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Video game war machine honors young player's memory

"Sarah's Jenner" was designed with her parents' help and includes images of a pony, teddy bear and peace symbol.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sarah Parries, 5, was avid "MechWarrior Online" player before her death in May
  • The game's developer created a "Mech" designed and named in her honor
  • Proceeds from its sale go to the Canadian Cancer Society
  • It's raised more than $54,000

(CNN) -- Wander into any gaming forum thread, chat room or multiplayer-action communications, and you quickly discover that gamers can be an insensitive lot. But there are also instances where the hardcore, win-at-all-costs trash talking goes silent and they band together to do good.

Such was the case recently when players and game developers turned heartbreak over the death of a young compatriot into cash to fight cancer.

"MechWarrior Online" is a game that lets players control powerful war machines ("Mechs") and fight each other for dominance on the battlefield. The game is still in beta testing and plans to launch in mid-September but boasts more than 1.1 million registered pilots.

Five-year-old Sarah Marie Alida Parries of Vancouver, British Columbia, was one of them.

She would pilot her favorite style of Mech -- called a Jenner -- with her father, Jon, and often dominated her much-older opponents. Then, in May, she lost her battle with inoperable brain cancer.

Sarah Parries, 5, played \
Sarah Parries, 5, played "MechWarrior Online" with her father and often was able to beat older opponents.

The courage and energy she displayed along the way inspired Infinite Games Publishing and Piranha Games, the makers of "MechWarrior," to honor her in a unique way.

A customized war machine called "Sarah's Jenner" is now available in the game for $10. And all proceeds from its sale go to the Canadian Cancer Society.

"Sarah's passion for 'Mechs' and her battle with cancer had a profound impact on everyone at Piranha," said Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games, in a news release. "She was an inspiration, with her passion and energy for the game and our hearts and deepest condolences go out to her family.

"The outpouring of heartfelt sympathy from the MechWarrior community and the support and encouragement we've received to develop this unique 'Mech' has been nothing short of incredible."

Sarah's family worked with the team to make Sarah's Mech a possibility. The Jenner was her favorite chassis "because she liked to move fast, lock on and liked using night vision," according to her father.

But it's personalized with an exterior design that includes images of a pony, rainbow, teddy bear and pink peace symbol.

Players can get the new Mech until August 20.

Proceeds from the sale are being kept in a running tally on a special page on the MechWarrior website. As of Friday, more than $54,000 had been raised. The organizers say non-players interested in contributing should reach out to their local cancer societies.

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