When Massachusetts native “Wabba”—as he is known in the gamer community—first became passionate about video games as a kid in the Nintendo 64 era, he never imagined his hobby would one day help cancer patients.
Wabba represents one third of the podcast “Three Dads and a Console,” formed with two friends he made through the Boston Bruins’ X (formerly Twitter) community—Court Lalonde and Pezell56x. The podcast focuses on the parenting side of gaming, offering a fresh perspective on both current and retro games, and often answering the question, “Can I play this game with my kid?” The group was approached by Outright Games, a family-friendly video game publisher whose collection includes Paw Patrol, My Little Pony, and Wabba’s daughter’s favorite, Peppa Pig. When Outright invited the dads to join their ambassador program, it seemed like the perfect fit.
As ambassadors for Outright, Wabba and his cohosts get a sneak peek of upcoming games, plus the chance to collaborate with developers and project leads, sharing feedback and helping to create content for new games. Their relationship with Outright also provides a unique opportunity to give back to the community, including through Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.
Wabba and Pezell56x have both hosted livestreams to support Dana-Farber through the Jimmy Fund Let’s Game® program. In addition to fundraising, “Three Dads” was looking for a way to impact patients directly. In September, the trio partnered with Outright Games on their $1K Challenge. For every $250 the podcast raised—up to $1,000—Outright donated some of their most popular games to the Jimmy Fund, specifically selecting games enjoyed by both kids and adults. When “Three Dads” met their goal, Outright donated all the games they had pledged, ensuring patients and their families could play when visiting Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic for treatment.
“I know a lot of people with a deep connection to the Jimmy Fund, including my co-captain, Pezell56x,” Wabba says, noting that Pezell56x raised an impressive $3,000 in his 24-hour stream this year. “Being able to support the charity directly—as well as other creators involved in Jimmy Fund Let’s Game—is very fulfilling. If it helps patients or their families, then it’s one of the most valuable uses of my time.”
For Wabba, gaming is all about forming a community around something you love. He still speaks with friends he made through online gaming decades ago, and regularly hangs out with friends he initially met online, whether it be at weddings or in fantasy football leagues.
“Gaming is gaining mainstream acceptance. It’s no longer for ‘nerds,’ but for everyone—though nerds are welcome!” Wabba jokes. “When everything was shut down for the pandemic, Twitch was my social life. I hung out with people online while streaming, and it was great to have the opportunity to distract everyone for a few hours.”
He hopes that at the Jimmy Fund Clinic, gaming may help a cancer patient feel a little less isolated, or at least offer a welcome distraction.
For streamers who are considering getting involved in Jimmy Fund Let’s Game, Wabba shares his experience: “I have not seen a charity organization that has such a high level of involvement with its content creators as the Jimmy Fund. We have a Discord where we talk and collaborate, and they work hard to provide incentives for creators and potential donors. They also host events to meet streamers in person, which I love! This organization cares about its mission, its creators, and most importantly, its success. I’m telling you, you’ll have fun supporting these folks and this organization!”
Livestream for Jimmy Fund Let’s Game to support The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at DefyCancer.org.