Gamers gather to fundraise for children’s hospitals

BY BRIAN PEREYRA
Contributor

On Saturday, Nov 7, the Extra Life fundraising event went off with a bang and as of now, over $6.8 million has been raised.

Extra Life is a fundraising event where gamers go on epic marathons, playing video games. They raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. 100 percent of the funds go to these hospitals in order to provide funds to help kids with recover from diseases and help make their lives a bit easier.

“I can’t believe a fundraiser like this exists,” said Erick Lucero, a sound engineering major at the County College of Morris.

“This combines my two favorite things in the world, and the fact that so many gamers join this event is absolutely mind blowing.”

Everything began with Victoria Enmon, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Once she was diagnosed, her parents took her to the Texas Children’s Heart Center to get her treated. That’s where they met Jeromy “Doc” Adams, who was inspired by her story.

Doc contacted a website called Sarcastic Gamer for some aid, and boxes of games from all over the globe were sent to Victoria and the other children in the hospital. Unfortunately, on Jan 21, 2008, Victoria passed away, but because of the overwhelming response they got, Extra Life was born.

Between 2008 and 2009, 1200 gamers had entered the fundraiser and $302,000 was raised. From there, the numbers would only go up. Last year, over 50,000 gamers participated in the event and $6.1 million was raised.

“The lifelong gamer in me saw this as a chance to make a difference,” said Brianna Martin, also known as Brixbri, a participant in Extra Life who had raised $18,000 last year.

Usually, the only way one would participate in Extra Life is to just game for 24 hours and have people donate to their page, but this is 2015. People are getting extremely creative. When a certain amount is donated, people will either shave their beards, eat something disgusting, or get tazed. Instead of 24 hours, people will do 48 hours or even 72 hours. With websites like Twitch or YouTube gaming, gamers have been streaming for 24 hours straight and people will be donating as time goes on.

“What got me started with Extra Life is that I was an addict with charity events, and last year was when I began raising cash for Extra Life, ” said Briana Falb-Joslin, otherwise known as TacticalPinup, a gamer who has participated in event for the past two years.

“The reason why this organization honed in for me was that I had a friend who ran a laundromat who had a rare condition of brain cancer, and unfortunately, she passed away in the middle of my stream. That was the moment when I locked myself down with this event. Last year, I raised about $5,000 and this year, I’ve raised over $13,000. I’m not even done yet. I have 89 hours left.”

Joslin has been able to gather all of her friends and surrounding streamers in her immediate area to help her with this cause and the support has been incredible. She is one of the few that has turned this 24 hour marathon into a week-long marathon and is striving to reach her $30,000 goal.

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