Equipped with virtual reality gear, 360 degree cameras and a desire to help, Steve Drumheller will drive to California this month and document his journey to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
The Wallingford native said he was looking for something he could do from his home after multiple back surgeries limited his movement. He has enjoyed video production since college and an interest in virtual reality since the late 90s. Drumheller’s passion for virtual reality was re -ignited after the release of the Oculus software several years ago
He also started a YouTube Channel called Conquer Reality, where he talks about advancements in virtual reality, reviews video games and equipment, and interacts with fans of virtual technology. He said virtual reality has allowed him to have different “experiences” that he couldn’t otherwise enjoy due to his condition, such as travel, outdoor activities, and roller coaster rides. Recently, Drumheller decided to create a fundraiser and utilize his passion for virtual reality.
“I wanted to find a way to use virtual reality to help people,” said Drumheller, who now lives in Meriden.
He was inspired by the children at St. Jude Children’s Hospital to create a fundraiser – Conquer Reality to help Conquer Cancer . The goal is to raise as much money as he can.
Before the sun rises on Sept. 21, Drumheller will set out from Connecticut to California in a two-week journey across the United States. He will live stream portions of his trip on Facebook and post videos on his YouTube channel, including drone footage. Throughout, Drumheller will encourage his viewers to donate to the cause and make suggestions about places to visit.
“This is a great opportunity to combine several different things into one,” he said. “I hope that by combining these things I can get other YouTubers to get the word out.”
His final stop will be in San Jose, California for the Oculus Connect 6 event on Sept. 25 and 26.
“Oculus Connect brings developers, content creators, marketers, and more to explore state-of-the-art technological advancements, discuss the artistic potential of immersive media, and imagine what our industry might look like,” according to a release from the Oculus Team.
Drumheller said he plans to contact the St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee to ask if he could volunteer for a day. He hopes to bring his virtual reality equipment to the children at the hospital so they can also have virtual experience even though they may not be able to leave the hospital.
“Just to try and cheer them up,” Drumheller said. “Escape the hospital setting by entering the virtual world.”