Sickle cell anemia is an inherited red blood cell disorder in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen through your body. A person inflicted with the disease has red blood cells that are shaped like sickles, instead of the round shape that healthy cells have.
Treatment options are different for anyone living with sickle cell, and for many patients, there is no viable cure. African Americans are at a relatively high risk of having the disease, with 1 in 13 babies being born with sickle cell.
We sat down with a streamer named Ryan who is using his passion for gaming to help raise money to advocate for people affected by sickle cell conditions!
Two Average Gamers: How’d you get into streaming?
Ryan: I was introduced to it by a friend. After watching her stream, it looked really cool and she recommended that I try it out. I started out really simple with the Twitch app on my Xbox One and have continued to improve my setup since then.
TAG: Why video games? Do you stream any non-gaming content?
Ryan: It actually depends on the time of day and what’s going on at any given point. As a father of a young child, I typically start my stream later at night once she’s gone to sleep. While video games are my main content, I started producing beats on my stream as well. I’m creating new music for streamers and learning mixing and mastering on the side. Look out for something this summer on the music side!
TAG: I’m going to check back in with you in August for the music updates! What do you love most about streaming?
Ryan: The interaction with different types of people is great! You get to meet a lot of people who share a common interest that you otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to talk to. Being a variety streamer, I get to tap into different topics from music to anime to gaming.
Helping Raise Money Through Gaming
TAG: Talk to me about why you are raising money for sickle cell anemia.
Ryan: I have two friends and an aunt who are affected by sickle cell. I had known about the disease for a long time but had never actively learned more about it. Once I started researching on my own, I noticed there weren’t many resources on the subject. I wanted to raise awareness and contribute for the people in my life who battle with sickle cell.
TAG: That’s great that you are putting in the work to support your people! What are your short-term goals for the stream?
Ryan: I’ll be accepting donations all month and have set a goal of $1,000. I also created in-stream thank yous that correlate with specific donation sizes. For a $1 donation, I’ll give a gracious ‘thank you’ on the stream. At $5, I do pushups on stream. There’s a whole spectrum of options. One person even donated enough to have me dance on stream to show my appreciation for their support!
TAG: Hopefully you clipped that dance! Let’s look beyond this initial push to raise money. What are your long-term goals for making an impact on sickle cell patients?
Ryan: If this thing outgrows me, I would definitely look forward to doing a collaboration with Sickle Cell of America. They have a chapter in Houston that I could work with to continue pushing these efforts further. It would also be great to do some co-streams with gamers who have sickle cell. I want to do whatever it takes to make a difference here.
TAG: It sounds like there’s definitely a lot to be done. Have you found any communities that support you on your stream journey?
Ryan: I love the Black Twitch Collective, and I’m an admin for the Twitch Streaming Connection. Between these two groups I’ve found some of the most supportive people out there. We talk almost every morning and work through any problems people are having, on-stream and off. It’s great to have people support you at all hours of the day.
Where To Find Ryan
TAG: Thanks for sharing your story! Now that people know a little about you how can folks reach you?
Ryan continues to be a role model for aspiring streamers and is making great progress to support those affected by sickle cell. We’ll keep you posted as he continues on this journey!
Two Average Gamers is a Black-owned small business founded in Spring 2018. It’s run by a pair of life-long friends, Fred & Julian, who grew up in the 90s and love all things gaming. They publish weekly articles covering gaming news, stream a variety of video games, and sell gaming merchandise.