Family who named charity after son’s gamertag keen to form esports team to honour his legacy: Here’s how you can help TheRockinR – and SpecialEffect – and win prizes this pancake day courtesy of AOC/Philips monitors

Left to right: Carol Miree, YouTuber Jacksepticeye, Reece Miree, Jonny Miree and Jess Miree (photo taken prior to Reece and Carol’s passing | Sponsored content in partnership with AOC/MMD/Philips/TPV-Cares

TheRockinR is a family-run British games charity set up in memory of Reece Miree that provides Medical Gaming Carts to young people in hospitals across the UK and Ireland.
We caught up with Reece’s dad Jonny Miree, and sister Jess Miree, plus Mark Saville of fellow charity SpecialEffect to learn about their heartbreaking story – and inspiring work – ahead of a special pancake day gaming charity event in London, where you can win gaming monitors, flip (and eat!) pancakes, and meet them in person, courtesy of AOC/MMD/Philips/TPV-Cares.

Please tell us about your story and your charity, TheRockinR.

Jonny: Sadly in March 2018 we lost my 11-year-old son to a brain tumour. Reece was obsessed with gaming. Throughout his hospital visits, there was some gaming in hospitals but there wasn’t a great deal, and there certainly wasn’t any you could bring to the bedside, where siblings and others could spend time with them. 

TheRockinR was Reece’s online gamertag. Being a daft kid from up North, I thought I could make a little bit of difference to some kids in hospital, and never realised how big it could get! 

We got some funding to put some gaming carts in hospitals and then it snowballed. We have so many people fundraising for us, we have the NHS fundraising coming to us, we got a lot of Captain Tom’s money that went to the NHS which they distributed out. 

So, from a good idea and for Reece’s legacy, we have nearly 500 gaming carts in hospitals all over Scotland, Ireland and everywhere. We can go to Qatar and New Zealand and beyond, but it’s just Jess and I and our out building at home. So it’s a small operation.

Jess: People forget it’s just us two! 

@therockinr What We Do 🎮 #TheRockinR #Gaming #Charity #medicalgamingcarts #fun #distraction #wellbeing #technology #distraction #XboxSeriesS #hospital #NHS ♬ original sound – TheRockinR Gaming Charity

You’ve faced other hardships after Reece’s passing too. You have a lot of resilience.

Jonny: It’s not something I always share, but in 2021 my wife and Jess’ mum, Carol, took her life. Within three years we had lost Reece and Carol.

Jess: We thought, do we continue with this, and we dug our heels in and continued. We had nearly 100 carts then, now we’re at 500. 

I don’t know where we’d be without the charity. To be able to speak about Reece every day is meaningful.

Jonny: It was so hard, and it still is. Carol was a massive part of everything, the deliveries, she was in all the photographs, then all of a sudden she wasn’t there. So many questions. So we plodded on. Sometimes I get out of bed and I look at my shoes for half an hour, before I put them on, but as long as I do put them on, we’re good. We can keep going. 

But like Jess says, every cart that goes in, that text we get, that Whatsapp, that Facebook message we get from someone saying, ‘you’ve made such a difference to my child’. Even using an Xbox to listen to Spotify or watch a podcast in hospital to take your mind off things…

I always have a massive imposter syndrome, and I often think: ‘When does this stop?’

Then we get more orders, or something like this happens – I’m chatting to you now. For us that’s amazing. We’re sponsored heavily by Philips and AOC, I have to pinch myself.

“Reece would say, ‘dad, I think I’m dying’. And I’d say, ‘don’t be so daft, what am I going to do without you?’ I’d always ask how he was, and even in the direst of situations, he’d put his thumb up. That’s in our logo. TheRockinR is his gamertag. This office was his bedroom. With everything we do, we pass his story on. So even though we’ve lost Reece, we haven’t, if that makes sense.”

Jonny Miree, TheRockinR

Jonny and Jess, thanks for sharing your story with us. Mark, please tell us about what you do with SpecialEffect. 

Mark: What a story. I could listen to you [Jonny and Jess] both for hours and the effect you’re having on people.

I think what resonates with us as well is the effect that gaming has on people and how important it is to people’s lives. I think what we’re doing complements what you’re doing in that we’re helping people with physical disabilities to access games. It’s kind of the bit between the controller and the person themselves, if they can’t physically use a controller.

