Luke Maeding is using his love of video games to raise money for other kids at #UPMC Children’s Hospital in #Pittsburgh.
The 18-year-old #gamer received a double lung transplant in 2010, and now his small intestines are failing. His heart, however, seems very much intact. While Maeding could have languished in his hospital bed looking for his own sources of comfort, he has turnedhis stay into an outreach toward others in a similar battle for survival.
Maeding believes his efforts will “help other families and kids … it will distract their pain.” He has partnered with Extra Life, a charity that “unites thousands of gamers to play games and heal kids by fundraising for local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across North America.” And he was not content with half-measures: Maeding recently raised $700 dollars on a 24-hour marathon of the popular Lego games developed by Traveller’s Tales. “I love playing Lego games so much that I had to take a break. … I went to sleep, and then started playing again for 24 hours,” he said.
Luke’s mom, Heather, is understandably proud. “This is perfect for Luke because he loves gaming so much and he loves giving back, too, especially to Children’s and everyone here because he knows very intimately everything they do here,” she said.
In fact, 100 percent of the money Maeding raises goes right back to other patients at UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh — where he waits for the Christmas miracle that could save his life. “We finally had hope coming here … because we felt that everyone was going to work to get Luke the healthiest he could be, even if we didn’t have all the answers,” his mother added.
For now, Maeding is offering the time he has left to give others more of the same. Controller in hand as he explores virtual worlds, he is already doing his part to save the real one. And, in the process, delivering a sacred Christmas gift: