When Carsten was diagnosed with leukemia he often played the game about fighting cancer by Ben Duskin – a wish kid and a leukemia patient too.
After thinking about his wish for months Carsten wondered what would happen for a child in India – a developing nation – diagnosed with leukemia. So this 8-year-old boy – dealing with the challenges of his own critical illness – tells Make-A-Wish® volunteers he wants to create a healing-themed board game to give hope to the children on the other side of the world.
Mattel’s board gaming team - who produced Uno and Pictionary - learns of Carsten’s wish and can’t wait to work with him. Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic sends Carsten and his family to Los Angeles to discuss every detail with designers.
This wish kid creates a sketch of the board, based on The Game of Life and shows it to them. And beyond the look of the board, Carsten has some requirements to encourage the tone for the game and its players. There are no winners, or losers, he says. Instead, the players work together to help the patient drive cancer into remission. Each player takes the role of someone involved in the young patient’s life: mother, father, sister, doctor, nurse and other hospital staff. Plus the game would include educational cards to explain all the procedures involved in helping a cancer patient heal.
When Mattel’s staff unveils the prototype of Carsten’s Wish, Carsten and his family are amazed.
“I was overwhelmed,” Carsten’s mother, Adrienne says. “They incorporated every one of Carsten’s ideas. It was very professional and creative!”
Carsten is thrilled to finally play his game saying his favorite part is the end of the game. That’s when a figure of the cancer patient emerges from a box with its “hair” restored, signaling the end of treatment.
With Carsten’s approval, his game is ready to come to life. Mattel produces 25 top-quality copies. Some are going to India with others staying at hospitals near Carsten’s home to give seriously ill kids some much-needed optimism during their treatments.