“Thank You For Playing” -The relationship between a father and his ill son turned into a video game.

April 18, 2015 § Leave a comment


The documentary begins in computerized video game styled graphics of a doctor walking into a waiting room and telling a married couple (Ryan and Amy Green) that their son Joel has had a recurrence of his brain tumor, and that the recurrence means the chemotherapy has failed. At that time, Joel was one year old. As can be imagined, the couple was solemn, and left with a lot to contemplate. They have 4 boys, Joel, being the youngest of the four.

To handle the internal conflict, Ryan and his family create a video game called “That Dragon, Cancer,” where he, his wife Amy, and all of their sons reenact and document all of their experiences with Joel’s battle with cancer, believing that fighting cancer is like a game. From conversations with Medical Doctors, Joel being wheeled in a wooden wagon throughout the pediatric ward in a Children’s Hospital in Colorado attached to drips and nasogastric tubes, additional treatment modalities, and how they choose to spend time with Joel as though he was living and not dying, the digital video game reflects who they are as family grieving, and wanting to keep Joel in their thoughts.

In the hospital environment, Ryan realizes that he is surrounded by 500 other families possibly going through similar experiences, and how we in the United States, don’t like to talk about death.


Bereavement support:

Spend time listening to the needs of mourners. Pay attention to what is not said as well as to what is said.

Make referrals to community programs. The bereaved may need help with financial or legal matters.

Remember that this is a process of adjustment. Encourage social interactions and community involvement.

Be sensitive to the religious convictions of the bereaved.
Cultivate empathy and recognize one’s own feelings about death, dying and grief. -by Camille A. Servodidio, RN, MPH, CRNO and Maryann Steed, RN, MSN, CHPN

‘Thank You For Playing” is showing at ‘The Tribeca Film Festival 2015,’ with tickets still available.

FRI 4/17 5:45 PM Regal Cinemas Battery Park 11-10
SAT 4/18 6:15 PM Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 4
TUE 4/21 6:45 PM Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea 5
THU 4/23 5:45 PM Regal Cinemas Battery Park 11-10

Article by Sharon Abella

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