Teen battling deadly disease creates gaming app

Teen battling deadly disease creates gaming app

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Theo Menswar is walking us through "Canvas Climber," a new video game application now available  on iTunes. 

"You just press play. It starts pretty basic," the 15-year-old Theo demonstrates.  "Every time you beat a level, a new one appears." 

He knows the game inside and out, because he created it.  It's a pretty big accomplishment for a kid his age, and an even bigger accomplishment, considering he developed it from a hospital bed.  

He said he developed the game over two months while "procrastinating."  Theo is being humble.  He wasn't really procrastinating.  He was sick. 

When we first introduced you to Theo earlier this year, he was literally on his death bed.  Back in 2012, he had undergone a bone marrow transplant to cure his myelodysplastic syndrome, which is a precursor to leukemia. 

Afterwards, he suffered some serious complications.  Three separate times, doctors told his parents to say their "goodbyes," because Theo wasn't expected to make it.  But he did and spent nearly a year in the hospital recovering.  When Theo felt well enough, instead of laying in bed playing video games, he found a free app online "Game Salad" and taught himself how to build an app. 

"What I love about it is that it's so user friendly.  I took like 30 minutes to use every tutorial they had on their YouTube page." 

It has been his way to escape reality. 

"The whole point of me making the app, I figured if I'm not at school right now because I'm sick, I want to be productive with my time, maybe make money."

The star of "Canvas Climber" is a little black blot, called "Eynk." 

"You play this little character, and what he does is, he just collects stars.  In each level you have to collect the star at the end," Theo explained. 

Of course there are obstacles.  In this game, each color presents a different challenge. 

"Blue is 'bouncy.'  You hit it and jump much higher," he said.

Green is 'slick,' and causes Eynk to slide.  Red is the bad guy.  The game has 24 levels, and it's growing popular with hundreds of downloads from around the world. 

"Surprisingly, a lot from Sweden," Theo told us. 

He said he's excited to be getting a check from iTunes soon.   He showed us how to play the game, and it's not as easy as it looks. 

"It's addictive," Theo warned.  

He wasn't kidding.  

From a hospital bed, Theo has found his calling. 

"It's really what I want to do when I grow up. I want to study this from my dream school, Full Sail University," said Theo.

Right now, he's on the mend.  He showed us the app while we visited him at the hospital for an outpatient photophoresis dialysis treatment.  He in the midst of creating another 24 levels for an update. 

"Now that I'm way better and not at the hospital as much, I can totally crank out my content for people which is exactly what I want," said Theo.  

He also already has an outline underway for his second game app.


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