“I wish to have a gaming PC”
15 years old, Liphook
Spinal muscular atrophy
For Sophie, gaming offers the perfect escape - the chance to live in another world. Her wish to have a gaming PC has helped her level-up her passion for gaming, connect with friends online and run high-performance games effortlessly. It's boosted her confidence and given her a network she'd never have IRL!
Sophie, 15, from Hampshire, has been a gamer for nearly five years, playing titles like Roblox and The Sims with friends and gaming communities across the world.
She has a rare condition called spinal muscular atrophy type 2 - a genetic neuromuscular disorder that affects the nerve cells controlling her muscles - which Sophie's muscles are weak and she uses a wheelchair to get around. Sophie’s condition was identified early, at just 18 months, as her grandma also has it, but that doesn’t negate the challenges it brings. For her, gaming provides an escape where she can be anyone.
"It’s the social side I don’t like missing out on. I can’t just pack a suitcase and go away like my friends can."
Sophie’s dad, Martin, added: “We have to forward plan a lot. We rely on others to make sure everything is in place for Sophie. We recently moved into a bungalow so that Sophie can move around the house easier and get to her own room.”
When Sophie’s wish to go to Disneyland Paris was cancelled due to Covid restrictions, she had the ideal wish already in mind: a brand-new gaming PC.
Sophie not only games for pleasure, but she uses her gaming to strengthen her position in the online gaming community and help others. She has recently been interviewing to secure a senior coaching position in the Roblox community by creating presentations to teach other players how to perform cheerleading routines with avatars within the game.
When asked why she wanted a gaming PC, Sophie said: “One of the friends I play with has a proper gaming set-up, and I wanted something just like that. It’d mean I could play more detailed games, my computer wouldn’t lag as much, and my games would run smoothly.”
After meeting on video call to understand exactly what she wanted, Sophie’s Wishgranter, Erica, began working her magic to ensure Sophie received all that she wished for. Through our partnership with Ebuyer, Erica arranged for the purchase and delivery of her gaming PC, high-spec monitor and Razor accessory bundle including keyboard, headset and mouse.
For Sophie, gaming is the perfect opportunity to escape her daily challenges. As she explained: “It lets me get away and go into another world. It’s an escape, and I can be whoever I want to be. If I’ve had a challenging day with friends talking about things I can’t do, I can look forward to getting home, putting my headphones on, and talking to people that enjoy the same things as me.”
Sophie’s favourite type of games are lifestyle and survival games, where she can create her own characters. And there are some powerful reasons why: “On The Sims, I can play as another character who can do what I can’t – it’s like an extension of my own life,” explains Sophie. “In Roblox, it’s the same."
"In real life, I’m in a wheelchair and can’t do a lot of the same things as my friends. But online, I can be part of a team and I’m literally an equal."
Gaming has been a huge confidence boost for Sophie over the years, and it’s allowed her to socialise with a completely new community. “I play with a real mix of people online, and a lot of them are American. At first, I didn’t say I was in a wheelchair - but now, everyone knows. Meeting those people made me more confident,” said Sophie.
Even Sophie’s family have seen the impact of gaming on her life: “I didn’t appreciate what the games were before. But when Sophie explained what she was doing on them, I was quite amazed, because I couldn’t do it,” Martin shared.
The impact of Sophie's wish
Now that Sophie has her PC, she’s reaching new heights with her gaming skills. “The biggest impact of my wish is that it’s given me more confidence playing online. Now, I know a routine won’t fail because of a PC freeze. I love having a PC that can cope with the games I play – and I love that the PC and keyboard lights react to my games!
“For my family, I think it's the happiness they see in me when I play the games.”
When asked how she’ll look back on her wish, Sophie joked: “I’ll look back in the future and wonder how I ever coped gaming on my old PC!”
She also shared an important message about the value of a wish...
"I think young people who have a critical illness or disability like me need a wish because they already have enough to deal with that others take for granted – like walking. The wish gives you something to use or do that you otherwise wouldn’t get the opportunity to. I think you can’t question the value of a wish that helps a young person have one of their biggest dreams come true."
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