This morning I was browsing Justin.tv when I happened to notice that one of the few broadcasters I follow, LookAtMyChicken, was casting a little early. Unfortunately, the title did not bode well: “Goodbye/Birthday Marathon.” Curious, I hopped in on the chat to see what was going on. Many of the viewers were gracious to inform me that Chicken was having financial trouble. Without any money to pay his rent or phone bill, he was going to end up on the street tomorrow. Some birthday, huh? Not only that, but he has been battling depression for years now, a disease that claimed his half-brother and father six years ago. His family and friends had all but abandoned him as well, leaving him with only his followers to comfort him.
This got me thinking back to just over a year ago when I was also losing my fight to depression. I had been borderline suicidal for months, and I didn’t know whether or not I would survive through my Christmas break. Thankfully the commentary from John and Dan over at NextGenWalkthroughs helped sustain me. The weekly podcasts and videos gave me something to laugh about when I couldn’t take the shit that was going on around me any longer. Sure I had friends, but when you’re going through severe depression, you still feel alone. Their words just felt empty, and it only sickened me. However, I was saved by the girl I loved. She wept for me. My willingness to inflict physical harm to myself had reduced her tears, and that served as a wake-up call. I broke down and wept as well, knowing that someone in the world truly cared whether I was still around or not. I made a promise to her that night and have never gone back. Now I’m doing better than ever. That’s not the point of this rant though.
Knowing that Chicken was in deep trouble and despite his pleas to not help a so-called “asshole” like himself, the gaming community rallied and within a short six hours, every one pitched in to raise over $800 to help pay for his rent, phone bill, and groceries for the next month. Now, as I watch his stream, he is doing better than anyone could have dreamed. This reminded me of another news story last September when the lead designer, Brian Wood, over at Relic Entertainment was killed in a car crash protecting his wife and unborn child. With the help of fellow gamers, thousands of dollars were raised in his honor to aid his surviving family members. About a month ago too, a group of random speed gamers who had never met got together to run through 100 games. They livestreamed the whole event, raising over $50,000 in turn for cancer research. I cannot help but feel inspired.
Stories like these give me hope. It touches me to know that the community of gamers out there would selflessly bend over backwards to help those in need. How many other communities can can honestly say they would do the same thing? So to all gamers out there and anyone else that have read this blog, you have my thanks. From the bottom of my heart, I’m proud to call myself a gamer.