by Jen Lutz, Friendship Champion
Shortly after fifteen year old Christian was diagnosed with cancer, his mom reached out to the crew at CCChampions. She heard about our organization from a friend and wanted to know more about our work and how we support kids with cancer throughout their treatment and beyond.
During my initial conversation with Christian’s mom, she shared that he had a variety of interests including music, theatre, and traveling. So, I got to work and started brainstorming a list of the cool people that could make a great, inspirational friend for Christian.
A musician? How about an actor? Or maybe a travel agent!!
Though, a few days after speaking with Christian’s mom, I got a chance to actually meet Christian and within just a few minutes of talking with him it was obvious that my ideas weren’t quite going to hit the mark with him.
His mom was correct when she expressed that he is a young man with lots of fun interests, however he is overwhelmingly passionate about one thing, video games!
At school, during his first computer programming class, while the rest of his classmates were just beginning to understand the fundamentals of programming, Christian had already designed his own basic video game.
While Christian and I were talking and getting to know each other, he expressed how disappointed he was that because of his diagnosis he we would not be able to attend video game camp at Carnegie Mellon University during the summer and he would miss out on the second phase of the computer programming class offered at his high school.
It was clear that CCChampions could help Christian stay excited and engaged with his passion. We simply needed to find someone who could fill in these gaps and keep him on track toward his goal of becoming a video game designer. No problem!
Luckily, shortly after we met Christian, we met Ana.
Ana, a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, is an Advanced Game Engineer at Schell Games and she was more than eager to meet and help Christian in anyway she could. It took a few weeks for Ana and Christian to meet in person. Though, in the meantime, Ana sent Christian all sorts of emails. She told him about herself, her experience and she even told him about a few new “top-secret” projects she was working on at Schell Games.
In addition, to all the fun information that Ana provided she also gave Christian HOMEWORK!
She asked him to complete a few online tutorials and do a little experimenting with some of the software she occasionally uses at work. Ana is SERIOUS when is comes to game designing and she wanted really wanted to get down to business when they finally got a chance to meet.
After a few homework assignments and a bunch of emails, Christian and Ana got a chance to spend an evening together. Christian started by describing the type of game he hoped to design, while Ana asked all sorts of questions. Once they were clear on the goal, and their laptops were out, Ana helped Christian get started and they haven’t looked back since.
Together, Ana and Christian have spent a good deal of time working on Christian’s game idea, but they’ve also made time for some fun, too. Christian and Ana get together via Skype. They’ve played games online, and even had a hilarious night playing trivia games.
Ana and Christian, are without a doubt, looking forward to spending more time together. There is definitely more game designing and more fun on the horizon for the two of them!