PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An 18-year-old patient at UPMC Children’s Hospital is using his time and skills to help others while he waits for a transplant.
Luke Maeding is a hardcore gamer with a heart of gold.
He is from the Philadelphia area and is at the hospital as he awaits a small bowel transplant.
The 18-year-old underwent a double-lung transplant in 2010, and now his intestines are failing.
As he waits for word of a donor, Maeding is helping other young patients through a charity campaign called Extra Life gaming.
Extra Life is a fundraising and gaming marathon that supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and 100 percent of the donations Maeding helps raise goes towards Children’s in Pittsburgh.
Maeding told KDKA’s Kym Gable that playing video games helps distract his mind from the pain he often experiences as a result of his condition, and he hopes gaming can do the same for other kids.
He says his goal “is to help other families and kids … it will distract their pain.”
When his mom Heather learned about Extra Life earlier this year, she was overjoyed.
“This is perfect for Luke because he loves gaming so much and he loves giving back, too, especially to Children’s and everyone here because he knows very intimately everything they do here,” Heather Maeding said.
Luke Maeding recently raised $700 on his own during a 24-hour Extra Life gaming marathon.
“I love playing Lego games so much that I had to take a break. … I went to sleep, and then started playing again for 24 hours,” Luke Maeding said.
“We finally had hope coming here … because we felt that everyone was going to work to get Luke the healthiest he could be, even if we didn’t have all the answers,” Heather added.
To make a tax-deductible donation to Maeding fundraising campaign, click here.