For disabled players, Twitch offers community and a second income

A new profile in The Guardian gets to know young women with ability challenges who are earning money and raising charitable funds via online streaming service Twitch.

Simon Parkin has done an interesting profile at the Guardian of players with disabilities who have found a community—and a supplemental income—via online streaming service Twitch. He interviews Mackenzie, a young woman with severe epilepsy who plays games online for a select audience she is careful about getting to know.

Like Mackenzie, who sees her work as partially a way to promote understanding of her condition, streamer Stacey Rebecca plays the competitive digital card game Hearthstone, and shares some of her challenges with her fans:

Only a relative handful of disabled streamers earn their living from the service, but as well as providing a supplemental income, Twitch offers a support community. "Twitch gives me that feeling of being less isolated," says Stacey Rebecca. "I have a lot of regulars, and it's nice to have that kind of friendly group that I can essentially hang out with each day without having to leave the house. And because I've been open about my mental health problems, I attract a lot of viewers who are experiencing anxiety. It helps us both feel less isolated. It's a mutually beneficial arrangement."

The massive and growing online streaming community also has demonstrated the power to be a force for charitable causes, claiming to have raised more than $10 million for charities in 2014. On her own, Stacey Rebecca raised £6,500 for mental health charity Mind.