By Sarah Garcia - January 01, 2021
How does it feel to be a 10-year-old boy watching your mom go through cancer treatment? Just ask John Ranck. His mom Jennifer was diagnosed with stage 4 leiomyosarcoma on New Year’s Eve last year. She underwent a complete hysterectomy and is currently receiving chemotherapy treatment at Moffitt Cancer Center.
“Helpless” is one way he describes the feeling.
But he’s found a way he can help by doing something he loves – playing video games. John came up with the idea to live stream himself playing his favorite video game, Roblox, while raising money for Moffitt.
He had seen someone else who was live streaming for 12 hours a day to raise money for their father’s cancer treatment. “And that sort of inspired me. So, I took something I like, mashed it together and boom, I’m raising money.”
“His initial goal was to raise $100, and he surpassed that in the first day,” said John’s dad, Rich. “His goal for the second day was $200 and now he has raised more than $300.”
But it’s not just about raising money for Moffitt. It’s an outlet for a young boy who is feeling helpless – navigating a new normal with a parent undergoing cancer treatment during a global pandemic.
“It makes me feel good inside to know that I’m helping my mom out with what she’s going through,” John said, “and that this is something I have control over.”
Rich says his son came up with the idea entirely on his own, and even figured out how to set up the stream on his Twitch account, which is a live stream platform for gamers.
As we’re chatting, John gives me the low down on what exactly Twitch is. “A lot of people don’t have the skill to have millisecond timing on some of the games I play,” he explains. So they will watch others to increase their knowledge and improve their own gaming experience.
Just minutes before my Twitch primer, John disappeared and an image of Rick Astley emerged on our Zoom video call. I got Rick Rolled by a 10-year-old. On Zoom. That was a first, and a quick glimpse into John’s personality: Quirky. Humorous. Highly intelligent. “And one of the most generous kids I have ever met,” says Jennifer.
As a mom, it made her so happy when he came up with the idea to do this.
“It really demonstrates his generosity. I was so pleased when he was able to find something that worked for him as an emotional support outlet, to give him some control over – you know – a situation where we really are struggling, and at a time when so much is going on that we have absolutely no control over.”
The family says they are just getting the word out about John’s live streaming venture through Facebook posts and word of mouth between family and friends.
“In fact, I’m getting ready to go live right now,” John says as we wrap up the call.