Quest for the Code: A Fun Game That Improves Asthma Management and Symptoms in Millions of Children

Quest for the Code: A Fun Game That Improves Asthma Management and Symptoms in Millions of Children

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

It is a fun game that improves asthma management behaviors among children, their siblings, friends, parents, teachers, school nurses and health pros.

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Product Design Orientation

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Physical Health

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:
What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

It is a fun game that improves asthma management behaviors among children, their siblings, friends, parents, teachers, school nurses and health pros.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

There is no other asthma management game for children. Starlight brought in celebrities, rich graphics, and standard gaming technology by a gaming company to make a game about asthma management that kids would not only learn from, but enjoy playing. According to National Institute of Health standards, it has everything anyone would need to know about asthma. Starlight took the NIH standards and converted them into a game. The game was also created by an interdisciplinary team of asthma experts led by Dr. Gary Rachelefsky.

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

The main barrier is access to education for children about asthma, the need for treatment, environmental triggers, types of medications and devices, signs and symptoms, etc. There is limited education, limited adherence, and next to nothing that is child-friendly, age-appropriate and at the same time engaging.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

The game was originally developed as a CD-Rom, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and GlaxoSmithKline to 100,000 schools, clinics, 10,000 camps, nurses, kids, physicians, hospitals, ERs and other HC providers across the United States and Canada. About 750,000 copies of the CD-Rom were delivered. Every public school in the US received a CD-Rom and corresponding “School Implementation Guide”. A conservative estimate indicates that more than 2 million children have been exposed to the game. In 2007, Starlight converted the game to a web-based platform, expanding its availability, reach and access to millions.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

In 2007, Starlight converted the game to a web-based platform, expanding its availability, reach and access to millions. Starlight plans to translate the game into Spanish, Japanese and French, and make those versions also available online. The Japanese and French versions will be disseminated via chapters in Japan and Montreal. The Spanish version will be provided to the large Latino population in the US, along with Puerto Rico, Mexico, South and Central America due to the large number of requests we receive from these countries. Starlight will conduct an aggressive marketing and public relations outreach program to make the game sought after and widely utilized.

Provide one sentence describing your impact.

Research shows improvement in children’s self efficacy, symptoms, knowledge, quality of life, medication adherence, and avoidance of asthma triggers.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

Starlight has helped keep children in school and out of emergency rooms thanks to the game. One of countless examples: According to school nurse Charla Dunham, “Quest for the Codehas helped keep two frequently hospitalized children from my school out of the hospital. One student missed a large portion of the school year last year, but since we have introduced him to the game, his medical care has improved, and he has not been hospitalized since.” Starlight conservatively estimates that our game has impacted more than 2 million children ages 7 to 15 with asthma and their family members; also have educated school administrators, school nurses and teachers and health care professionals and also provided them with a lasting and effective resource.

How many people have you served directly?

Conservative estimates are at least 2 million children

How many people have you served indirectly?

Tens of millions of family members (parents and siblings), friends, health care professionals and school officials.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

Society for Behavioral Medicine, Abstract No 151488: Major progress in child-reported asthma self efficacy & quality of life at 1 month; progress in self-efficacy, responsibilities & knowledge at 3 mos; parents reported improved symptoms at 1 mo; increased child responsibilities, knowledge, medicine-taking & child avoidance of triggers at 3 mos. Sustained progress in self-efficacy adherence, knowledge, child responsibilities & symptoms at 6 mos. Children and parent satisfaction ratings very high

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

Awareness of the resource and a language barrier.

How is your initiative financed?

Development was paid for by GlaxoSmithKline; dissemination was paid for by Centers for Disease Control, Home Shopping Network and an anonymous donor. Ongoing activity will be funded through grants and unrestricted donations.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

April 1, 2006 – March 31, 2007 Annual Budget for Headquarters = $9.75 million
April 1, 2006 – March 31, 2007 Annual Revenue for Headquarters = $10.57 million (including donated goods and services)
Part-Time = 22
Full-Time = 42
Volunteer Staff = 200

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

Conservative estimates suggest that there are more than 6.5 million children with asthma in the United States, and estimates vary suggesting that there are between 50 and 100 million children with asthma across the globe.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

Ongoing costs are minimal.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation was formed in 2004 through the merger of The Starlight Children’s Foundation (founded in 1983) and the Starbright Foundation (founded in 1991). Starlight and Starbright were each founded by Peter Samuelson (with help from Steven Spielberg in the case of Starbright) to empower and improve the quality of life for seriously ill children — Starlight through high-touch events and activities and Starbright through high-tech entertainment, education and communication tools. Since the two organizations shared core goals, served the same population and had a founder in common, they decided in 2004 to combine their efforts.
Throughout our history, we have been developing programs that offer children ways to cope with the social, emotional and medical aspects of serious illness as well as providing families with a community of support and understanding.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

When a child has a serious medical condition, everyone in the family is affected. For nearly 25 years, Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation™ has dedicated itself to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. Starlight’s programs have been proven to distract children from their pain, help them better understand and manage their illnesses, and connect families facing similar challenges.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

Email; Our objective is to increase awareness of the game and reach millions more children, family members, school administrators and health care professionals.