When I introduce myself to new people, I usually open with a standard handful of facts: Hi, I’m Tessa. I go to Northeastern University. I’m studying journalism. I design games in my free time.

Drawn by Tessa on July 13, 2000.

What I don’t usually tell them is that at six years old, I had my first surgery. Or that I didn’t start seeing a regular pediatrician until sometime in high school, that up until then I’d sit in a hospital room as teams of doctors — optometrists, dermatologists, surgeons, you name it — would parade through, assessing my health and marking my face with a pen. Or that the first time my father stood up for me was when I was an infant, lying on a CT Scan bed, as a doctor struggled to find a vein in my arm and was forced to prick the skin blindly with a sanitized needle.

These aren’t the things that so cleanly roll off the tongue in a first introduction. They’re not the sort of things I regularly write about either, though if my parents had the choice I would talk about them at any given moment.

I don’t talk about this because I am one of the lucky ones. While my condition was treatable and at the very worst would lead to blindness, many other children are given far graver diagnoses. I consider myself lucky because my parents were never told they could lose me.

A close friend growing up was one of those not so lucky children, though she turned out to be one of the lucky ones as well and has continued to be so for the past few years. In middle school she was diagnosed with leukemia, and she began seeking treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Eight years later, she’s now in remission, and continues to be lucky every single day.

CHOC is a hospital under Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH), a non-profit organization that raises funds for children's hospitals, medical research, and community awareness of children's health issues. Each year, the hospitals within CNMH are benefitted through Extra Life, a fundraiser in the form of 24-hour gaming marathon. Thousands of gamers come together each year for Extra Life, including the FableVision staff.

This year, just as in years past, Team FableVision will be working and playing together to benefit the Boston Children’s Hospital, another CMNH hospital with which many FableVisionaries already share a personal connection. All funds raised for our Extra Life team will be going directly to the hospital, to help the children and to give them a chance to be lucky as well.

Extra Life isn’t until November 5, so it’s not too late to join our team. If you’re unable to join, you can always sponsor a team member or make a donation to the FableVision Extra Life team page. Every little bit counts.

We’re all lucky to have each other here at FableVision Studios. And maybe, with our help, we can help others to be just as lucky.

About Tessa Berliner 

Tessa is a senior at Northeastern University, where she is currently pursuing a degree in journalism with minors in computer science and game design. When not in the studio she can be found trying to speak Italian, planning decadent brunches with friends, and singing while playing guitar, piano, and ukulele (not necessarily at the same time).