Some people really know how to be winners. Salt Lake teen Jeff Hansen was the 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993 Nintendo World Champion.
But he decided to develop his heart along with his digital dexterity. The 15-year-old raised $1,900 for his Eagle Scout project to buy a $3,800 Nintendo Fun Center, Nintendo donated the rest of the cost. The fun center is a mobile video center with color monitor, VCR and Super Nintendo Entertainment Center.This customized unit can be rolled up to the side of a hospital bed to provide some welcome diversion for hospitalized children. The video games give children a chance to control their world while they take time to be kids. The youngsters call it fun, while doctors look on it as therapeutic entertainment.
But donating one Fun Center was not enough for Hansen - he managed to donate two.
Hansen won a second Fun Center by winning an international exhibition at the Donkey Kong Country Charity Invitational, held at the PowerFest '94 finals at Sea World San Diego last November. This Fun Center was also donated to Primary Children's Medical Center where Hansen and 9-year-old patient Samuel Kelsch enjoyed a spirited game.
Kelsch, who goes by Sam, said he liked playing "Mile Three" because "you fly." While waiting for a second bone marrow transplant, Sam thought it was pretty fun to play Nintendo.
Nintendo of America Inc. began working with the Starlight Foundation International in 1992 to provide interactive Fun Centers to children in hospitals across the country. There are some 900 Nintendo Fun Centers in 250 hospitals providing entertainment for 18,000 children each month.
At Salt Lake City's Primary Children's Medical Center, a small army of children will be calling Jeff Hansen, "Top Thumb."