Family of Amelia Lewis launch new Playerzone party bus
- Credit: Sarah Old
The family of an Ipswich girl who overcame cancer are offering superheroes undergoing treatment the chance to use their new gaming bus for free.
The PayerZone Party Van is a converted van with gaming consoles that can be hired for birthdays parties - but owners Sarah Old and Matthew Lewis want to offer it up to children going through cancer treatment for free.
Their daughter, Amelia, now four, was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer in November 2019 after her parents spotted an unusual lump on her side and she was treated at Addenbrooke's in the months that followed.
The duo said: "We wanted to do something that we could give back to other people who have been in similar situations to ourselves.
"We remember being in Addenbrookes and there were children and all they had were their games.
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"It was a way they could connect with their friends.”
The van has seven TV screens, four Xboxes, two PS4s, a PS5, Nintendo Switches and an Oculus VR headset.
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Parties are suitable for up to 12 children and last 90 minutes.
Explaining where the new business idea came from, Miss Old said: "My son has got an interest in gaming and Matt has got experience in vans so we kind of put the two together."
She said now the van is party-ready, they want to host Superhero sessions for children going through treatment as a way of giving back to the community that stood by them in their darkest days.
"When we were going through what we were going through we had so many people offer us things; mini breaks away, even people we didn't know dropping shopping off,” said Miss Old.
"Every single kind message for us kept giving us that strength and positiveness you need to keep pushing through.
"We saw how important that was for families and if we can offer something that can give that child a positive day and a bit of fun."
Knowing how circumstances can change dramatically in a very short space of time when you have a sick child, the family know they may have to change Superhero bookings last minute.
"You have to take it day to day, " said Miss Old. "Things can change very quickly."
Amelia is now preparing to start school,
"It's a huge milestone for Amelia and at one point all of those milestones were clouded," said Miss Old.
"She's doing all the right things and normal things."