How Sarah’s Jenner honors a special little girl, and how video games can bring families together
The MechWarrior Online team became aware of a little girl who was a big fan of the game, and would often play with her father.
“Sarah's favorite Mech chassis was the Jenner with streak SRMs, because she liked to lock on,” the blog post stated. “She loved speeding around with nightvision and lots of medium lasers so she could, 'get 'em good!' blazing through the Inner Sphere with her father Jon. Sarah was an excellent sport and shared her dad's passion for BattleTech.”
Sarah was five years old, very sick, and her father asked for a special shout out from the team to help buoy her spirits. Sadly, she passed away shortly after the team received the request. What happened next was amazing.
“The story was so touching and sad, and so very close to home. Both Russ and I have young children,” Bryan Ekman, the creative director of Piranha told the Report. “The CR team put together a lovely post together in memory of her passing, and the community stepped in with an awe inspiring outpouring of support for the family.”
The idea was to create a way to raise awareness of those affected by cancer, and the team came up with an idea that would honor Sarah’s memory, raise money for the cause, and create a way to make her a very literal part of the game’s history.
“Alongside the large community outpouring, IGP’s product director Thomas Scott took lead on the project, and worked with Russ Bullock and Bryan Ekman from Piranha and started working up an official fundraiser idea that eventually became Sarah’s Jenner,” IGP president Kelly Zmak said.
The result was the JR7-D[S], or Sarah’s Jenner. It features Streak SRMs, lasers, and a 10 percent boost to XP.
“You guys should have seen Sarah when I brought out some old Battletech models for the first time,” John Parries, Sarah's father, wrote. “I showed her a Jenner that was in the box, but it looked a little bit different because it had a dome head. Sarah cocked her head and said, ‘That's not a Jenner, Jenners have a pointy head!’”
Sarah’s Jenner, it should be noted, has a pointy head.
“We worked closely together on a daily basis to review community and internal ideas on an appropriate commemorative response that would be useful for all cancer sufferers and victims,” Zmak told the Report. “The Mech was created in a colorful pattern because Sarah liked how the Pretty Baby design looked, and the load outs were created for her based on what she liked most about the Jenner.”
“Piranha and IGP worked closely with Jon on the pattern and loadout, making sure we created something that would honor Sarah’s memory and represent something she loved – spending time with her dad,” Ekman continued. The JR-7-D[S] features colors, weapons, and the chassis that would have been the most fun for Sarah to watch, and one day, pilot.
“After a few iterations, we settled on a ‘Tank Girl’ theme that had colours and designs that were both cool and representative of the cause. The whole process from start to finish was a humbling and heartwarming experience,” Ekman said. “To be part of the Parries family’s life, if but for a moment, and then try to make a small difference in a big world. Last but not least, a reminder to hug our children every day, and cherish each and every moment with them.”
You can purchase Sarah's Jenner for $10 from a special page in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Society, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to benefit that charity. Neither IGP nor Piranha will make any money from the sale of the Mech. You can buy the Mech, add it to your collection, get a nice XP boost, support a good cause, pilot Sarah's Jenner as a way to remember all the good that video games have done for people, and how they often bring families together.