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With a Little Help from His Friends

By Amelia Harbison

My husband is a hard-core video gamer. What this means, for those of you who don’t play games, is that he has an expansive social network – but they are scattered throughout the country so he never sees them “in real life.” Because of this, I am often the only “social interaction” he has. Never-the-less, he has formed an amazing group of buddies.

He was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 25. For the most part, things have been fine. He takes medication to control it and leads a normal life, but we try to stay active in new research news and in fundraising for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. We do a walk every year called Light the Night, where survivors, caregivers/supporters, and those walking in remembrance of someone, get together to walk while literally “lighting up the night” to show community. My husband does not talk about his disease, but a few years ago, his mom was diagnosed with Lymphoma – also a type of blood cancer. He became much more active in fundraising after that.

Toward the end of my mother-in-law’s life, some of my husband’s gaming buddies contacted me through Facebook. They had never spoken to me. They had never met Josh in person. However, they talked to him and spent time together every night. They told me they wanted to give him a gift – they wanted to pay for him to go to a hockey game to take his mind off things, and to send his mom flowers. They also wanted to donate to our walk. I gave them the link and our information, literally crying at the thought of so much love for my amazing man.

In just over twelve hours, they managed to raise nearly $2,000 just from sharing the link in their group. I was literally crying - $2,000 could go toward information for families, who have just been diagnosed, or toward community programs to offer support, or even toward researching for a cure. To top that off, they surprised my husband – during the Light the Night walk – with the news that they had paid for hockey tickets and a hotel room for us and my in-laws – just to give us a little bit of joy during a difficult time.

With a little help from his friends... my husband realized just how loved he is during a time he was feeling very alone. He learned that day that solely knowing someone from a video game does not mean they do not hold you in their hearts.

The Harbisons have been together for 21 years and married for 12. In one way or another, video games have always been a huge part of their lives, from their first meeting-to- meeting many of their friends.

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