By Christopher Helton
In 2008, what would become Extra Life started when video gamers came together to send video games and gifts to Victoria Enmon, a young woman who eventually lost her fight with lymphoblastic leukemia. After her death, the Extra Life organization was started and raised $302,000 in 2008 and 2009 for children at the Texas Children’s Hospital. This grew into national campaign through which gamers could raise money for hospitals that are a part of the Children’s Miracle Network.
On October 25, 2014 gamers from video, board and roleplaying communities will come together to play games for 24 hours and raise some money to help others.
To donate to an Extra Life fundraiser, you simply click through a team’s page and donate the amount of money that you want. These donations can be made on a one time or ongoing monthly basis. Each team has goals that they are trying to reach. Depending on how a team sets up their fund raiser, 100% of the money will either go to the Children’s Miracle Network, or their local member hospital.
For the second year in a row, Dungeons & Dragons will be a part of Extra Life, as members of the Wizards of the Coast D&D development team and special guests will play a 24 hour marathon session of the new Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure, recently published for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Their marathon will be broadcast live on twitch.tv and feature Rodney Thompson (designer for the D&D fifth edition tabletop roleplaying game rules set and the Lords of Waterdeep board game), Chris Dupuis (D&D game designer), Emi Tanji (D&D graphic designer), James Wyatt and Gavin Verhey (game & experience designers, Magic: The Gathering), Keith Baker (creator, Eberron setting), Erin M. Evans (author of the upcoming, Fire in the Blood novel) Jeremy Petter (LoadingReadyRun) and Mike Selinker (president, Lone Shark Games). The Dungeons & Dragons team has a goal of $25,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, which was already exceeded at the time of this writing.
Gamers On The Edge is organizing a one day tournament of video and board games to raise money for All Children’s Hopsital in St. Petersburg, FL. Their goal is symbolic, $2,218, or one dollar for each child currently being treated for cancer at the hospital.
Ben Gerber of the gaming website Troll In The Corner has been doing fund raising for the Children’s Hospital of Boston for a couple of years now through Extra Life. His reasons are more personal, because “For the past few years, they’ve also been treating my youngest daughter. She was born with a very large, unilateral cleft lip, which extended up through her nose. Children’s Boston not only corrected her cleft, but they treated her and our whole family with dignity, respect and honest to gosh caring. Because of their efforts, the amazing doctors and nursing staff, my daughter will live a normal, pain and scar free life. By the time this fundraiser happens, she will have gone through her fourth operation since she was 2 years old.”Gerber’s goal is $1,500.
Jesse Ferguson and the Oregon D&D Adventurer’s League is raising money for Portland’s Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. His goal is $150 and he is organizing tabletop RPGs at Portland game store Guardian Games. For more information, and a schedule, check out Ferguson’s Meetup page for the event.
In Ann Arbor Michigan, the Ann Arbor Eclectic Enthusiasts will be having a marathon gaming tournament, including a Pandemic tournament that is a qualifier for Z-Man Games national Pandemic tournament. Their goal is $1,500.
Check out any of these Extra Life events, or look up people doing them in your own area and help out locally. It is a good cause and it needs every bit of help that can be drummed up.
Christopher Helton is a blogger, podcaster and tabletop RPG publisher who talks about games and other forms of geekery at the long-running Dorkland! blog. He is also the co-publisher at the ENnie Award winning Battlefield Press, Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @dorkland and on G+ at https://plus.google.com/+ChristopherHelton/ where he will talk your ear off about gaming and comics.