Play games to help heal local kids with extra life

Play Games To Help Heal Local Kids With Extra Life

An annual gaming marathon raises millions for children’s hospitals

This Saturday, November 4, is game day. Which game? Well, any game you fancy. Because Saturday is game day for Extra Life 2017, the annual marathon of play that has raised more than $30 million since 2008 to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including $9.6 million in 2016 alone.

“I never dreamed that it could grow to be such a force for good”

To participate, just sign up, recruit some pledges from friends, grab your favorite game—whether it’s Overwatch, Dungeons & Dragons, Scrabble, or Mahjong (or anything else, for that matter)—and sit down and play. Though originally conceived as a 24-hour gaming marathon, Extra Life has since expanded its parameters to include any gamers at any time. “Play any game(s) you want on any platform(s) that you want with anyone you want for as long as you want,” as the site says.

Proceeds benefit a Children’s Miracle Network hospital of each gamer’s choice—the site suggests a local hospital during registration. Around 50,000 gamers a year participate, and partner organizations offer prizes to participants who raise a certain amount of funds.

The event began in 2008 as a way to honor the memory of Victoria Enmon, who’d passed away from Leukemia at age 15. That year, founder Jeromy Adams had hoped to raise $10,000 for Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. But 1,200 gamers raised more than $120,000 that year, and the annual event was born. “I never dreamed that it could grow to be such a force for good, raising so much awareness and life-saving support for local children’s hospitals,” Adams has said.

In this case, the barriers are so low as to leave no excuses. If video games aren’t your thing, grab a board game. If board games don’t do it for you, get out on the softball field. If you have the brains for it, play some chess. If you’re really smart, play Go. But play, even if just some Tic Tac Toe. Play like lives depend on it.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Cory Sitko

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