A plea to game companies, designers, and gamers in general.

02 May

One of the highlights of our gaming year is BorderCon in Albury. It’s a small and intimate con, with around 100-120 people, that runs over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend in June in what must be one of the COLDEST lowland areas of the country, right in the depths of Winter. Seriously, it’s bitterly cold – which makes it the perfect time to play games.

I haven’t written much about this lately, mostly because there isn’t much to say about it except weep weep it’s awful, but our 14 year old Bigster is still extremely unwell with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At the end of Term 1, she dropped all but her five core subjects (her peers are taking nine subjects) of English, Maths, Science, Latin and German. Her Latin teacher isn’t sure that she can pass with her current attendance – even with the timetable affordances, she is still only getting to about 30% of her classes – so it’s on the critical list at the moment. She even dropped the history of warfare subject that she has been looking forward to since before she started high school. She’s dropped out of Saturday German as well, because she just can’t get there. The German name for this condition is Chronisches Erschöpfungssyndrom which translates literally as “chronic exhaustion syndrome” which seems a much better name to me – when you can’t get out of bed AT ALL some days, when you are a bookworm who is too exhausted to read, when you can’t wash your hair because you can’t actually stand up for the time it would take – that’s more than just fatigue.

The specialist tells us that she still has hope that Biggie may start to recover towards the end of the year. This is critical for us and we cling to that hope. Sadly, she’s not gaming much – the days when she played all (then) 12 Power Grid maps over one epic BorderCon weekend are behind us, at least for now.

The ME/CFS society of Australia offers support for people with this severely life-limiting condition (the 80% recovery rate for young people is much higher than that for adults) and funds research into it. There is no cure and no known cause.

Every year, BorderCon runs a raffle to aid a charity group, often raising over $1000. Donations are received from game companies within Australia as well as from attendees. This year, Neil has kindly agreed that the profits from the raffle will be donated to the ME/CFS Society of Australia.

I have a personal interest in making this the Biggest BorderCon Raffle Yet. So I am going out to game companies and to game designers to ask for your support. Can you donate a game? Can you donate a signed sticker that someone could paste inside their game box (or just put in there if they are a bit fussy about their boxes)? Maybe you have a piece of game artwork that could be included in the raffle? BorderCon is a small con with a big heart and any donation is always appreciated, even more so this year.


Posted by on May 2, 2013 in children, games, health


12 responses to “A plea to game companies, designers, and gamers in general.

  1. Nicola Wright

    May 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I really hope your bigster gets better more quickly than you are expecting…and wow 9 subjects for a 14 year old?? That’s huge!

    • Melissa

      May 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Thank you. She’s been sick for over a year now, so any sign of recovery is a good sign.

      She’s in year 10, so had 2 electives (Literature & Creative Writing and the history of Warfare subject) as well as sport or a VET subject and – um, I’m stuck. Did I mis-count or have I forgotten one?

      It has been quite traumatic, especially the phase of re-evaluating what she might be able to do – what her immediate future might look like. But then, in the middle of all the tests last year, she said, “Well at least I know *I* don’t have a brain tumour” – there’s definitely always a bright side.

      • Nicola Wright

        May 2, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        Aaw yes that is a bright side…also good to keep in mind that she will always be able to *catch up* and pursue her interests even if it doesn’t end up being through a traditional high school 🙂

      • Melissa

        May 2, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        It sure is! The biggest worry is losing touch with / getting out of sync with her friends.

  2. Gerald McD

    May 2, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    So sorry to hear about your daughter. I’m sending best wishes with this, and hopes for a speedy recovery.

    • Melissa

      May 2, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      Thanks, Gerald. “Speedy” has a new meaning when you talk Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as it turns out.

  3. huzonfirst

    May 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I was hoping that Biggie was getting better, since you haven’t been blogging about her, so this is very sad to hear. My wife was originally diagnosed with CFS and fibromyalgia, so I know how debilitating this condition can be. (As it turns out, she has Lyme’s disease, which is no better, but we’ve found an excellent specialist and she’s made real progress in the past year or so.) The recovery rate for youngsters is easily the best news here. I know you and Fraser will give her all the love, support, and understanding that anyone could hope for. The odds are, this will be just a small speed bump on the way to Biggie becoming a terrific young woman. Give her a hug for me.

    • Melissa

      May 3, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Thanks Larry. I’m so glad that you have found an excellent specialist – sadly, there’s quite a range out there.

  4. Friendless

    May 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Melissa, check out this slightly odd comment on my geeklist, there may be a trail for you:

    • Melissa

      May 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks John! I love the context of the comment.

  5. Jonathan O'Donnell

    May 3, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Thinking of you all from over here. One of my colleagues was in a similar situation, except that it was his son. It took time, but the lad is fully recovered now and (as Nicola put it) catching up and pursuing his interests.

    • Melissa

      May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am

      They used to think that CFS was 80/20 girls/boys but are now realising that the gap isn’t so wide. I love to hear the recovery stories. I joined a Facebook support group and of course the people who most need support are the parents of really incredibly ill kids. I have to monitor how much I read it because it can be terribly depressing.


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