September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
East Greenwich, RI – Dr. Douglas H. Sherman, Senior Vice President and Provost at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), is pleased to announce that students in the university’s Video Game Design and Development degree program have collaborated with patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Izzy Foundation to produce original video games while developing new friendships. Coordinated through Erin Scott, Executive Director of the Izzy Foundation, which provides services and support to children with cancer and their families, NEIT gaming faculty sought an innovative way to engage students in game making while giving back to the community.
A two-week game jam was held where students had to create and design a playable video game during that time period. To make the game jam experience more meaningful to the students, two patients who were undergoing treatment at the hospital volunteered to participate in the project. Together, the patients provided the all-important game theme to the students who created a video game called “Turnip Knight.” The students had the added incentive to produce a game that the patients would enjoy while creating a fun diversion in their lives. Sadly, one of the patients succumbed to her illness a few weeks after the game jam, but the creation will always hold a piece of her legacy. The game is free to download and may be found on Google Play at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.IzzyFoundation.TurnipKnight. The students also created a button to enable players to make voluntary donations directly to the Izzy Foundation.
This first collaboration between the students and the two patients was such a great learning experience on so many different levels that NEIT gaming faculty reconnected with Ms. Scott to ask if they could partner once again. This time the students worked with a North Providence High School senior who is a cancer survivor. With a passion for video games, the student provided the video gamers with the theme for a 24-hour game jam which was a great success.
“September is designated as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in order to bring awareness to those children afflicted with this disease,” stated Dr. Sherman. “Working with the patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital has not only taught our students new gaming skills, but more importantly, our students learned about the resiliency and perseverance these young patients face daily. We are proud of the rewarding relationships that have developed between the hospital patients and our Video Game Design and Development degree candidates.”