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Chris Stafford

When I was in Jr. High, probably around 15 years old, my best friend had to be admitted to the local hospital for several days due to complications related to his asthma. I was extremely worried about what my friend was going through, and while his prognosis was never anything other than good, visiting him at the hospital was a scary experience.

This was before Child's Play had been started, but thankfully some forward thinking administrator, or doctor, or charitable donor had thought to provide the hospital with some video game systems. When I went to visit my friend, I found him playing Mario Kart 64 with his roommate. Fortunately, his roommate was kind enough to let me take a spin with my friend, and the two of us played Mario Kart for a while, just like we did when he would come over to hang out at my house.

I haven't had to set foot in a children's hospital since then, thank goodness, but having access to that Nintendo 64 for the time I was visiting my friend made the process incredibly easier, and playing Mario Kart with him gave me the feeling that my friend was going to be OK in a way that no amount of reassurance from my parents, or the doctors, could have provided.

The work you guys are doing is incredible, and you're helping not just the kids in those hospitals, but all their friends, as well. It's years later, and that memory has stuck with me ever since.