We have teams of therapists that work one-to-one with people to work out custom setups that allow them to play the games they love. Foot control, voice control, switch controls and more. We support them for life. 

Getting somebody gaming is such a wonderful thing to do, but if their condition changes and things change, our job is not done. So we’re there to help them game. 

Our CEO Dr Mick Donegan used to work for a charity that helped young people with severe disabilities in schools to communicate. What he was finding was parents were coming in saying, ‘great, you’re helping our child to be educated at school, but what happens at quarter to four when they go home?’

They’ve got no friends, they can’t communicate or play, they’re just sitting there watching TV. That’s what video games gives us, an opportunity to level the playing field.

At the beginning we helped one five-year-old lad with cerebral palsy, whose friends would go to his house and play games. He’d just sit in the lounge by himself while they went out to play football, but in helping him to play FIFA with a setup, bang, he’s one of the boys – and you can’t put a value on that. It’s just unbelievable. 

That’s expanded over the years. Now we’re at the point where we’re giving back to the gaming industry by helping developers and manufacturers make their products more accessible. So we just want to help people to game. 

What’s happening with the gaming charity pancake day – and how can people get involved with that? 

Jess: I’m very excited for this one. Gaming bar events are super cool. It’s from 6pm to 10pm GMT on Tuesday February 13th 2024 at Platform bar in Shoreditch. 

There will be lots of giveaways happening including an AGON by AOC gaming monitor. And that’s free-to-enter as well [so not all activities will be donation-based].

Register to play through this link – – and can you can also donate via if you can’t attend on the day. 

We love opportunities to connect more with the games industry and community. A lot of what we do is hospital-based, so I’m excited to meet industry, you guys, the venue staff and everyone that comes in through the door so we can show them what we do. 

Jonny: I feel so honoured at times to even be having these conversations and that people have taken interest and backed us. I feel like a middleman at times, yes we build gaming carts and deliver them, but the people who fundraise, do marathons and everything else, they’re the real heroes. Not me. I’m just a middleman. I’ve met so many people along the way who’ve gone through so much hardship, sometimes with a child themselves, they’ve been in hospital and played on a gaming cart, and it’s given them an incentive to fundraise for us, run a marathon for example, and I’m so humbled by that. 

Stuff like these events, what Philips does for us is unbelievable. SpecialEffect making time for us, it’s a dream come true. 

Out of wanting to make a little legacy for my son, we’ve gone to this. It’s amazing.

“What resonates with us is the effect that gaming has on people and how important it is to people’s lives. I think what we’re doing complements what TheRockinR is doing in that we’re helping people with physical disabilities to access games.”

Mark Saville, SpecialEffect

What does TheRockinR gamertag and logo mean? 

Jonny: The logo is very personal. The R13 on our logo represents Reece’s favourite day and lucky number, on Friday the 13th he always seemed to get a special mention at school, so we held onto that. 

And the thumbs up is what Reece used to give. Even though his cancer was terminal, they gave him 12 months and he went 9. 

I personally never had the conversation Reece that he would pass away, I avoided it.

He’d say, ‘dad, I think I’m dying’. And I’d say, ‘don’t be so daft. What am I going to do without you?’ 

I’d always ask how he was, and even in the direst of situations, he’d put his thumb up. That’s a tough kid. And kids are tough. They keep away from their parents and don’t bother them. And the colours on the logo were his favourite colours.

Jess: Somedays his speech [wasn’t great] and this is where SpecialEffect comes in. He lost the use of his right arm a few weeks before he died, and having something like a modified controller to keep gaming, that would mean so much to him.  

Gaming Pancake Day Special Effect
SpecialEffect therapists taking delivery of Philips monitors, which help enhance gaming therapy for those with physical challenges

Jonny: Some days I go on the Xbox and TheRockinR account is still there, I still play with his gamertag. This bedroom we’re talking to you from, this office, was Reece’s bedroom. So it’s all personal and means so much to us. 

With everything we do, we try to pass that story on to people have no hope. A wise man once said to me, ‘hold on to hope, because it’s all that you may have left’.

So even though we’ve lost Reece, we haven’t, if that makes sense. 

