After Illness, Birmingham Teen Collects Games for Hospitalized Youth

After Illness, Birmingham Teen Collects Games for Hospitalized Youth

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 14, 2020)

Birmingham, MI – Fifteen year old Jack Genzlinger has been spreading cheer this holiday season by donating games to area hospitals so sick kids and their families have something to do besides play on their phones.

Genzlinger spent three days in the hospital over Labor Day weekend with a peritonsillar abscess,  an infection in his throat that was blocking his airway.  He was placed on IV antibiotics and steroids and had to stay in the hospital to rest. through this experience, Jack learned firsthand how much something as simple as a game can help someone who is sick take their mind off their troubles. But in COVID times, games cannot be shared among patients.  “You cannot take and return games and toys.  If you take/touch it, you keep it,” said Genzlinger’s mother Kelly.

The teen relied on the distractions during his visit.  “The people were very nice, but it was a little boring.  I was glad they had DVDs and games because that made it more fun,” he said.  Without being able to share the items between guests, he left the hospital wishing the other young people there had more.

So he started a game drive.  He emailed friends and family and received an outpouring of support. “We’ve received 52 games donations, and had $495 in cash/checks/gift cards that we bought another 16 games with, for a total of 68 games/toys to date from over 35 families and people,” Genzlinger said.  The games will go to local hospitals, with the first batches going to Children’s Hospital in Detroit, and to Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Like many teens, Genzlinger likes playing video games at home and with his friends.  “With my family, we play Yhatzee, Uno, and my sister just taught us a new card game.  We also play Splendor and Ticket to Ride – we call it the Train Game,” he said.  “I like playing games with my family, sometimes I win, but so does my brother and sister and my dad, but my mom almost always loses even though she thinks she can win.”

Spreading that joy to others has helped Jack appreciate what he has, and he hopes others will have better visits thanks to the generosity of those who chipped in.  He is continuing with the game drive, and asking anyone who would like to participate with donations or gift cards to contact him through his email jdg42005@gmail.com.

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