The Art of Fighting - A gaming event to help save lives
I know you guys and gals all love you some gaming, so I’m asking for your help in spreading the word about an event scheduled to take place in Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico starting on September 27th, 2013. The event is called The Art of Fighting and is “a unique collaboration, bringing together those who love art and those who love video games to benefit an important cause: Saving children’s lives.”
The person that has been the driving force behind this event is Ian, one of my best friends growing up. We spent our fair share of time button mashing together over the years and he’s always been like a brother to me. He’s a talented artist, avid gamer, and lover of all things geek. When he found out that he and his wife were expecting, he was overjoyed. When his son passed away not even 3 months after being born, he was devastated. Please take a moment and read Ian’s story, in his own words:
My name is Ian. I love drawing, I love video games, and more than anything else, I love my son, James.
James was due on Christmas Day, 2011, but thought he’d take everyone by surprise and arrive a week early, on December 18th. I believe it was less than an hour of labor, and there he was. That was his personality; he was a little like his mother, and a little like me… But the reason we always say that we “didn’t just love him… we really ‘liked’ him, too” was that James was his own little person. He was animated and wondrous, and he was our heart.
But what we didn’t know was that James was born with an underdeveloped heart. He had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS, in which the left ventricle of the heart is not fully formed at birth. Time and time again, James received pulse ox screening, and though we were told time and time again that everything was normal, the truth was that his results were sometimes borderline, or worse. He had symptoms; he was sweaty, short of breath, wasn’t feeding properly. He’d kick and scream and I could just feel that something was wrong. But even these symptoms were brushed off as something else – “hormones,” we were told after one such visit to urgent care.
On the morning of March 10th, 2012, James did not look well. He had what we believed was a case of croup cough for a little while, and it was clear that we needed to head to urgent care. I sat in the back of the car with James. He seemed to have fallen asleep after a little while, and I decided to check on him. It was then that I realized he wasn’t breathing. We pulled to the side of the road and the 911 operator instructed me to perform CPR on him. The ambulances arrived shortly after. As his mother and I were taken to the hospital in separate police cars, everything was chaos. The doctors told us they were still trying to revive him, but we could come and see him. We let ourselves hope for a moment. But the doctors couldn’t bring him back. I couldn’t bring him back. Minutes later, James was gone.
I couldn’t get used to the way everyone was telling me I should feel. They told me that there was a “plan” for James. That he was at peace and that really, we should have thought of the two months and 21 days that he was alive as a “perfect life.” But I didn’t think those things. I was angry. I was furious that so many people could have been so careless, that the son I’d waited for my whole life didn’t get a chance to grow up, and that his life was cut short before he even understood what his life was. And I was furious that this could happen to anybody, and in fact, was happening to others. And we just shrug and say he had a “perfect life?” No. I couldn’t do that.
I decided I wanted to do something else; I wanted to honor James by trying to keep what happened to him from happening to others. I wanted to make a big noise so that James could hear it. That’s when I created an event I call THE ART OF FIGHTING. With the help of the Albuquerque competitive gaming community, NM-ISM, who have helped me through the worst and been like a family to me, THE ART OF FIGHTING will be a collaboration between artists, gamers, and two charities – SAVE BABIES THROUGH SCREENING FOUNDATION and the MARCH OF DIMES NEW MEXICO CHAPTER – who are fighting to save the lives of newborns with Congenital Heart Defects.
The two-day event begins Friday, September 27th, with a charity art gallery show and sale, featuring work by artists from New Mexico and around the country inspired by classic arcade fighting games, such as STREET FIGHTER, MARVEL VS. CAPCOM, TEKKEN, MORTAL KOMBAT, SOULCALIBUR, THE KING OF FIGHTERS, and many more. Then, on Saturday, September 28th, participants will have a chance to test their skills against other dedicated players in a day-long, double-elimination video game tournament, featuring SUPER STREET FIGHTER IV: ARCADE EDITION V.1012, ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3, TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2, and INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US. Top finishers will earn some awesome prizes provided by CAPCOM USA, SEGA OF AMERICA, and Albuquerque’s own GAMERS ANONYMOUS. Plus, we will have a special VIRTUA FIGHTER 5 FINAL SHOWDOWN exhibition match featuring two of New Mexico’s best players.
It all starts FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH AT 6:00 PM with the art gallery opening at METROPOLIS COMIC ART GALLERY, at 1102 Mountain Rd. NW, Suite 202 (11th St. & Mountain Rd.) in Downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. On SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH AT 12:00 PM (also at METROPOLIS), entry and registration will begin for the fighting game tournament, with preliminary matches to start at 2:00 PM. Entry for the tournament is $5.00 per game, or $15.00 for all four games.
For more info, details, and rules, please see our Facebook page:
Or contact us by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Or phone: (505) 974-7236
Please stay tuned to our pages as we update information; we are also planning to stream the tournament live and free online, and should have a donation link available when the show opens. I hope that you’ll join me in honoring James and fighting for children to live happy, healthy lives.
So, if you’re in the area during The Art of Fighting, please think about stopping in and donating to this very worthwhile cause. If you’re not in New Mexico, please consider making a donation in James’ honor online if you have a few bucks to spare. My friend will never have his son back, but with your help and donations groups like the Save Babies Through Screening Foundation can help make sure that no other parents ever have to go through what Ian did.
Please consider donating. And if you don’t have much, that’s OK, take 2 seconds and share his story. Get the word out there. The gaming and geek community always takes care of their own whenever they can, so spread the word far and wide! Let James hear that his Daddy is making a BIG, BIG noise by raising your own to help raise awareness and the need for improved testing.
“This year we saw many hilarious performances by women, and many idiotic articles from men about how women suddenly became funny. Yes, imagine how great ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ would have been had Mary, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Valerie Harper actually been funny. If only Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Gilda Radner, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus had been able to get a laugh. I guess what I’m saying is, this isn’t the year that women finally became funny. This is the year that men finally pulled their heads out of their asses.”—Matthew Perry, presenting at the 2012 Comedy Awards (via rufustfirefly)