Stick with me on this post. It is about gaming, but it goes through some personal stuff first.
Myself and my group are about to do a 24 hour gaming session for charity. We’re doing it for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity as part of their annual “Save Point” event. Hopefully it’s going to be epic, although I have to admit to being slightly concerned about getting enough content together in time. There may be some improvisation in places.
How did this come about?
Well, two years ago, my then 8 year old son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. There’s no worse thing you can be told as a parent than to be told your child has cancer. It felt like the ground had opened up and swallowed us, such was the sheer depth of the darkness that news cast over our lives. I still break out in a cold sweat when I recall the exact moment we found out.
What followed was 6 months of intense chemotherapy, soul-searching decisions about clinical trials and learning to adapt to life with an immune-suppressed child and all the complications that brings. The disruption to our lives was significant.
At the time this happened, I had been running a D&D 5e Campaign over Fantasy Grounds. This immediately went into hiatus, returning later when life was more settled. My players were incredibly understanding. It’s very fitting that two of those players are taking part in the 24 hour event. I know that the other players in that group would also take part if they weren’t scattered around the globe. That campaign is over but 2 years down the line we are into our second campaign and still playing together.
D&D became a great outlet for me from the stress of our situation. There was always the risk of a short notice dash into hospital, so being able to socialise without actually leaving the house was absolutely critical. It was very therapeutic. I also used the time in hospital, often sitting up while my son slept, to run a couple of play by post games to keep my hand in.
As a result, it seems fitting that we are playing D&D to raise money for the hospital that treated him, and is still treating him. He’s now 10 years old and loves D&D as well and he (and perhaps his two younger sisters) will be taking part in some of the day with us (although not the full 24 hours). He still has another year of chemotherapy to go.
His name is Sam. He’s 10 years old and he’s a clear reminder that not all heroes are imaginary Wizards or Fighters, represented by minis and character sheets. Some heroes quietly fight much greater, very real battles, with humour and some considerable style.
As a family, we’ve benefited hugely from a number of charities who have taken care of us as a family. ECHC is one of those charities.
We’re doing this on the weekend of October 6th and 7th but it seems appropriate to blog about this now, as September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, where people are encouraged to “Glow Gold” in support of children with cancer.
Wish us luck with the 24 hour session, and if anyone has done anything similar and has any hints and tips then please leave a comment. Any advice would be welcome.
I am a 40 something DM/GM located in Scotland. In 2016, I rediscovered the joys of tabletop role-playing games. This blog documents my journey back into the fold.