Skyrim mods are often labors of love, done with little or no expectation of financial gain. They are made for the simple love of doing something. Justin ‘JDAnchor’ Schroeder is a modder in exactly that spirit, and he’s currently battling a rare, complicated, and potentially fatal health condition. But in an impressive show of kindness, players of the Bethesda RPG are coming together to raise the funds he needs for life-saving emergency surgery, via GoFundMe.
If you play Skyrim, there’s a good chance you’ve downloaded, or at least heard of Justin’s work. For Skyrim alone, it has nearly 2,000,000 downloads on Nexus Mods, with highlights including Forgotten Retex Project, Cloaks of the Nords mod, and Sigils of Skyrim. These mods are all about re-texturing different objects in Skyrim, with the Forgotten Retex Project adding new meshes and detail to “often overlooked objects” in the game.
Justin is currently in a hospital in Southern California due to a series of complex and rare disorders stemming from a birth disability in his ears and connected canals. As a result, he was born deaf in one ear and, although he has had problems with other symptoms from time to time, he has otherwise been able to live a normal life. That was until a couple of years ago, when something changed and his symptoms intensified: Justin has been suffering from severe ear pain, weekly ear infections, bouts of vertigo, and has even developed asthma, and his condition continues. deteriorating.
“Doctors have not seen this specific situation in any historical records, and they are baffled that Justin is still alive and has done well for most of his life,” explains Christian, Justin’s roommate. “At this time it is understood that he needs surgery to remove part of the deformity he was born with, which has caused a tear in his inner ear, which has led to [frequent] infections.”
Justin’s GoFundMe is co-sponsored by Skyrim mod ‘XilaMonstrr’, developer of the 16K Dragons Textures mod we’ve already covered on PCGamesN. Although they “never met or exchanged dialogues,” Xila admired Justin’s work and his ethos as a creator. “Justin’s first mod was a new model and texture for the Draw Knife, an often overlooked item in the original game that skyrocketed in popularity and became Hot Mods; it’s not an easy feat for someone’s first mod,” explains Xila. “But instead of capitalizing on that popularity, he switched gears and brought us this amazing collaborative work that brings new models and textures to a huge list of ‘Forgotten Objects.’ I personally admire this approach – his focus is not on ‘how can I get the most downloads?’ but rather ‘how can I better serve the modding community’?”
After learning of Justin’s condition, Xila connected with Christian and suggested starting a GoFundMe, because this isn’t the first time the Skyrim modding community has come out to support one of their own. Three months ago, she raised nearly $17,000 for Loki ‘LokiWasTaken’ Tunrida for another life-saving emergency surgery. In Xila’s words, the reaction of the community in both cases has been “overwhelmingly beautiful. To see a community built around mutual creative passions being so supportive of one partner is impressive.”
What explains this moving compassion? Xila has a theory. “I think the gaming and modding communities often have a higher awareness of what it’s like for people who are disabled or living with chronic illness, because we’re generally a higher percentage of those communities than elsewhere,” says XilaMonstrr. “Even for people without disabilities, they are more likely to have disabled friends and therefore greater compassion. People who have difficulty accessing nature or the outside world can usually do so through games, and Modified Skyrim in particular allows for a very versatile and realistic experience of a ‘natural’ world unlike anything else.”
This fundraiser also comes from a personal place for Xila, as they have had to watch people close to them go through similar situations as Justin, hoping for the kindness of others to help fund medical needs rather than anything. another source.
“I have a disability and I live with multiple chronic illnesses,” says Xila. “Many people I care about have suffered unnecessarily for a long, long time due to the failings of the American medical establishment. The amount of anger, sadness and, to be honest, outright disgust that I have for the medical system in our country is enormous. It is nothing less than the systematic denial of basic rights and something that I really hope to see radically transformed in my lifetime as this is a terrible and toxic legacy for younger generations. Every time there’s a fundraiser like this, Skyrim players in Europe are completely shocked that it’s necessary in a country like ours that has so much wealth.”
But it is necessary, and according to those who know him and value his work, there is no one who deserves it more. Justin is “one of a kind” says Christian. “No one matches his level of creativity, kindness or his humble and easy going nature. His energy feels sent from God. It’s hard to explain, as he just radiates positive energy as someone sent here for a great purpose. Does the car get stuck? He is coming. Does he need help taking care of his pets while traveling? There is. Do you need advice for no reason? Find Justin.
You can help Justin get the surgery he needs through his GoFundMe, which also lists more details about his unique medical condition. You can check out Justin’s modding work on his user profile on Nexus Mods. PCGamesN thanks Christian and XilaMonstrr for their kind participation in this story.