The Star Wars initiative Force For Change has announced that it will soon provide virtual ready headsets for young patients in hospitals across the country. Since Force For Change kicked off in 2014 in conjunction with the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it has provided services for children all over the world with donations to UNICEF and the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars ahead of Star Wars Celebration this week, the initiative announced a new campaign to raise funds, with such fan prizes as an appearance in the new young Han Solo movie and a chance to attend The Last Jedi premiere in December.
According to THR, Force For Change is sponsoring the new Starlight Virtual Reality initiative, which will send 270 VR headsets to Children Hospitals nationwide later this year. The VR headsets will include content from Google Expeditions, Daydream, Google Earth VR and Tilt Brush, as well as the Star Wars universe. Commenting on the VR initiative, Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation, says he’s excited the companies are coming together to “harness the power of virtual reality to bring more smiles to hospitalized kids when and where they need it most.”
Also commenting on the VR initiative, Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in Charge at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab says the company strives “to make the impossible, possible and to deliver stories that inspire and entertain. We are honored to use our immersive storytelling to spark children’s imaginations during the hospital stay.”
The Starlight VR headset initiative kicked off in Orlando Wednesday ahead of Star Wars Celebration, as Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, made a visit to the Florida Hospital for Children. Among the kids he visited at the hospital was Jay Ryan Jr., and details were shared on a Facebook page dedicated to the young patient. A post says:
“So this just happened, Jay got to meet an absolute amazing man in a private meeting, Mark Hamill, Jay loves Star Wars and Luke Skywalker. After Jay lost his arm he said it was ok because Luke only has one arm. He shared that story with Mr. Hamill. He told Jay he was the real hero and I (Mark) am just a made up hero.”
Hamill, who provided backpacks with merchandise to patients during his visit, said in a tweet how it was “a thrill to meet Jay Ryan Jr.” For Star Wars fans, it’s no doubt thrilling, too, to see Hamill in his element as the classic Star Wars renaissance continues with The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and Episode IX. Hamill clearly loves every opportunity to help make the world a better place, and truly is a force of nature.