Extra Life: Gamers Uniting to Help Kids Since 2008

I can play video games to raise money for local sick kids? Sign me up!

That was my thought process five years ago when I discovered Extra Life through a good friend. Extra Life is a Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) organization that started back in 2008. Jeromy “Doc” Adams created the organization after meeting a wonderful little girl named Victoria Enmon. She passed away in January 2008 from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. You can watch the touching and emotional story of how the organization got started in the video below. (You might want to have a tissue handy.)

What is involved with Extra Life?

To sum it up, gamers play a 24 hour gaming marathon to raise money for the children’s hospital of their choosing. What’s amazing is that 100% of the funds raised goes directly to each fundraiser’s chosen hospital. Every single cent. This is something that not a lot of organizations can claim. Donations given are also tax deductible.

Extra Life unites thousands of players around the world in a 24 hour gaming marathon to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $14 million for local CMN hospitals.

There is a day chosen every year, usually in November, as the “official” gaming marathon day. This year’s game day is November 5. However, anyone playing for Extra Life can choose their own game day that works best for their schedule.

My Extra Life shirts and gold medals for raising at least $1000 each year

My Extra Life shirts (for raising at least $250) and gold medals (for raising at least $1000) each year

Who can participate?

That’s one of the best things about Extra Life; anyone can participate! Gamers consist of so many people from all walks of life now, and anyone can be a part of this amazing event. There are even big hitters involved with Extra Life such as Rooster Teeth, Reddit, Humble Bundle, Twitch, and Ubisoft, to name a few.

There are no stipulations on what games you need to play, so regardless of whether you’re a console gamer, PC gamer, or even have an obsession with Candy Crush, you can participate. You can game in the comfort of your own home, with a group, or at any location you feel comfortable. You don’t have to play video games, either. There are tons of table top gaming groups that participate in order to raise funds.

A few weeks ago, my local CMN hospital did a weekend telethon. I was asked to help present a check on TV from Extra Life since I am the top personal Extra Life fundraiser for my chosen hospital. It was such a cool experience. (I even have the check hanging on my wall right now because I love it.) What I did realize, however, is that even though the amount raised for my CMN hospital was over $7000, we can do better. I live in North Carolina, and there are only three CMN hospitals in the entire state. There are so many children here that have to be seen due to illnesses and other various conditions, and when it comes to medical issues there is never enough funding.

CMN minute

via CMN

How do I get involved?

If you are interested in joining the cause, you can sign up on the Extra Life website. You can fly solo, or join a group. Once you register, you will have your own fundraising page in order to help you spread the word.

I am excited for this year’s Extra Life event because it will be the 5th year that I’ve participated. I do all of my own fundraising by promoting it on social media and by word of mouth. It has been such a huge part of my life for the past few years, and every year I get more and more passionate about it. I get to raise money for a great organization by doing something that I love to do: play video games.

my personal fundraising totals each year

my personal fundraising totals each year

I have met so many amazing individuals through this organization. Everyone involved loves the event every year, and we all support each other’s efforts, despite which hospital gets the funding. It’s all for a common cause. The Extra Life community is fantastic and filled with so many people willing to help, answer questions, brainstorm fundraising ideas, and to help spread the word.

You can check out my personal fundraising page here. I decided to write this article to shine some light on something that I am completely passionate about and to show everyone that gamers can do good things, despite how the media tries to label us.

I choose to be a hero for kids.