Between all the billion-dollar buyouts and streamer drama, it's sometimes easy to forget the simple pleasures of PC gaming. For one child in Wales, UK, however, it meant a whole lot more than that.
Evan, a resident of Tonypandy in Wales, was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when he was 10. Unfortunately, a late diagnosis led to a rushed surgery and a month-long recovery in hospital, which likely saved Evan's life.
Crohn's is an inflammation of the digestive system. It's a lifelong condition with no known cure, and it can cause severe flare-ups that can be really painful and damaging to the body. It can, and likely will, cause significant disruption to those that have it, and that's the reality facing Evan and his family since Evan was diagnosed.
After his return from hospital, he "started pulling away and didn't want to talk to anyone," Evan's mother, Dawn, says.
"It was very hard. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't talk to me."
Evan would later return to hospital for another operation at age 13, and spent a further three weeks in hospital. This, along with trouble at school and frequent visits to medical professionals, led to feelings of depression.
For his 14th birthday, Evan wished for an Alienware gaming PC. That would be an exciting prospect for just about any PC gamer, but for Evan it was a way to reconnect with friends and with his childhood, which had been abruptly ended with his diagnosis and treatment.
The Make-A-Wish UK charity took notice and, when Evan received that PC, his mother says he was "honestly glowing."
"I hadn’t seen him that happy for a very, very long time," Evan's mother, Dawn, says. "Evan himself called it the light at the end of the tunnel. It means he can stay connected with friends even when he misses school and helps take his mind off the pain when he has a Crohn’s flare up. It’s even helped him to read faster.”
It's a story like Evan's that you have to stop and appreciate every once in a while. PC gaming might be a small part of your life, or perhaps a really big one, but it's something we can all get behind because we enjoy it and it brings us happiness. We're pretty lucky to be able to sit at our desktop and jump on a few games of Hunt: Showdown or Project Zomboid in the evening with our pals, and sometimes a story like Evan's makes you remember that.
If you want to help support charities that do great things like this, there are plenty to choose from. Make-A-Wish UK helped Evan out, and I'm sure would really appreciate whatever you can donate. Others like SpecialEffect and Ablegamers help out a lot of people that would love to be more involved in videogames but can't due to their accessibility needs.
There's also Crohn's and Colitis UK in dear ol' Albion, who offer up tons of information for anyone affected by Crohn's, including friends, family, and more. And over in the US, there's the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation with plenty of resources.
You really can't go amiss when it comes to all the great charities out there supporting gamers from all backgrounds.