Alrick is a skilled gamer who has loved playing video games since he was 2 years old. From the early days of Nintendo to the current PS4 multi-level digital games, Alrick loved his virtual worlds, beating game after game one level at a time.
Then, at the age of 17, he had a harsh jolt back to reality when he encountered another obstacle in the game of life.
“Alrick was getting nosebleeds, headaches and his blood pressure was through the roof,” said his mom, Lori. “We didn’t know anything was wrong until he was hospitalized and he was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.”
The realities of chronic kidney disease are tough. Dialysis, a very specific diet, lots of medications, and talk of a transplant are regular occurrences.
That is why, when Alrick’s child life specialist referred him for a wish, he chose to have a virtual reality system.
“I love playing video games; I can play for hours at a time. I wanted to have virtual reality stuff to take my gaming to the next level,” Alrick said.
A wish became an outlet for Alrick to forget about his illness for a while and also changed the way he interacted with others in the real world.
“He’s normally a pretty quiet kid but seeing him so happy on his wish day was the best part to me,” said Lori. “He really opened up and it made me realize MY one true wish was seeing my child not have the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
“We’re a video game family so it’s all very exciting but his wish wasn’t just about the items he received, it was about what he needed to be himself again,” she continued.
In addition to the virtual reality system, Alrick had a shopping spree at GameStop, where he was able to get additional items to compliment his system – including one very special gift.
“The team at GameStop went above and beyond! Purple is his favorite color, so they contacted PlayStation on their own and pulled some strings so Alrick could receive the first Electric Purple DualShock 4 controller worldwide,” said Lori. “They even pitched in and donated gifts from the store when they heard about Alrick’s wish.”
Now that Alrick has had some time with his new equipment, he says VR is different from traditional gaming consoles and his wish has improved his gaming experience.
“The difference is there isn’t a screen. It’s 3D and you wear a headset so you’re moving around and doing the actions to feel like you’re really there in the game. It’s the definition of immersive,” Alrick said.
Alrick plans to study biology at Arizona State University or Northern Arizona University - his next objective after he graduates high school in the spring. And his wish was just what he needed to power up his life.
“Alrick needs a kidney transplant, and we’re making progress, but his wish has allowed him to think beyond his diagnosis and concentrate on the next ‘level’ of his life,” said Lori.