Extra Life, one of gaming’s biggest charity events, has reached a major fundraising milestone and there’s still time to help out.
Every November (and beyond), gamers look to give back to their community by partaking in Extra Life, one of the largest fundraising initiatives associated with the games industry or other geekier pursuits. The organization benefits the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across North America. Many of these facilities are currently struggling to deal with the late stages of the pandemic and rising numbers of hospitalizations related to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), on top of their usual operations.
The event’s official Game Day was held on November 5, and total annual donations surpassed the $9 million dollar mark by the end of the weekend. However donations remain open until December 31, and there’s still plenty of time to help make a difference.
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 surpassed a lifetime total of $100 million dollars raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across North America, and this year they need to keep the momentum up with help from. 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 Extra Life’s 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 in Extra Life this weekend with my team, from Friday, November 18 at 8PM until Saturday, November 19 at 8PM (Eastern). This is our seventh year in a row, and we’re looking to raise $1500 for the Children’s Health Foundation in London, Ontario and SickKids in Toronto. You can watch our antics here on Twitch!
On top of their own local areas, the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences and SickKids also service much of Ontario, with patients from newborns to 18 years old transported to them for specialized or critical care. Both facilities are also dedicated to furthering research and improve pediatric medicine as a field. Several of our team’s members have been personally impacted by these facilities—in caring for siblings, nieces and nephews, and their own children—and so we take part in Extra Life to ensure children in our communities retain access to these world-class services.
But with hospitals from British Colombia to Newfoundland & Labrador, and across the US, there’s likely a facility to support which provides care for patients in your neck of the woods. If you visit the Extra Life 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, featuring Ajani Goldmane. Digital items for MTG Arena and the latest drop of Secret Lair cards were also on sale. In an ongoing tradition, they asked some young artists for their own renditions of some iconic cards, and had their own artists bring these new creations to life.
Longtime Extra Life supporters Rooster Teeth are back again, looking to raise half a million dollars for the HERE campaign, “championing a new facility to be built by Dell Children’s Medical Center here in Austin, aimed at keeping families together by serving the needs of three areas of specialty that families currently have to leave Texas to find. Hematology oncology (blood disorders and cancer), neurology (brain disorders like seizures), and cardiology — the heart. It also features a state-of-the-art maternal fetal medicine program which is one of the first of its kind.”
Rooster Teeth’s Extra Life superteam, as of this writing, has raised $292,846 of its $500,000 goal, while the Magic team sits at $771,945 of their million-dollar goal. Following them on the team leaderboards are Giant Bomb, Studio Wildcard of ARK fame, and Team ArenaNet, from the developers of Guild Wars 2.
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!