I (Robin Ek, TGG) had the great honor to do an interview with Lizzy Hedgehog just recently (she’s most likely one of THE biggest Sonic fans on this planet, and Lizzy’s story about her fight against a really bad brain tumor really touched my soul). So we talked about everything from her fandom for Sonic, SEGA games (old as new), cosplay, to Lizzy’s story about how she beat her brain tumor with the help of playing the Sonic the Hedgehog games. So without any further ado, please enjoy my interview with Lizzy =)

Robin TGG
We have a tradition to ask everyone who we interview for an interdiction, so please go ahead and introduce yourself for our readers.

Lizzy Hedgehog: 
Hiya everyone! I am Lizzy, a big fan of retro gaming, and some current games. I love cartoons, old tv shows like the Golden Girls and I love my Sonic The Hedgehog while still giving love to Mario on the side.

lizzy hedgehog

Say hello to Miss Lizzy Hedgehog =)

Robin TGG
For how long have you been a fan of Sonic The Hedgehog? And when did your fandom start?

Lizzy Hedgehog:
Well I have been a fan of Sonic The Hedgehog since 1993. This was a short time after my brain tumor surgery in March of 1993. I was bullied a lot when I returned to school and didn’t have any friends. I was also struggling with recovery because I had to learn everything over again.

Since I sometimes didn’t go to school and stayed home with my parents; my parents took me to the store with them. That was the first time I saw sonic The Hedgehog and fell in love with the games. My dad bought me the Sega Genesis and they just helped me with my hand eye coordination. Faster recovery! I’ve kept Sonic very close to my heart.

I’m not entirely sure when my fandom started. I was just sharing my love of Sonic and my brain tumor story in the wonderful world of twitter. I can’t say all experiences have been great in the Sonic fandom. But I still share my brain tumor story cause there are others out there still dealing with brain tumors. They need that positive message!

lizzy hedgehog and sonic

The two Sonics, all in one picture. What more can you ask for?

Robin TGG
Which Sonic games do you like the most? And why? Furthermore, are you excited for Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017?

Lizzy Hedgehog:
Gotta say my favorite is still the game where I first met Sonic and fell in love with him. The first Sonic game on the Sega Genesis. I love every Sonic game on the Sega Genesis except Sonic 3 blast. I gave it a fair chance and it just annoyed me, except for the special stages, no thank you.

My reason is because the games were going 3D, making me sick and dizzy. So I was forced to take a break from Sonic. And it is wasn’t just Sonic it was other games too. I hated this because it reminded me of my disabilities and that I was limited on what I could do. So I focused on my retro games and stayed with the 2D style till I could handle it.

I am indeed excited for Sonic Mania! It’s a dream come true and I hope SEGA realizes how much that game means to me! I can’t wait to play it!  I’m shocked for the project 2017 though! What happened? Is this Sonic Generations 2? Well…. we shall see huh?

lizzy hedgehog sonic art

If that’s not pure love, then I don’t know what is.

Robin TGG
I would love to hear your story about how you won your fight against your brain tumor, because if I´m not wrong now, Sonic The Hedgehog played an important role in your battle for survival?

Lizzy Hedgehog
Yay! I love to share it! Well when I was a child, I would get a lot. And my pediatrician couldn’t tell my parents why. I was always very tiny and often picked on in school because people compared me to the character from the jungle book. I also looked more like a little boy then a little girl. When I was 10 years old, is when I started to have headaches. It would affect my learning in school and teachers assumed I was just being a bad student. Fevers and headaches would come and go throughout the day. But by evening I was fine.

At first it seem like nothing, but then I would randomly trip, my hearing would come and go, then I would get blurry vision that would later return. I tried to tell my teachers but they assumed I was lying and making it up to go to the nurse.

When I turned 11 in September of 1992, is when the symptoms started to really show themselves. I would get extremely bad headaches and my neck would get stiff. I couldn’t turn my head so I would have to turn myself completely around to see what was happening. My balance got worse and I started to experience one team problems. I tried again to tell my teachers but students in class would say I was faking and wanting attention.

The school nurse assumed I was faking but sent me home anyway. My parents got concerned and took me to the pediatrician. He said it was migraine headaches and prescribed prescription medication for me and returned me to school.

By January of 1993,  I would scream in pain because my neck was hurting more and so was my head I didn’t know why it was just hurting a lot. My parents tried three different doctors and they all said the same exact thing. It’s migraine headaches. My dad did not buy the story in searched for a different kind of. When they found someone he took one look at me and said there was something wrong with me. After a few quick check ups he sent me to the hospital to get an MRI done.

