By Jerry Bonner
“If I could wave my magic wand, I’d make everything all right…” ~ From the song, “Presto” by Rush.
I think all of us have echoed the sentiment of the lyrics quoted above at one time or another during our lives. We all would like a chance to hit the reset button, or to get some sort of “do over” for something that went wrong or some past mistake that we made.
Alas, we live in the real world. This is a not a video game or a fairy tale where multiple chances, miracle cures and happy endings are commonplace. Bad things happen to good people every day and the best that you can hope for, realistically, is the opportunity to give something back – to do a little good if and when the situation arises.
When I won the new version of the Xbox 360 from GamePro just such an opportunity arose. At that point, I had a perfectly good Xbox 360 Pro still sitting in my home entertainment center. What to do with it?
In February of 2008, my 12-year-old step-daughter, Kaela, contracted pneumococcal meningitis which ultimately claimed her life. When I think of Kaela, I remember her as an avid gamer who loved to play with and care for little children. Recalling any memories of her, even two and a half years on, can be an unpredictable proposition in and of itself. The closest thing I can liken it to is being trapped in an emotional echo chamber, if you will. In an echo chamber, you never know where the sound is coming from, which is incredibly disorienting. Much like that, I never know when or where overwhelming feelings of sadness and loss are going to overtake me. It can be in the car, or at work, or even at the supermarket. I’ll see or hear something totally at random that will trigger a memory that, for lack of a better phrase, just destroys me emotionally.
To counteract those feelings (and, of course, to do some good in Kaela’s name), I decided to donate my extra Xbox 360 to Cooper’s Children’s Regional Hospital here in New Jersey; the very place where Kaela spent the last two days of her life.
This seemed entirely apropos for several reasons beyond just that. Kaela loved both gaming and kids – therefore the thought of this spare system (along with Lego Star Wars) entertaining children in the hospital would have greatly pleased her. I also recalled that the only gaming product at the hospital was a rather dilapidated GameCube, so this was a nice upgrade for them and made my decision all the easier.
My sincere thanks go out to both Barbara McCarty, Child Life Coordinator at the Children’s Regional Hospital, and to AJ Glasser, News Editor at GamePro, for their help and support in making this donation possible.
This story originally appeared on GamePro.com at the following URL: http://www.gamepro.com/article/news/215929/gamepro-contest-winner-gives-back-to-childrens-hospital/