Changing the game for kids with cancer

Gaming for Josh

Last month, gamers of all ages united during the second annual Gaming for Josh event, which took place online from May 14 - 15.

Gaming for Josh is a unique fundraiser that harnesses the power of the gaming community to raise funds and awareness for kids with cancer and blood disorders. During the Giant Weekend of Gaming for Josh, participants pledge to spend the weekend playing games and raising money for WCK programs that help kids and families going through childhood cancer.

The event honours the memory of an Abbotsford boy who was diagnosed with cancer at age 11. During his cancer treatment, Josh found moments of laughter, connection and a “normal” teenage life while playing video games with his friends.

Josh playing video games
Josh playing video games

“When he was playing video games he was totally forgetting that he was going through cancer treatment. He was just Josh, he was just a little kid playing,” says Josh’s mom, Cheryle Ismirnioglou.

“What I love about this event is that it brings back memories of Josh playing on his Xbox,” says Ismirnioglou. “It meant so much to him to be able to connect with family and friends during his cancer journey.”

Originally created in 2021 as an innovative response to COVID-19 restrictions, Gaming for Josh was a huge success both in terms of fundraising and uptake from the gaming community.

Gamer Terry Tsang organized a Gaming for Josh Hearthstone tournament in support of the event, raising over $5,000 for WCK.

“I wanted to support West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation and Gaming for Josh because I have some understanding of how devastating the effects of cancer can be, having lost my mother to cancer at a very young age,” said Tsang. “Now as a father, the thought of having a child with cancer, and how difficult it would be, made me want to support WCK any way possible.”

The weekend’s events included a Streamers vs. Developers tournament from the creators of Storybook Brawl, an in-person Super Smash Bros Ultimate Grandslam hosted by Moutainside Gaming, and much more.

“We are so grateful to everyone who participated in Gaming for Josh,” says WCK Executive Director Shannon Hartwig. “We continue to be blown away by the support from the gaming community, and this event is a wonderful opportunity to engage with gamers from all over the world and honour Josh’s memory.”


Click below for more information on our "Gaming for Josh" event.