At the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, you might find some of the kids playing Dungeons and Dragons in their spare time. And that’s because True Blood and Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello donated a ton of his personal Dungeons and Dragons boards, dice and, dragons to the hospital. Turns out the actor (and husband of Sofia Vergara) is a huge D&D fan, and now shares that passion with kids in need.
According to Entertainment Tonight, Manganiello “built a dungeon in the basement of my house in Beverly Hills, and everybody comes over to my house to play.” But, he wasn’t content to just have Hollywood types come over and cast spells on each other. He and his brother decided to share the magic with kids. And his reason was connected to the idea that children who are in the hospital for long periods of time may not have ways to escape from their problems. In Manganiello’s view, D&D provides that escapism.
“I think it’s so important because it allows the kids to be kids while they’re going through these medical issues that are forcing them not to be kids, to be grown-ups,” Manganiello told ET. In terms of Dungeons and Dragons having a positive impact on children, Manganiello isn’t alone. David Ewalt, the author of Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It, believes that children gain the ability to craft their own stories by playing the game. Speaking to Inverse in 2017, Ewalt said. “Kids that were really into these role-playing games learned all about story and structure and narrative, and then they grew up, and they kept telling stories.”
Hopefully, for the kids at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the same can be true. But for now, it’s nice to think that a smart actor realizes that one way for kids to be kids is to let them escape into fantasy.