playing video games with Clayton was “therapeutic” and a “miracle,” Clayton’s mother Molly said.

“We were asking this little guy to do this terrifying thing,” Molly Clayton said. “It was extremely traumatic for him and for me. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought I would be thankful for video games. But when kids are going through the worst possible thing you can imagine you do whatever it takes to help them get through that.”

Gabanyicz and three other Mott patient technology team members manage the video game therapy program.

Gabanyicz is in his second year as a WCC Health Program Preparation student. His experience playing video games with Clayton inspired him to pursue a career in recreational therapy, he said.

“It’s us with 350 kids in the hospital,” said Connor Rivera, patient technology project manager. “We provide therapeutic and recreational gaming interventions for socialization and provide fun. We’ll be in there and the next thing you know kids are playing Mario Kart with their doctor or phlebotomist. I am absolutely amazed by it all.”

WCC offers an Esports industry business course, an Esports scholarship internship worth $3,380 per semester and an Esports intramural program that hosts monthly tournaments. Additionally, the college offers a 3D Animation Arts Associate in Applied Science degree and a 3D Animation Certificate.

For the tournament, all player registrations, as well as one-time donations and sponsorships, may be completed through the Wolfpack Esports Week #StreamforMott website.

Prizes will be announced throughout the week and awarded to participants.

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