Friday, October 17, 2008

Play video games while raising $$ for cancer

Faced with today's economic uncertainties, none of us can afford to take anything for granted. Yet, as difficult as life can be in these times, it's important to understand that learning to be appreciative of what we do have is a gift. At The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), we continually learn of blood cancer patients and families who endure terrible uncertainty as a way of life and still take what life has dealt them and manage to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade.

Along those lines, today, I'd like to share with you Taylor Carol's story.

Taylor Carol, of Dana Point, CA, was a typical 11-year-old boy, into sports and video games. But when he got hit by a pitch during a baseball game in March 2006, his world turned upside down. Follow-up testing revealed something more ominous than an injured elbow - leukemia-a particularly lethal form of the disease--one that does not respond to normal treatment.

During the long grueling months that Taylor was in the hospital fighting for his life, his father, software designer Jim Carol, CEO of Game 7 Entertainment Inc., focused his energy on finding a way to help Taylor and other children going through this ordeal. The result was Pledgeplay (, an innovative, customizable, online, casual games and fundraising platform.

LLS recently launched Play2Cures ( ), which employs the Plegeplay platform and allows participants to play casual games online while donating money to help find cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The site lets players purchase online tokens - $1 per token and a minimum of $10 - to play a variety of games, with more to come. Each token will help fund blood cancer research, provide critical information and support to patients and their families and help LLS advocate for issues impacting blood cancer patients. Tokens can also be given to friends and family, and participants are encouraged to compete against each other for top scores. Carol envisions Pledgeplay as a way for families to bond with one another while doing something positive for other families.

Carol's son Taylor played a major role in Pledgeplay's creation. "For one year Taylor worked hard helping me start this company as our video game expert while he was hospitalized," says Carol. "It was an awesome distraction and motivator. He was our VP of game evaluation."Now, Taylor is back in school. Although there is still uncertainty, he and his family are full of hope and happy that he is recovering. Meanwhile, Carol devotes himself to raising awareness about childhood cancers.This family is a great example of how good things can come from bad situations.