I mentioned this past Sunday, in my sermon, a computer game called “That Dragon, Cancer.” I talked about the creators Ryan and Amy Green and their son Joel. I realized, in talking with Erikka on our way home that I left a lot of the background of the game, and the family’s journey to making the game out of my sermon, background that potentially would have been helpful, or at least background that is very interesting.
The idea for the game came to Ryan as he was in a hospital room with his son Joel. Joel was crying and crying and crying. Nothing Ryan did could get Joel to stop. He tried feeding him, holding him, playing with him. Nothing. The only thing Joel wanted was juice. But that juice, Ryan knew, would only cause Joel more pain, and so he couldn’t give it to him. Ryan felt helpless. Nothing he could would bring comfort or relief to his son. And then Ryan did the only remaining thing he could think of. He prayed. And Joel stopped crying. In this moment, Ryan felt the gift of mercy like he had never experienced it before, and it was incredible to him. He wanted to be able to share that feeling, the feeling of real mercy with others. And so he told Amy about it.
Amy wasn’t on board at first, but she let Ryan run with the idea. He spent money on hiring developers to help work on the game with him. When they brought it to a gaming conference to show people, and to look for investors, Amy was quite skeptical. She expected Ryan to come home disappointed and deflated. Ryan came home excited and encouraged. There were others who wanted to be a part of making this game happen. It was then they both realized that Amy had never played the game. Once she did, she was fully on board. She saw and experienced the same thing that Ryan did, and she wanted to help share that with others.
Ryan and Amy and Joel’s story intrigued me for a number of reasons. It resonated with me, know what its like to feel helpless watching a loved one suffer and die of the horrible disease cancer. I was blown away that the podcast I heard about it on featured a family that was so clearly and outspokenly Christian. Ryan and Amy share about their church, their prayer life, and God’s mercy being the spark for the game. And I felt a sense of knowing exactly what Ryan and Amy wanted to do in creating a living memory, more than just a headstone or memorial at the grave, something that lived on and told who Joel was. My family and a number of Peder’s friends did the same thing with the foundation we created in his name, and the desire was the same, to turn our mourning in to something that reminder us and others of Peder.
You can find out more about Ryan and Amy Green, and their son Joel on the website for their game, That Dragon Cancer, in the link below.