Devs come together to give terminally-ill girl her dream VR mermaid experience

With only two to three weeks expected before her passing, a young girl was treated to her birthday wish of being a mermaid in a custom VR experience.


VR has allowed for the creation of some incredible experiences as the technology has improved over the years, but a recent one may have granted a terminally ill girl her most important wish. VR Therapies, a UK group dedicated to the medical and therapeutic advances of VR and making sure they accessible to children and adults, recently was able to bring a collection of developers in the VR space together to create custom experiences to fulfill a young girl’s wish. That wish? To swim through the ocean as a mermaid.

VR Therapies posted on the results of its latest endeavor via its Twitter earlier this week. The group took on the case of a young patient known as Zainab: a four-year-old terminally ill girl who was expected to live for just two to three more weeks in her current condition. Coming up on her fourth birthday, Zainab expressed a wish to be a mermaid and swim in the ocean. When VR Therapies heard of the case, the group reached out to VR developers to craft experiences for Zainab and try to make her wish come true by her birthday.

VR Therapies on the completion of an experience for a terminally ill 4-year-old girl.
With doctors only expecting her to live for two to three weeks, Zainab was treated to a dream VR experience by VR Therapies.
Source: VR Therapies

With the help of over 10 developers, VR Therapies shared that it was able to craft a number of custom mermaid experiences for Zainab and allow her to experience the wish she asked for. The young girl reportedly enjoyed the experience thoroughly and expressed gratitude to all involved.

Virtual reality developers have long been working on expanding applications to create unique experiences that allow accessibility to social or unique experiences. VR Therapies not only works to advance this cause, but also bring VR therapy to those who have the least access to it. The group takes on the cases of kids with special needs and adults with disabilities, helping aid them with medical VR and VR therapy where applicable. One of the group’s main goals is also helping those who might be on limited time “tick off bucket lists.”

In the case of Zainab, it seems that VR Therapies was successful in its mission. We’ve seen quite a bit of just how good VR can be in games, but Zainab and her family show that VR can be also be used to offer something truly magical to folks that otherwise couldn’t have it.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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