I remember the doctor very nice to me when I arrived but I saw the changes in their face after they pulled me out of the MRI machine.

They say they found a brain tumor and it was about two weeks for it to spread. I was also informed that mostly people do not survive this far along with a brain tumor so close to the brainstem. Having the surgery was going to be my choice. It was also very risky but the decision was mine. And I took it. Of course I survived and I beat the brain tumor. The doctors were able to remove the entire tumor with no traces of any left. My surgery was in march of 1993.

Sonic the Hedgehog indeed played a role in my recovery.

After the summer of 1993, the doctors sent me back to school. I was still in recovery and still dealing with a lot. But the doctors recommended me to return to school and try to lead a normal life. This was not easy for me because I stuttered a lot when people spoke to me. I had to learn to speak over again because the brain tumor affected a lot of things. I also could not play sports in was often make fun of dream physical education class. If I fell down nobody would help me up people would just point and laugh and tell me I was retarded.

I would purposely be tripped when I walk the halls or somebody would purposely open your locker and slam out on the back of my head just to watch me fall down and laugh. It was funny to pick on someone who was disabled and couldn’t fight back. Sometimes I didn’t want to go to school and I would beg my parents. Of course my mom would cave in and say I could stay home but my dad had to be firm and say no she must go to school. One day I convinced both my parents;  “can I stay home today? I do not want to go back to school.”

My parents agreed and let me stay home, but they would not let me stay home by myself. They took me to the store with them and I always like to visit the electronics section of the store. I was used to seeing TVs on this play with video game consuls with them. This time the TVs were set up differently. And there was a brand-new console on display that I had never seen before. It was black and shiny. On the TV it had a completely different character then I was used to. He was blue, he ran very fast and the music was very catchy when he collected rings. His name was…. Sonic The Hedgehog.

When I pick up the controller with my shaky hand something came over me. I was somewhat able to hold the controller. Previously I had difficulty holding the NES controller because my hands are so shaky since the surgery; it was very difficult to hold items in my hand. But I was able to hold the Sega Genesis controller in my hand somewhat. The other kids encouraged me to try to play the game and I found it difficult at first to mash the buttons with my thumbs but I was enjoying the game no matter what.

I didn’t know my father was watching me play and he decided to buy it for me. When I asked him why, he said I looked very happy when I was playing. Shortly afterwords I discovered that my new pediatrician had recommended me playing video games or finding something that would help improve my hand and eye coordination in my confidence. When my father explained he had bought me a gaming system the pediatrician was very happy and highly recommended it for me.

Shortly afterwords I discovered two new sonic shows in the comics. My life changed because sonic just made everything better for me. I began to gain my confidence and I began to improve with my hand-eye coordination. I wanted to be more like sonic so I would try to stand up and walk and run more. I always felt that God sent me sonic as my guarding angel. A blue guardian angel.

lizzy hedgehog and sonic tons of hugs

Lizzy owns and draws quite a lot of Sonic art.

Robin TGG
I´ve heard that you’re the CEO of It’s Not Game Over, so what can you tell us about INGO?

Lizzy Hedgehog
This project is on hold till more info can be given.

Robin TGG
Have you ever been to SEGA Japan´s office building before? If so, what did you think of it? (I have read some really cool stories from that building in the Swedish Gaming press).

Lizzy Hedgehog 
I would looooove to visit Sega of Japan and Sega of Europe someday! Just to be in the offices would be a dream come true!

lizzy hedgehog and hirokazu yasuhara

I could be wrong, but isn’t that Hirokazu Yasuhara? (Yasuhara has worked on tons of different Sonic games over the years).

Robin TGG
I´m curious to know how big your Sonic collection is, because based on what I´ve seen on your Twitter and Facebook page, it appears to be rather large 😉 Speak of which, do you have any favorite items?

Lizzy Hedgehog
Ha ha ha! Oh my… my collection is pretty big and still growing! 😏 you know it is Sonic’s 25th anniversary and a lot of cool stuff has come out  like Kidrobot toys, new Tomy brand toys coming, the Sonic x Sanrio collection. And let’s not forget the First4Figures statues! Gorgeous! I have 1 item I do love very much, the first US released Sonic plushie from 1993! I also have a framed poster of the classic Sonic The Hedgehog from 1991.

lizzy hedgehogs ranma cosplay

Lizzy as Ranma Saotome.

