Teen's gaming marathon for charity which helped him through loss of dad
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A Norwich teenager is giving something back to a charity which has helped change his outlook on life after he lost his dad and grandad in the space of two days.
Josh Wylie, 13, is organising a gaming marathon in aid of Nelson's Journey, which works with bereaved children in Norfolk.
The Norwich School pupil has been volunteering for the charity since it first supported him through one-to-one sessions and a residential weekend back in 2017. He is now a part of the charity's youth panel.
Josh's dad Reuben died suddenly in February 2017 after being put on a sleep ventilator at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Josh was nine at the time and living at Hunstanton.
His mother Joy said: "It was quite sudden. Josh went to school one morning and by the time he got home, his dad had been taken to hospital. He was not breathing and it is still a bit of a mystery as to what exactly happened."
Josh's grandad William then died the following day as a result of dementia. Mrs Wylie said he had lived a long and happy life.
Speaking about the role Nelson's Journey have played, Mrs Wylie said: "They were massively helpful. Josh did a lot of work with them back in the early days and they were really instrumental in him learning that it's okay to be happy and to be able to do other things."
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Josh has previous experience of taking part in a gaming marathon as part of a fundraiser for the Purfleet Trust homeless charity in King's Lynn back in November.
Having been inspired to organise his own event, which will also fit in with the volunteering section of the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award, Josh has started asking friends to sign up.
Mrs Wylie said: "He wanted to do something for Nelson's Journey to thank them for the support they have given him, and he thought it would be a good idea to organise something for others to take part in rather than just doing something on his own."
The suggested fundraising target for people taking part is £100 for one to eight hours of gaming, £250 for eight to 16 hours, or £500 for 16 to 24 hours.
Those taking part are asked to livestream their gaming through Twitch, which lets you broadcast live. Alternatively, gamers can update people about their progress through social media.
Josh said: "It is really up to each person how they wish to share their progress. I have already had three sign ups for the event since announcing I was doing it yesterday.
"Nelson's Journey have helped me with continued sessions and I have been volunteering with them since 2018. They have helped me to make decisions and I have fundraised a lot in the past for charities such as Macmillan and the Purfleet Trust where my mum worked."
Writing about the latest fundraiser on his online crowdfunding page, he said: "My dad died in 2017 and Nelson's Journey have been there for me and helped me to see that it is ok to be happy again and that I can smile and enjoy life and keep all the happy memories close.
"I was nine when my Dad died, and it was so hard for me and my mum to think we would ever be happy. My grandpa died the next day, so I lost two of my most beloved people in two days.
"I still miss my dad every day, but I know now that he would want me to live my best life and to be happy. Nelson's Journey helped me to realise this and to process all the extremely challenging new feelings that I experienced."
Those interested in taking part can set up a fundraising page and link it to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action.
Alternatively, those interested in more details can email Gamingmarathon21@gmail.com to be sent instructions and suggestions to make their gaming marathon a success.