“No cute bunnies, I want sharks. I want something scary”
On Tuesday, Archiact and the VR/AR Association paid a special visit to the kids at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Canuck Place provides care and support for children and families living with progressive life-threatening conditions. We brought them jungle safaris, deep-sea scuba diving, and even took them on their first roller coaster ride… all in the world of virtual reality. It was our first time doing something like this and we had no idea what to expect. As we walked through the doors, we were instantly welcomed with the warmth and positive energy of everyone in the house. We got to meet three children that were beyond excited to try VR, each with very different experiences they wanted to try out.
One little girl wanted something cute that was also exciting, but not scary. She tried a deep-sea experience and got to swim alongside dolphins and jellyfish. She also really enjoyed a meditation experience, where she got to “feel the raindrops” on her hands.
Her older brother wanted to play games so we had him play Lamper VR, which kept him dodging jungle monsters for a good little while. He got to go on his first roller coaster ride, which took him through a cave and into a jungle. He kept yelling, “Whoa, this feels so real. I want it to go faster!”
The other girl was a total rockstar. She didn’t want anything cute or fluffy. Instead, she wanted to experience something scary, such as seeing big sharks or flying into outer space. I asked her if the sharks scared her and she said, “Nope! More scary stuff!”
The kids at the hospice are very ill and some of them are going through extremely painful treatments. The pain management is very difficult on the child and their families. VR has the ability to transport them to a place where they might never get to visit. Whether it's thirty feet underwater in a shark cage or fifty feet in the sky flying on a paper airplane, they’re able to temporarily escape from the white walls and hospital beds.
It was an incredible privilege for Archiact to bring VR experiences to the kids at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Thank you to the wonderful staff and volunteers that welcomed us during our visit and made this all possible - we hope to be back soon!