Robin TGG
I´ve been told that you enjoy cosplay quite a bit, so how long have you been into cosplay? And which cosplay (s) are you the most proud of so far?

Lizzy Hedgehog
Oh I love it! I love anime and made a few cosplays before it gotten creative with closet cosplay. I’ve cosplayed off and on since 2005. I say some of my favorites have been Ranma from Ranma 1/2,  a cat girl maid, Lita Inverse from the Slayers, Sonic dressed as Link and Sonic 25th anniversary edition. It’s all about cosplaying what you love! Not cause it’s popular, nor to outshine someone else’s cosplay, or steal their spotlight in vain. Just cosplay who or what you love. Anime or western animation. Heck, I’ve cosplayed as WonderGirl cause I’m too short to be WonderWoman! I’m barely 5″0.

lizzy hedgehog sonic drawings

Lizzy Hedgehog has been blessed by quite a lot of Sonic drawings from talented artists from all over the world.

Robin TGG
I have seen quite a lot of awesome Sonic drawings on your social media sites, have you drawn most of them yourself

Lizzy Hedgehog 
Thank you so much! Sadly no, I can’t take credit for that. I been blessed with many great artists and artist friends who’ve drawn these for me. Some are shy and wish not to be credited because they rather avoid drama of others requesting duplicate poses. And others do sign the artwork. But it’s sometimes hard to find the right artists who’ll draw Sonic x Lizzy. Some are highly against the fact Lizzy is a human others have no experience in drawing humans. But no matter what I appreciate all the artwork!

Robin TGG
Do you have a favorite SEGA console by any chance? And how many of SEGA´s consoles do you own?

Lizzy Hedgehog
Of course! It’s the Sega Genesis! It was my first…. SEGA console! I own Genesis, Saturn, 32x, Sega CD, Genesis II, dreamcast. I’m in need of the GameGear, Genesis III and of course MasterSystem!

Robin TGG
Do you have any Sonic stories (childhood memories?) that you would like to share with us?

Lizzy Hedgehog
Even though I had no friends in school, there was a couple of little boys on my street who were also Sonic fans back in the 90’s. They would come over and ask my dad if I wanted to play. Course they didn’t want to play outside, they wanted to come inside and watch me play my Sonic games. I’d ask if they wanted to play, but except for the split screen once in a while, the kids would say no to me. They just wanted to watch me play the game and beat it! That was very entertaining for them.

Robin TGG
What´s your take on the SEGA of today, current and upcoming games? And what would you love to see SEGA do in the future?

Lizzy Hedgehog
I’m going to be honest with you. I do not like SoA today. It’s a clubhouse of friends only, who can do as they please, rules get bent for them, and it’s just disgusting. I look forward to Sonic Mania, Project 2017,  the new Toe Jam and Earl game! But I’m not sure what to think of Sega in general. They broke my heart.  Sega needs to remove all their employees and connections who’ve been bullying and harassing their fans online and apologize to the Sega community for their unprofessionalism.

Robin TGG
Do you think that we will ever see a new SEGA console? If so, would you buy it?

Lizzy Hedgehog
Heck yah! I know this is something we all want secretly! Admit it! You want Sega to return to the console business in some shape or form!

shantae 12 genie hero

Lizzy is a big fan of shantae as well.

Robin TGG
Which non Sonic related games did you enjoy the most during 2016? And which games do you want to play during this year?

Lizzy Hedgehog
Oh man! Thanks to my friend Chris from Retro Reload Podcast I fell in love with a cute genie named Shantae! I also been retro game hunting and enjoying some old favorites from the NES days!

I want to indeed rediscover my love of the NES games I missed during the original run. I also want to dedicate a day to playing all Sonic games from the Sega Genesis days and see if I can beat them all without losing 1 life, with the chaos Emeralds like I used to back in the old days.

lizzy hedgehog and naoto ohshima

Yes, that is Mr.Naoto Ohshima in person.

Robin TGG
What´s your plans, hopes and expectations for 2017?

Lizzy Hedgehog
I plan to find ways to get involved in more gaming charities, continue sharing my brain tumor surgery while being involved in runs/walks!  I’m also going to see what are new ways I can share the benefit of video games, and what impact they can have on children in the hospital or how they can help after a surgery, chemo treatments, etc! Wish me luck!!

tgg author avatar robin ek
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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