This weekend is the official Game Day for Extra Life, a charity fundraiser that challenges gamers to play for 24 hours and earn donations for children’s hospitals in their areas.
Like Games Done Quick or Child’s Play, Extra Life enables gamers to give back to their communities via their favourite hobby. The event is fairly open-ended, allowing participants to pick their own format for a 24-hour video game marathon, but the official Game Day is this Saturday, November 6.
If you’re new to this event or just want to check it out, we’ve prepared a little primer with all you need to know.
What is Extra Life?
The fundraiser was created in memory of Victoria Emmon, a young girl from Texas who lost her struggle with leukemia in January 2008. Members of the Sarcastic Gamer community had donated various video games to her ward at the local hospital to help raise her spirits during long stays for treatment. Later that year the first 24-hour marathon was held to raise money for the hospital where she’d stayed, and a tradition was formed.
Last year the charity reached a total of $87 million dollars raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across North America, and this year they’re expected to pass the $100 million dollar milestone. When you pledge to a participant, your donation goes directly to their chosen hospital as unregistered funding, allowing the facility to use that money for what it needs most.
How Can I Help?
There are a couple of ways you can help the cause:
- Donate if you are able. Participants understand that times are tough this year with the ongoing pandemic, but if you can spare anything for the cause, it will be greatly appreciated—not just by the person you’re donating to, but to the staff, patients, and families at that hospital.
- Watch livestreams. If you’re looking for some entertainment this weekend, why not check out a related stream? Knowing there’s someone in the audience, especially someone who’s occasionally reacting in the chat, can do a lot of boost a streamer’s spirits, especially for the less experienced, and especially when they’re 18 hours into a 24-hour marathon. Plus, the more people are actively viewing a channel, the more likely Twitch is to recommend it to others—which then introduces them to more potential donors. There’s no obligation to donate just because you’re watching, so it’s a great free way to help out.
- Spread the word. Did you find a really entertaining stream? Was someone playing your favourite game? Or do you know someone whose family has been affected by juvenile illnesses, maybe someone whose child or loved one relied on the CMN’s services at some point? Share the event or that favourite stream, and you’ll help boost the event’s signal.
Every little bit helps with causes like this, whether it’s $5 or watching a stream for half an hour.
Who and Where to Watch?
I will be participating this weekend with my team from Friday, November 5 at 8PM until Saturday, November 6 at 8PM (Eastern). This is our sixth year in a row, and we’re looking to raise $1500 for the Children’s Health Foundation in London, Ontario (as well as for SickKids in Toronto). You can watch our antics here on Twitch!
But with hospitals from British Colombia to Newfoundland & Labrador, there’s likely a facility in your neck of the woods to support. If you visit the event’s website and use the Player Search feature to look up the name of your city, or the nearest city with a CMN hospital, you’re likely to find a local team that could use your help.
Twitch has made it easier to find participants’ streams by making an official Extra Life stream tag. From here you can find all the active streams and somebody who would appreciate your support. (Keep an eye on this tag beyond this weekend, as some participants do multiple streams or don’t take part on the specified date.)
There are also a handful of corporate sponsors who will be participating. Wizards of the Coast have some limited edition goodies you can purchase, with 50% of the proceeds going to the cause—like merchandise emblazoned with a unique annual logo, digital items for MTG Arena, or the latest drop of Secret Lair cards. They asked some young patients to recreate the artwork of some iconic cards, and then their own artists brought these new creations to life. Wizards’ stream begins Saturday, November 6 at 7PM Eastern.
Longtime-supporters Rooster Teeth are back again, looking to raise half a million dollars for a cutting-edge new facility in Texas. They will have limited-edition items for sale as well, only for 24 hours. Imgur, Butterfinger, and Giant Bomb are also among the corporate teams participating, and trending high on the top teams listing.
However you want to contribute, the Extra Life cause is a noble one. If you’re looking for something to watch, why not look up some participants in your area and check out their streams? It’s an easy way to aid a worthy mission. Best of luck to all the competitors!