Before I became an Escapist, I was a Gamer With Job. I could try to describe to you the incredible feeling of belonging that comes with finding an internet community through which to share stories, meet fellow gamers and schedule gaming events, but I've written on that subject a number of times already. You either get it or you don't.
I experienced a similar feeling upon walking through the doors at The Escapist, and as we assemble our growing forum community, I'm sure that we'll be able to share that feeling with many, many more gamers and will no longer have to attempt to describe it. Yet no matter how far we all may travel together, as Escapists, a part of me will always be a Gamer With Job.
A week ago, long-time Gamers With Jobs forum member One_of_47 (AKA Joe Massey) died suddenly from complications of Legionnaires Disease, a rare form of pneumonia. He had just returned from a family vacation with his wife Jane and their seven year old son. He was 38.
Jane, who is now a widow, posted the news to the Gamers With Jobs community on Friday, using Joe's account. I am still a little numb from the surrealism of reading that post. It affected me deeply. And it would appear that I am not the only one.
Gamers With Jobs co-founder Elysium has started a collection to benefit the Massey family as they attempt to deal with medical expenses and the various other trials that lie ahead for them. Whether you're inclined to give anything or not, I ask that you take a moment from whatever you're doing today and think about how incredibly unique and wonderful it is that we live in a world where people who may have never actually met face-to-face would do such a thing for one another.
Funeral services for Joe Massey were to be held today. Donation information can be found here.