The generosity of gamers can be truly beautiful sometimes, as one nine-year-old cancer sufferer in New Zealand has discovered.
I was holidaying in New Zealand for the last few days, and while I wasn't supposed to be working I couldn't help but catch the attention of Angus Little. He's a nine-year-old currently residing in the oncology ward of Wellington Regional Hospital, having recently undergone chemotherapy for a brain tumour.
Like a lot of hospitals looking after sick children, Wellington had bolted down a PS4 for Little and other children to enjoy. It makes sense - the games are a useful distraction from their horrific situation.
But then some arsehole came along, unscrewed the PS4, and nicked it from the oncology ward.
"We are extremely disappointed that someone would choose to steal something used to occupy and cheer up children who are undergoing treatment," Chris Lowry, general manager of Wellington Regional Hospital, told New Zealand press. "We can confirm that the device was unsecured from a trolley, and stolen some time during the weekend."
While police began an investigation, Little's mother began a donation drive through Facebook and a crowdfunding campaign. 44 people donated just over $1300 Australian to replace the PlayStation, while others directly donated hardware and equipment.
Child's Play, the United States-based charity which provides consoles and games to hospitals worldwide, got in touch. "We have reached out to the hospital and foundation folks and are going to help Wellington Children’s fully equip their playrooms and outpatient area’s with game equipment," the organisation posted on Facebook.
They weren't the only organisation to get involved, either. EB Games, PlayStation New Zealand, PlayStation Magazine UK, the Singaporean-headquartered ISP MyRepublic, iMoved, and more got in touch. One British gamer bought and shipped a PS4 directly to Wellington; another provided a PS4 and additional security to make sure it couldn't be swiped.
At least 12 consoles (including an Xbox One and a gaming kart, supplied by Gamers Outreach) and 15 games were donated over the last few days, along with just under $4700 to the Wellington Hospitals Foundation. Bill Day, chairman of the foundation, said the response was the largest they had ever seen.
Little's school were also going to run a sausage sizzle to raise money for a new PS4, but following the response they will donate the money to the family instead so they can determine how best to use it. Hospital staff are also due to have a meeting on how to best distribute the excess gaming equipment across the various children's wards.