Extra Life is an annual charity event that initially raised money for pediatric cancer treatment and research, but has since expanded to help children’s hospitals all over the world. The event was established in honor of Victoria Enmon, a young girl who lost her battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After she passed in early 2008, the Sarcastic Gamer community banded together and organized a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for the hospital where Victoria had been treated, the Texas Children’s Cancer Center. The first annual Extra Life event was a huge success, raising over $115,000. The first year has thousands of gamers involved, over one hundred different websites voicing their support for the cause and well over 12,000 donors. 100% of the money went directly to the hospital. In 2009, the event raised another $170,000 which also went to the Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
In 2010 Extra Life utilized their association with the Children’s Miracle Network to expand their reach from just the local Texas area. That year the event raised over $451,000, and 2011 was even more astounding. Extra Life 2011 raised well over double the previous year’s take, at $1,100,000, and benefited 175 different children’s hospitals worldwide. It was also the largest to date, with players on every continent except Antarctica taking part in the event simultaneously.
This year Extra Life is looking not only to expand their reach even further, but give all the participants their own unique voice by allowing them to choose which hospital in the Children’s Miracle Network they’d like the money they raise to go to. Via the official Extra Life website:
This year, when you sign up to play video games for 24 hours on Oct. 20, 2012, you won’t just be raising money for kids. You’ll be supporting LOCAL kids and their families. Kids right in your own backyard.
All the money you raise for Extra Life 2012 will go directly to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital of your choice.
Do you want to have more fun than you can handle while helping some of the bravest (and smallest) warriors in your community? All you have to do is:
- Register and create your personal fundraising page.
- Try to get four friends or family members to sponsor you at $1 per hour ($24 each).
- Sit on your rear end and play video games for 24 hours straight on Saturday, Oct. 20, beginning at 8 a.m.
I also encourage you to learn more about your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and to meet some of the kids we’ll be working to help.
That’s right, all you have to do to take part is raise a minimum of $96. You can even sponsor yourself if you’d like. You don’t even necessarily have to do all 24 hours in a sitting, or even on October 20th. You could do it earlier if you’re unavailable that day, or after. The gaming community at large will take your dedication to the cause at face value and go by the honor system, though several people have broadcasted their sessions live online during past events. You can play any video game you want. Bioshock, Gears of War, Kid Chameleon, World of Warcraft, Commander Keen, Farmville, Mega Man, Skyrim. Hell, you could even simply take your phone out of your pocket, hook it up to your wall charger (unless you’ve perfected refueling your cell phone using radiation from a space-time rift) and play all the Angry Birds games, some online poker, or the pocket edition of Minecraft. It doesn’t matter. If it’s a video game, it counts.
You can start a team so you can trade off, take shifts, or all play together (might I recommend Borderlands 2, as it will be out by then, barring unforeseen circumstances) for the entire 24 hour period. If you’re a Platinum Participant (which requires a $15 donation from you to register, which all other registries are free) and you raise at least $200 you’ll even get a t-shirt declaring your participation in this year’s event. Oh, and the CMN is a non-profit organization, meaning every donation is tax deductible.
This year’s event is being sponsored by G4TV, Rift, the PlayStation Network and, of course, the Children’s Miracle Network. In four years they’ve raised over $2,000,000 doing this, and that couldn’t have happened without people like you and me. It’s a great event and a great cause, and with our continued support this charity can continue doing what they’re doing, almost literally one day at a time.
I’d recommend you start stockpiling Code Red Mountain Dew and place an advance order for several pizzas from your favorite local delivery place now, though Extra Life recommends you drink plenty of water and juice, stretch constantly (or just play Kinect/Movie/Wii games), get plenty of sleep before and after the event and if for any reason you don’t feel physically or mentally able to finish your shift, STOP IMMEDIATELY. You can always make up the missed time at a later date once you’re in better health and spirits.
If you’re interested in signing up to participate, or simply want to sponsor a person or team, check out the links below and find out how you can get involved.