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Extra Life Charity

rift-extra-life-charity-eventOne of our favorite geeks is participating in Extra Life Charity this weekend.  Started in 2008, it’s an annual fall event halfway between a Light the Night style marathon and a phone-in TV special.  It’s taking all the best things of internet culture and crowdsourcing and turning it to a good cause.  Gamers of any shape, size, or inclination (from online RTS games to MMORPGs to console players and tabletop gamers) join up on the Extra Life page with a fundraising goal and then ask (beg) friends, family, or your online or other communities to make donations.  The “official play day” is 25 hours on or around Saturday, November 2, but the gamer can move the date or play all or none of the actual day–the fundraising happens either way, through the magic of the internet.  We’re earning the 1up, but sending it over to kids who can use it.

The best part is that each gamer is able to choose a hospital or Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) charity that benefits their local area (even worldwide) or one that’s close to their hearts.  Even though I live in Charlotte now, I choose Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as my hospital, as they saved my own life more than once when I was a kid.

 
This is different from Child’s Play, which is the other big name in gaming industry charity.  They hold auctions and golf tournaments and other donation avenues for “real industry” kind of folks, which goes toward putting games and entertainment in the hospitals for kids to play with.  Extra Life goes directly to the masses to raise funds for sick kids’ actual medical treatment, as the money goes to help support CMN hospitals, which provide treatment for sick kids regardless of the family’s ability to pay.
 
Individuals can sign up on their lonesome, or they can join a team for pooled fundraising (just like many other marathon-based charity fundraising).  I play a number of games with my gaming clan, F7Lans, but there are other big-name, well-known groups (reddit has the largest dollar figure so far this year).  Fundraisers are being given a free month of XSplit broadcasting service to facilitate an online stream (such as Twitch) for the event.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to set up a stream in time for the event, but either way, I’ll be at a keyboard asking good folks to donate to a good cause.

If you want to support our team goal this year ($500) you can read more of my story and donate on my page at http://www.extra-life.org/participant/Esca

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