Extra Life: Play Games, Heal Kids

If you’re like me, you may be look­ing for a way to give back to peo­ple, espe­cial­ly kids, in your com­mu­ni­ty. But, if you’re also like me, run­ning 5ks or marathons is not exact­ly your ideal way of par­tic­i­pat­ing in non-profit work.  Well, geeks every­where are dis­cov­er­ing there is no bet­ter way to help sick or injured chil­dren in their cities than by doing what they love: gam­ing.
Extra Life is a grass roots expe­ri­ence that mobi­lizes pas­sion­ate game lovers to help sick and injured kids treat­ed at their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.  Since it began in Texas in 2008, Extra Lifers have raised over $8 mil­lion for Children Miracle Network Hospitals all over the coun­try.  That money sup­plies care to chil­dren bat­tling debil­i­tat­ing dis­eases, dri­ves research efforts, and pro­vides fund­ing for med­ical pro­ce­dures and more.
Extra Life is sim­i­lar to a 5k or char­i­ty walk, where you reg­is­ter your­self and/or a team, have peo­ple spon­sor you and/or donate money, and then attend the event.  However, instead of walk­ing or run­ning, Extra Life involves 24-hours of gam­ing, whether it be video games, table-top games, board games, mobile games, LARPing, or oth­er­wise.  Also, unlike tra­di­tion­al fundrais­ing events, Extra Lifers typ­i­cal­ly par­tic­i­pate from the com­fort of their own home.  This year’s offi­cial marathon date is October 25, but if that date does­n’t work, par­tic­i­pants are more than wel­come to do it any­time in October, even if it is just an hour a day for 24 days.
Not only is Extra Life a mas­sive char­i­ty event, it’s a COMMUNITY.  Extra Lifers all over the coun­try inter­act via Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, and a vari­ety of blogs, but it’s not just an online com­mu­ni­ty.  Over the past few months, 28 Extra Life Guilds have been formed across the United States and Canada, and Extra Lifers are meet­ing face-to-face to host gam­ing events, pro­mote Extra Life, and expand recruit­ment efforts.  Gamers of all kinds are com­ing togeth­er to help their local hos­pi­tals, and the power of the gam­ing com­mu­ni­ty is not going unno­ticed.
How can you get involved? First, REGISTER HERE.  There you can reg­is­ter and select the hos­pi­tal for which you want to raise money.  All the money you raise goes direct­ly the hos­pi­tal you choose.  After that, you can start a team or join a team (Ontological Geek has a team HERE you can join).  Or, you can choose to play solo.  Then, you can reach out to all your friends, fam­i­ly, cowork­ers, and more for dona­tions and raise money for the hos­pi­tal you have cho­sen.  Once you’ve done all that, you GAME for 24-hours on October 25th, start­ing at 8am your local time (or any other date you’ve pre­vi­ous­ly decid­ed)!  Extra Lifers are encour­aged to game with friends online or host LAN or table-top par­ties.  Also, many Extra Lifers stream their gam­ing via Twitch or other ser­vices to the com­mu­ni­ty, but it is not required! If you aren’t inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing or can­not par­tic­i­pate, but want to help, you can donate to our Ontological Geek team HERE!