He’s there in what you’re doing. 

Jonny: Every day. I say to people, ‘you may lose somebody, just don’t give up on hope’. 

Every medical gaming cart we build, every interaction, is like a dream come true. 

When we went to Dublin and put carts in there for the first time, it was such a marker for us. We done that, we got to Aberdeen eventually, all these places. Every new hospital is a new challenge for us. 

I’m not in a lot of photographs, but nine weeks into Reece’s diagnosis, I had to put Reece in the bath. 

Reece Miree
TheRockinR is honouring the legacy of gamer Reece Miree

He turned to me – and our surname is Miree – and he said: ‘Do you know what, dad? Do you know I’ll be the Miree that puts the name on the map?’

I’m thinking, what sort of comment is that? Has someone told him he might not make it out of this illness, because I certainly hadn’t? Nope. 

So I said: ‘How do you mean, Reece? Why would you say that?’

And he said: ‘No I’m just saying, dad, I will be the Miree that puts the name on the map. I know one thing for sure, it won’t be you!’

So people think I’m camera shy, but I don’t appear in many photos, because Reece said it’d be about him, not me. And I’ve held that to my heart, it’s an honourable thing to do.

So that’s why the map and the pin markers around the UK are the first thing you see when you go on TheRockinR website. We spent so much time with the web developers to get this right, because he put the name on the map. Great Ormond Street and Birmingham Children’s Hospital have about 50 or 60 carts each now. 

“After we lost Carol, three years after we lost Reece, we thought, do we continue with this? We dug our heels in and continued. We had nearly 100 medical gaming carts then – now we’re at 500. I don’t know where we’d be without the charity. To be able to speak about Reece every day is meaningful.”

Jess Miree, TheRockinR

How would you rate your pancake skills and how do you like your pancakes?

Mark: [Pulls a face implying he’s no good at making pancakes] When I was younger I used to make pancakes and put food colouring dyes in, because I knew they’d taste the same but no one else in the family would eat them!

I’m really looking forward to the charity pancake gaming day, because it gives us an opportunity to be there and meet people we wouldn’t otherwise meet. 

The gaming bar environments are so wonderful, in our department we’re utterly grateful for any help people give us, because it means we can carry on doing what we do.

I’ll be bringing some chin and foot controlled Mario Kart for people to try out and get an idea for the setups we offer. It’s all about the personal stories that the people we help, and the people TheRockinR help – are the things that matter.

Jess: I love a fluffy American pancake with maple syrup and crispy bacon. My mum always had a really good recipe for those that she used to make on a Sunday and that was one of my favourite pastimes, and I think Reece got involved with it as well. I do like savoury pancakes but I’m a sweet kind of girl. I’m excited for the pancakes!

XMA sponsored for a pancake stall to be there, so we’re gonna get flipping and see who wins!

Jonny: Unfortunately Dom I think I’ve got to the age where if I look at a pancake, I put a stone on! So I try to keep in shape. That doesn’t mean I won’t indulge on the night, but I do like a pancake!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Mark: I’d just like to say thank you again for this opportunity. The AOC/Philips gaming monitors have made such a difference for us, they’ve helped us out in so many ways. Not only here, but in the office, and with the people we help.

Those kind of donations that really make the difference that help us over the line. So thank you for doing this for us.

I echo that, thanks to AOC/MMD/Philips/TPV-Cares for doing this. Initiatives like this are so important. 

Jonny: We’re so grateful and humbled for everything everyone does. I can message the guys from Philips on a personal level, they’ve just been so good to us. Thank you to everyone who supports us, takes interest and likes our social media posts.

We’ve struggled a bit with the gaming community. The medical community knows who we are, but the gaming community, not so much. 

We did go to Cologne for Gamescom and made an impact there. So this year we hope to get more into the gaming side of things. 

One of my dreams is to have an esports team for TheRockinR or something like that. Wow, dude, that’d probably bring a tear to my eye. I’d love that for sure. 

Well to anyone watching or reading this, any team owners or people in esports that could maybe do something with TheRockinR, please reach out to them or myself and I can connect you.

And to everyone, please get involved with the pancake day special and support these amazing charities.

Get involved – how to support TheRockinR and SpecialEffect

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