Manitoba father honours son’s memory, fundraises to send gaming consoles to kids in hospital

A Manitoba father is fulfilling his son’s wish of bringing gaming consoles to kids in hospital, just over a year after the teen lost his life to muscular dystrophy. 

Joey Halldorsson’s son, Korbin, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at birth and spent lots of time in hospital.

“He always made the best of everything. He taught me a lot. He was an amazing boy,” Halldorsson said.

But Korbin was disappointed with the blu-ray player in his room at the hospital and wanted to play games.

The father from Selkirk, Man., brought his son a Playstation to use during one of his stays at the hospital, which was vital in helping Korbin get through his time there.

“That was the only thing that really got him out of thinking of his muscular dystrophy, or thinking about the pain, or when they were going to come to pull his blood,” he said.

“In turn, that gave me and his mom a much needed break to just breathe.”

A television and gaming system on a rolling cart are pictured.
In late December, Halldorrsson sent his first prototype of the mobile gaming system to Winnipeg’s Children’s Hospital. (Good Bear Foundation)

When kids have to spend time in hospital, it can be scary for both the parents and the child, Halldorsson said. Korbin couldn’t understand why other kids in the hospital didn’t have gaming systems like he did.

“And I told him, ‘One day, my boy, you and I are going to make a difference.'”

He created Korbin’s Wish to fundraise money for the gaming systems in honour of his son, who passed away at the age of 17 in Oct. 2021.

“I wasn’t given the time to make that difference with him, [but] this is something that was very important to him and me.”

It took him a year to feel strong enough to pursue Korbin’s idea, and Halldorrsson has now fundraised nearly $10,000 to build mobile gaming systems for kids in hospital.

He has already made one system, consisting of a Playstation 5 and 32-inch television on a rolling cart, and sent it to the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg in late December. 

“As far as I know, they love it,” he said, adding that he hopes the initiative will also help hospital staff by keeping kids busy and happy.

A teenage boy faces the camera.
Korbin would be happy to know that his wish of getting gaming consoles to kids in hospital has become a reality, his father said. (Submitted by Joey Halldorsson)

His goal is to send at least one or two gaming systems to hospitals and nursing stations throughout the province. The campaign runs until Feb. 1 and people have been eager to donate, he said.

All of the money donated will go towards the gaming systems. Any hospital that feels they can make use of the mobile gaming systems can reach out to him, and Halldorsson will collaborate with hospitals to find out what they need.

The gaming consoles are theirs once the hospital receives it, and Halldorsson’s goal is to keep fundraising beyond Feb. 1 so that the systems and games remain updated.

“We’re going to keep going,” he said.

“It gets a little overwhelming at times, but it’s a good overwhelming. It’s what I wanted to see.”

Korbin would be happy to know that his wish has become a reality, his father said.

“He would be so happy to know that kids are getting the [gaming] systems that he thought they should have had in the first place.”