VR FOR BRAVERY

St. Jude’s monumental VR experience.

We’ve only just started to explore VR’s creative potential, from storytelling and community building to driving positive social change in the world. Today on Giving Tuesday, we’re partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, BBDO, and Flight School Studio to debut an inspiring VR experience in honor of St. Jude and the families they support.

Inspired by the bravery and resilience of children battling cancer, the St. Jude Hall of Heroes experience introduces viewers to St. Jude patients stylized as superhero statues. Viewers hear directly from patients and their families, celebrating their stories and spreading awareness of childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. “It’s as close as we can get to showing you how we feel about these patients,” says Dan Yohey, an enhanced video specialist at St. Jude and its fundraising arm, ALSAC.

Everyone can watch a 360° trailer of the experience on Facebook and in VR starting today, and Hall of Heroes will be on display in select Best Buy locations beginning this Friday, December 6. The experience will also be coming to the Oculus platform in early 2020.

Created by BBDO and developed by Flight School, Hall of Heroes is intended to help St. Jude raise donations during this annual period of charitable giving as part of the annual St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign—and it’s just one of the many ways the hospital uses VR to bring viewers inside its walls. St. Jude also leverages the immersive power of VR to share its No More Chemo parties, where doctors and nurses send patients home from their final chemotherapy treatment with balloons, confetti, and a singalong. It’s a moment caregivers cherish and that could previously only be experienced by those in the room. Now, VR breaks down those barriers to let donors and supporters join the celebration from afar.

“Since opening our doors, we’ve taken the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to 80% percent,” says ALSAC Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Emily Callahan. The hospital’s success is made possible by the support of millions of people around the world, many of whom may never visit the hospital or meet a patient. With Hall of Heroes, St. Jude invites everyone to experience what Callahan calls “glimpses of these unbelievable moments that we get to see here.”