AbleGamers Foundation — the leading charity organization using the power of gaming to break down the barriers of economic and social isolation for people with disabilities — is overjoyed to announce today that Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana (CHNOLA) is the recipient of the non-profit’s July 2018 Expansion Pack. The Expansion Pack includes a donation of approximately $10,000 worth of assistive technologies, custom controllers, specialized training sessions and video games. Sharing AbleGamers’ vision to allow everyone to enjoy video games, technology and gaming brands Microsoft, Humble Bundle and HyperX have generously sponsored the upcoming event. The latest AbleGamers’ Expansion Pack will enable hundreds of young patients with disabilities at CHNOLA — the only free-standing, full-service hospital exclusively for children in Louisiana and the Gulf South — to find comfort through, and integrate video games, into their treatment plans.
“We’re so grateful for the support of AbleGamers and all the other sponsors who are donating items as part of this Expansion Pack,” said Rene Assetta Guilbeau, Director, Child Life and Creative Therapies at CHNOLA. “Hospitals can be a scary place for children and research has shown that playing video games can serve as a much-needed distraction – or even help as a therapy tool. Providing this specialized equipment will allow our patients to enjoy video games regardless of their disabilities, which will hopefully brighten up their days and allow them to have a little fun.”
AbleGamers will begin installation of CHNOLA’s Expansion Pack on July 12, 2018, serving the hospital’s Gilda Trautman Newman Rehabilitation Center. Accessibility experts from AbleGamers will work with CHNOLA’s healthcare professionals to install and maintain the contents of the Expansion Pack throughout the life of the project. Each pack contains AbleGamers’ wide range of accessible technologies from custom-crafted controllers to professionally made accessibility devices such as Microsoft’s recently announced Xbox Adaptive Controller (which was developed in-part with the aid of AbleGamers Foundation), ensuring fun gaming experiences for patients regardless of their ability.
“Everyone deserves to have fun,” said Mark Barlet, Executive Director and Founder of AbleGamers. “We believe with the right set of tools and training, every hospital can have the ability to use video games for fun and rehabilitation. Some patients have a permanent disability, some have a temporary disability, and others are just sick and need a place to retreat away from the pain. Video games provide that way to escape from your troubles, make new friends, or stay connected to loved ones. That’s why I couldn’t be happier we are able to help wonderful places like the New Orleans Children’s Hospital.”
Some of the video game industry’s biggest companies helped make this Expansion Pack possible through their generous donations:
Microsoft is donating a bundle of family-friendly games as part of CHNOLA’s Expansion Pack and hardware and peripheral maker HyperX, a leader in the gaming community and frequently involved in charitable activities, is providing award-winning Could Alpha headsets, Alloy Elite RGB keyboard and Pulsefire Surge Mouse and mouse pads. Other AbleGamers partners providing support include video game retailer and publisher Humble Bundle, who contributed proceeds from their Humble Monthly Bundle.
In addition to the upcoming Expansion Pack deployment at CHNOLA, AbleGamers is also teaming up with Microsoft Studios for the upcoming Gears Pro Circuit and Halo Championship Series tournaments being held at the New Orleans Convention Center from July 13 – 15, 2018. This unique esports event will feature simultaneous standalone tournaments with non-stop action as players compete for a coveted prize pool. As part of this Expansion Pack, local members of AbleGamers and patients of CHNOLA will attend the event free-of-charge for a weekend of behind-the-scenes looks, gaming and to root for their favorite pro gamers.
First launched in early 2016, the AbleGamers Expansion Pack program provides free customized packages of assistive gaming technologies to facilities with special needs patients as a way to ensure gaming experiences are widely accessible to everyone, including those with physical disabilities. In the program’s first year alone, AbleGamers donated six Expansion Packs to various medical institutions, sending out $100,000 worth of accessible technology such as modified controllers and other devices, as well as providing on-site training and support. With the support of gamers and sponsors, AbleGamers aims to increase the size and frequency of future Expansion Packs. Those who would like to donate can do so at https://ablegamers.donordrive.