Dad’s 24-hour gameathon for Sick Kids charity

Neil Gow plays with kids Conor and Evie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Neil Gow plays with kids Conor and Evie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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A DAD whose diabetic son was treated at the Sick Kids played computer games for 24 hours straight to raise cash for the hospital.

Neil Gow was inspired to raise money for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF) after his five-year-old son, Conor, was treated there.

The South Queensferry youngster was just 18 months old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Conor spent time in the high dependency unit of the Sick Kids following his diagnosis and the family received “tremendous” support from the SKFF and the hospital.

Mr Gow took part in the challenge ahead of the main Sick Kids Save Point (SKSP) gameathon, which takes place this weekend.

Over the last five years, more than 300 gamers from across the world have completed the feat, helping to raise more than £70,000 for the SKFF. It has gathered support from top Scottish games companies including Capital-based Rockstar North.

Mr Gow took on his children’s favourite games in the hope that Conor and his sisters, Evie, eight, and Maya, one, would cheer him on.

The data analyst tackled everything from Super Mario Kart to My Little Pony and Dora the Explorer during the marathon.

He said: “I did it a week earlier because of work commitments. It was good – there was a point at round about 5.30am when I was just about falling asleep at my PC.

“This is the third time I’ve done it so I think I’ve been well conditioned. I had a swear jar too – that had a fair donation by the end. We had a pretty good selection [of games] to keep me going.”

Thanks to funding, the SKFF has bought a number of specialist AccuVein devices in the past few months. Worth more than £3500 each, the equipment shines a special light over a child’s body to reveal the veins located underneath the skin, allowing nurses to carry out needle-based procedures quickly and accurately.

Mr Gow, 38, said: “When Conor is sick, having diabetes can have a big impact on his overall health as it’s much harder for him to get the glucose he needs. This has resulted in him being admitted to the RHSC on several occasions and put on a drip. When this happens Conor must have bloods taken regularly – 
something which can prove to be extremely traumatic for him.

“There have been times when he had to be sedated in order to take the sample which is really distressing for everyone involved so it was fantastic to hear that the foundation has funded some vein-finding machines to help put needle phobic children at ease.”

Mr Gow, who has raised £500 so far, added: “I really wanted to give something back to those who do so much to care for him. As a big video game fan, I felt the SKSP is the perfect way for me to raise money from my own home.”

Rachel McKenzie, head of voluntary fundraising at the SKFF, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many gamers like Neil take part in this year’s Sick Kids Save Point event – now the biggest charity games event in the UK. Thanks to our hardy participants, Sick Kids Save Point has helped raise a tremendous amount of money over the last five years.”