It was June 2008 when I first met Mick Donegan. Mick had started a charity called SpecialEffect which had a very simple aim. To help disabled people play games and in so doing enhance their quality of life through play. There was a big official launch and at that event, Mick demonstrated eye control technology that allowed a severely disabled, quadriplegic England U21 Rugby player, Matt Hampson to use his eyes to move a cursor around a screen thus controlling a racing car around a track in a video game. It was quite literally amazing.
From that day, myself and Kirsty, decided that we simply had to help the small team at SpecialEffect and do what we could to get them support and awareness within the video games industry. We both became VPs of the charity and I was also honoured to be there when the Prime Minister, David Cameron opened the SpecialEffect’s fully accessible games centre, the first in the UK, and I even had to make a speech addressed to him, standing about three feet away!
And you know what? It has been relatively easy to help spread the word about the good that SpecialEffect do for disabled people over these last seven years. Seeing people become connected with their friends and siblings through play is just brilliant. And seeing the same people not being judged when they plan online with their friends is simply awe inspiring. SpecialEffect’s work, in one word, is transformational.
SpecialEffect never refuse to help anyone who has a need. Quite the reverse, they actively meet those needs, every single time, no exceptions. As the word gets out there, so the demands on SpecialEffect grow. In short saying no is simply not in SpecialEffect’s DNA.
With demand for their work rising exponentially as awareness goes viral, so SpecialEffect needs to increase its capacity to respond. This takes time, resources and of course, it takes money. Add this to the care, kindness and love that SpecialEffect show all those they help, and you can see why SpecialEffect is truly special for all of us in the games industry.
Without going all Bob Geldof on you, we do need more support, yes that comes in many ways, but money helps. So please, don’t forget that every penny and cent counts. Spread the word, offer your time and above all do what you can to help SpecialEffect this very special charity. And yes, if you are a GamesAid member, please consider voting for them in the annual GamesAid charity vote which opens at noon on Monday, 7th September until noon, Monday 14th September 2015. You can join GamesAid and get your vote here
This video sums it all up really,
and if you want to donate cash, please dig deep hereHelp Special Effect