10 year old gives the gift of gaming
A range of video game equipment has been donated to Airedale hospital’s children’s ward after fundraising efforts by a 10 year old boy from Oakworth.
Ronnie Hearnshaw was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January this year, and after receiving care on Airedale’s children’s ward, was inspired to give something back.
Ronnie said, “When I was on the children’s ward I was so scared, tired, bored and worried but I also had time where I enjoyed myself because the staff were amazing! They were fun and wanted me to get better.
“The day I got there they asked me if I liked video games (I really do!) and the next thing I knew they brought me a really old TV and an old PlayStation 3 to my bed for me to play on – it made me forget I was poorly for a while.
“I have a Nintendo Switch at home so my dad brought it in for me to play the next day (I still played on the PlayStation too!).
“When I was well enough to go home I started to realise that it would be so good for the children’s unit to have a Nintendo Switch so that kids like me can get the same feeling I did. They can even play it with their parents and visitors, whether on a TV screen or just in bed.
“I never know when I might end up visiting the children’s unit again but when I do I know they will look after me!”
Ronnie and his family set up a Just Giving fundraising page to raise enough money to buy a Nintendo Switch – a hybrid games console that can be played linked up to a TV screen or on the go – which retails at around £300. The fundraising was so successful that two consoles were able to be purchased.
After seeing the fundraising campaign on social media, a Scottish charity called Get Well Gamers also offered to help out. The charity accept donations of consoles and games to distribute to hospitals across the country. They offered to match the donation, bringing two more Switch consoles, plus other games and accessories.
Niain Craw, head of social media for Get Well Gamers, said “It’s great to be able to contribute to such a great cause and to make a difference to children in hospital.
“Hospital can be a scary place to be, especially if you’re a child, so anything we can do to help bring a slice of normality to the situation can only be a positive thing. Playing video games can be a good way to distract children during an uncomfortable time, and therefore help them on the road to recovery.
“We are delighted to be able to help out on this occasion, and hope the consoles go to good use.”
Get Well Gamers have donated around 50 consoles to hospitals across the country since the beginning of 2019.
Karen Reece, play leader on the children’s ward, said “Thank you so much to Ronnie and his family, and Get Well Gamers for their really generous donation. Any children and teenagers we have on the ward will be excited to use these brilliant consoles.
“At the moment we are hoping to create a teenage room on the ward, which will be a chill-out space with games and things to do for older children. The Nintendo Switch consoles will be put to use in here, as well as at children’s bedsides.”
Laura Rowe, diabetes specialist dietitian, says “The four most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes are summarised by the “four Ts” from Diabetes UK. By making sure children and young people get a quick diagnosis and early treatment, we can avoid them becoming seriously ill.”
The four Ts are:
Toilet – Going to the toilet a lot, bed wetting by a previously dry child or heavier nappies in babies
Thirsty – Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst
Tired – Feeling more tired than usual
Thinner – Losing weight or looking thinner than usual.